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Empire Award for Best Actor
Awarded for Best performance by an actor in a leading role
Country United Kingdom
Presented by Empire magazine
First awarded 1996
Currently held by Hugh Jackman - Logan (2018)

The Empire Award for Best Actor is an Empire Award presented annually by the British film magazine Empire to honor an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry. The Empire Award for Best Actor is one of five ongoing awards which were first introduced at the 1st Empire Awards ceremony in 1996 (the others being Best Actress, Best Director, Best Film and Best British Film) with Nigel Hawthorne receiving the award for his role in The Madness of King George. Winners are voted by the readers of Empire magazine.

Since its inception, the award has been given to 18 actors. Johnny Depp and James McAvoy have received the most awards in this category with two awards each. Johnny Depp was nominated on five occasions, more than any other actor. Hugh Jackman is the most recent winner in this category for his role in Logan.

Winners and nominees[edit]

In the list below, winners are listed first in the colored row in boldface, followed by the other nominees. The number of the ceremony (1st, 2nd, etc.) appears in parentheses after the awards year, linked to the article (if any) on that ceremony.

Table key
Key Description
     Indicates the winner
Indicates an Academy Award-winning performance for Best Actor
†† Indicates an Academy Award-winning performance for Best Supporting Actor
Indicates an Academy Award nominated performance for Best Actor
‡‡ Indicates an Academy Award nominated performance for Best Supporting Actor

1990s[edit]

Year Actor Character Film Ref.
1996
(1st)
Nigel Hawthorne King George III The Madness of King George [1]
1997
(2nd)
Morgan Freeman Det. Lt. William Somerset Seven [2]
1998
(3rd)
Kevin Spacey Det. Sgt. Jack Vincennes L.A. Confidential [3]
1999
(4th)
Tom Hanks Captain John H. Miller Saving Private Ryan [4][5]
Jeff Bridges Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski The Big Lebowski
Jim Carrey Truman Burbank The Truman Show
Matt Damon Will Hunting Good Will Hunting
Samuel L. Jackson Ordell Robbie Jackie Brown

2000s[edit]

Year Actor Character Film Ref.
2000
(5th)
Pierce Brosnan James Bond The World Is Not Enough [6][7]
Brad Pitt Tyler Durden Fight Club
Bruce Willis Malcolm Crowe The Sixth Sense
Keanu Reeves Thomas Anderson / Neo The Matrix
Tom Cruise Dr. William "Bill" Harford Eyes Wide Shut
2001
(6th)
Russell Crowe Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator [8][9]
George Clooney Ulysses Everett McGill O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Jim Carrey The Grinch Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
John Cusack Rob Gordon High Fidelity
Kevin Spacey Lester Burnham American Beauty
2002
(7th)
Elijah Wood Frodo Baggins The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [10][11]

[12]

Benicio del Toro †† Javier Rodriguez Traffic
Billy Bob Thornton Ed Crane The Man Who Wasn't There
Haley Joel Osment David A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Viggo Mortensen Aragorn The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2003
(8th)
Tom Cruise Chief John Anderton Minority Report [13]
Colin Farrell Danny Witwer Minority Report
Mike Myers Austin Powers
Dr. Evil
Austin Powers in Goldmember
Tom Hanks Michael Sullivan, Sr. Road to Perdition
Viggo Mortensen Aragorn The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2004
(9th)
Johnny Depp Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [14]
Daniel Day-Lewis William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting Gangs of New York
Hugh Jackman Logan / Wolverine X2
Sean Astin Samwise "Sam" Gamgee The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Viggo Mortensen Aragorn The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2005
(10th)
Matt Damon David Webb / Jason Bourne The Bourne Supremacy [15]
Jim Carrey Joel Barish Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Johnny Depp J. M. Barrie Finding Neverland
Tobey Maguire Peter Parker / Spider-Man Spider-Man 2
Tom Cruise Vincent Collateral
2006
(11th)
Johnny Depp Willy Wonka Charlie And The Chocolate Factory [16][17]

[18]

Andy Serkis Kong King Kong
Christian Bale Bruce Wayne / Batman Batman Begins
Matt Dillon ‡‡ Sgt. John Ryan Crash
Viggo Mortensen Tom Stall / Joey Cusack A History of Violence
2007
(12th)
Daniel Craig James Bond Casino Royale [19]
Christian Bale Alfred Borden (The Professor) / Fallon The Prestige
Johnny Depp Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Leonardo DiCaprio William "Billy" Costigan, Jr. The Departed
Sacha Baron Cohen Borat Sagdiyev Borat
2008
(13th)
James McAvoy Robbie Turner Atonement [20]
Daniel Radcliffe Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Gerard Butler Leonidas 300
Matt Damon David Webb / Jason Bourne The Bourne Ultimatum
Simon Pegg Sgt. Nicholas "Nick" Angel Hot Fuzz
2009
(14th)
Christian Bale Bruce Wayne / Batman The Dark Knight [21]
Daniel Craig James Bond Quantum of Solace
Daniel Day-Lewis Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp Benjamin Barker / Sweeney Todd Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Robert Downey, Jr. Tony Stark / Iron Man Iron Man

2010s[edit]

Year Actor Character Film Ref.
2010
(15th)
Christoph Waltz †† SS Colonel Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds [22][23]
Michael Caine Harold "Harry" Brown Harry Brown
Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes
Robert Pattinson Edward Cullen The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Sam Worthington Jake Sully Avatar
2011
(16th)
Colin Firth King George VI The King's Speech [24][25]
Aaron Taylor-Johnson Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass Kick-Ass
James Franco Aron Ralston 127 Hours
Jesse Eisenberg Mark Zuckerberg The Social Network
Leonardo DiCaprio Dom Cobb Inception
2012
(17th)
Gary Oldman George Smiley Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [26]
Andy Serkis Caesar Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Daniel Craig Mikael Blomkvist The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Daniel Radcliffe Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Ryan Gosling Driver Drive
2013
(18th)
Martin Freeman Bilbo Baggins The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [27]
Christoph Waltz †† Dr. King Schultz Django Unchained
Daniel Craig James Bond Skyfall
Daniel Day-Lewis President Abraham Lincoln Lincoln
Robert Downey, Jr. Tony Stark / Iron Man The Avengers
2014
(19th)
James McAvoy DS / PC Bruce Robertson Filth [28]
Chiwetel Ejiofor Solomon Northup 12 Years a Slave
Leonardo DiCaprio Jordan Belfort The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Freeman Bilbo Baggins The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Tom Hanks Richard "Rich" Phillips Captain Phillips
2015
(20th)
Andy Serkis Caesar Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [29][30]
Benedict Cumberbatch Alan Turing The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper Chris Kyle American Sniper
Eddie Redmayne Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything
Richard Armitage Thorin Oakenshield The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
2016
(21st)
Matt Damon Mark Watney The Martian [31]
Leonardo DiCaprio Hugh Glass The Revenant
Michael Fassbender[a] Macbeth
Steve Jobs
Macbeth
Steve Jobs
Tom Hardy Ronald "Ronnie" Kray and Reginald "Reggie" Kray
Max Rockatansky
Legend & Mad Max: Fury Road
Michael B. Jordan Adonis Creed Creed
2017
(22nd)
Eddie Redmayne Newton “Newt” Scamander Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [32]
Ryan Gosling Sebastian Wilder La La Land
Casey Affleck Lee Chandler Manchester by the Sea
Ryan Reynolds Wade Wilson / Deadpool Deadpool
Benedict Cumberbatch Stephen Strange Doctor Strange
2018
(23rd)
Hugh Jackman James Howlett / Logan / Wolverine Logan [33]
John Boyega Finn Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Armie Hammer Oliver Call Me by Your Name
Gary Oldman Winston Churchill Darkest Hour
Andy Serkis Caesar War for the Planet of the Apes

Multiple awards and nominations[edit]

Multiple awards[edit]

As of the 23rd Empire Awards, the following individuals received two or more Best Actor awards:

Awards Film
2 James McAvoy
Johnny Depp
Matt Damon

Multiple nominations[edit]

As of the 23rd Empire Awards, the following individuals received two or more Best Actor nominations:

Nominations Film
5 Johnny Depp
4 Andy Serkis
Daniel Craig
Leonardo DiCaprio
Matt Damon
Viggo Mortensen
3 Christian Bale
Daniel Day-Lewis
Jim Carrey
Robert Downey, Jr.
Tom Cruise
Tom Hanks
2 Benedict Cumberbatch
Christoph Waltz
Daniel Radcliffe
Eddie Redmayne
Hugh Jackman
James McAvoy
Kevin Spacey
Martin Freeman
Ryan Gosling

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Academy Award nominated performance for Steve Jobs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Past Winners - 1996". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2003. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Past Winners - 1997". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2003. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Past Winners - 1998". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2003. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Past Winners - 1999". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2003. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.co.uk. 1999. Archived from the original on August 19, 2000. 
  6. ^ "Past Winners - 2000". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2003. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Empire 2000 Awards: Nominations Announced. Sixth Sense is an early leader". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. February 2, 2000. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Past Winners - 2001". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2003. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.co.uk. 2001. Archived from the original on March 16, 2002. 
  10. ^ "2002 Awards Winners". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.co.uk. 2001. Archived from the original on June 12, 2002. 
  12. ^ "Empire Magazine reports on the 2002 Empire Awards: Best Actor/Best Actress". Empire. United Kingdom: Bauer Consumer Media (154): 54. April 2002. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2003. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2004. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2005. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  16. ^ "2006 Awards Winners". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ "2006 Awards Winners Announced! The Sony Ericsson Empire Awards in full". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. March 13, 2006. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2006. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2009. Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2010. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  23. ^ Reynolds, Simon (February 25, 2010). "In Full: Empire Awards 2010 nominees". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  24. ^ "2011 Awards Winners". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2013. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2011. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2012. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2013. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2004. 
  28. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2014. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Best Actor". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. 2015. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  30. ^ Barraclough, Leo (March 30, 2015). "'Interstellar' wins Film, Director at Empire Awards". Variety.com. Penske Business Media. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  31. ^ Nugent, John (February 18, 2016). "Jameson Empire Awards 2016: Star Wars and Mad Max lead the nominations". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. Retrieved May 5, 2018. 
  32. ^ Dyer, James (March 15, 2017). "2017 Three Empire Awards Nominations Announced". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. Retrieved May 5, 2018. 
  33. ^ Travis, Ben (March 18, 2018). "Star Wars: The Last Jedi Wins Big at Rakuten TV Empire Awards 2018". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. Retrieved March 18, 2018. 

External links[edit]

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