Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a supporting role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Supporting Actress winner.
At the 9th Academy Awards ceremony held in 1937, Walter Brennan was the first winner of this award for his role in Come and Get It. Initially, winners in both supporting acting categories were awarded plaques instead of statuettes. Beginning with the 16th ceremony held in 1944, however, winners received full-sized statuettes. Currently, nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the actors branch of AMPAS; winners are selected by a plurality vote from the entire eligible voting members of the Academy.
Since its inception, the award has been given to 75 actors. Brennan has received the most awards in this category with three awards. Brennan, Jeff Bridges, Robert Duvall, Arthur Kennedy, Jack Nicholson, Claude Rains, and Al Pacino were nominated on four occasions, more than any other actor. As of the 2020 ceremony, Brad Pitt is the most recent winner in this category for his performance as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Winners and nomineesIn the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, and generally correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County; the ceremonies are always held the following year.
|Indicates the winner|
|†||Indicates posthumous winner|
was the first winner in this category for Come and Get It. He would also win for his roles in Kentucky and The Westerner.|alt=Black-and-white publicity photo of Walter Brennan as Amos McCoy from the television series The Real McCoys in 1958.
won for his performance in Johnny Eager.|alt=Black-and-white studio publicity photo of Van Heflin before 1964.
won for his performance in The More the Merrier.|alt=Black-and-white photo of Charles Coburn from the trailer Road to Singapore in 1940
won for his performance in All About Eve.|alt=Photo of George Sanders in 1972.
won for his performance in A Streetcar Named Desire.|alt=Black-and-white publicity photo of Karl Malden circa 1950s.
won for his performance in From Here to Eternity.|alt=Black-and-white portrait of Frank Sinatra circa 1947.
won for his performance in Mister Roberts.|alt=Black-and-white publicity photo of Jack Lemmon in 1968.
won twice for his roles in Spartacus and Topkapi.|alt=Photo of Peter Ustinov in 1973.
won twice for his roles in Hud and Being There.|alt=Black-and-white studio publicity portrait of Melvyn Douglas circa 1939.
became one of eight individuals to win both an Academy Award and Tony Award for the same role.|alt=Photo of Joel Grey at the 73rd Peabody Awards in 2014.
won for his performance as Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II.|alt=Black-and-white photo of Robert De Niro at the Deauville American Film Festival in 1988.
won for his performance in The Sunshine Boys.|alt=Photo of George Burns in 1987.
won two consecutive awards for his roles in All the President's Men and Julia.|alt=Black-and-white publicity photo of Jason Robards in 1975.
won for his performance in The Deer Hunter.|alt=Photo of Christopher Walken in 2008.
became the youngest winner in this category for his performance as Conrad Jarrett in Ordinary People.|alt=Photo of Timothy Hutton at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
won for his performance in An Officer and a Gentleman, becoming the first black actor to win in this category.|alt=Photo of Louis Gossett Jr. at the MovieGuide Faith and Values Awards Gala in 2008.
won for his performance in Terms of Endearment.|alt=Black-and-white press photo of Jack Nicholson in 1976.
won twice for his roles in Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules.|alt=Photo of Michael Caine at the Vienna International Film Festival in 2012.
won for his performance in The Untouchables.|alt=Photo of Sean Connery at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2008.
won for his performance in A Fish Called Wanda.|alt=Photo of Kevin Kline at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
won for his performance in Glory.|alt=Photo of Denzel Washington at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2000.
won for his portrayal of Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas.|alt=Photo of Joe Pesci in 2009.
won for his performance in The Fugitive.|alt=Photo of Tommy Lee Jones at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2017.
won for his performance in Good Will Hunting.|alt=Photo of Robin Williams at the Happy Feet premiere in 2011.
won for his performance in Traffic.|alt=Photo of Benicio del Toro at the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere in 2014.
won for his portrayal of John Bayley in Iris.|alt=Photo of Jim Broadbent in 2012.
won for his portrayal of John Laroche in Adaptation..|alt=Photo of Chris Cooper at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
won for his performance in Mystic River.|alt=Photo of Tim Robbins at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
won for his performance in Million Dollar Baby.|alt=Photo of Morgan Freeman at the Forbes MEET Conference in 2006.
won for his performance Syriana.|alt=Photo of George Clooney at the White House in 2016.
won for his performance in Little Miss Sunshine.|alt=Photo of Alan Arkin at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
won for his performance as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.|alt=Photo of Javier Bardem at the unveiling ceremony of for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.
won posthumously for his performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight, the first win for portraying a comic book character.|alt=Photo of Heath Ledger at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2006.
won twice for his roles in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained.|alt=Photo of Christoph Waltz at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010.
won for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund in The Fighter.|alt=Photo of Christian Bale at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019.
became the oldest acting Oscar winner for his performance in Beginners.|alt=Photo of Christopher Plummer at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
won for his performance as a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club.|alt=Photo of Jared Leto at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2016.
won for his performance in Whiplash.|alt=Photo of J. K. Simmons at the 15th Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2009.
won for his portrayal of Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies.|alt=Photo of Mark Rylance at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
won twice for his roles in Moonlight and Green Book.|alt=Photo of Mahershala Ali at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
won for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.|alt=Photo of Sam Rockwell at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
Multiple wins and nominationsThe following individuals received two or more Best Supporting Actor awards:
The following individuals received three or more Best Supporting Actor nominations:
|3||Philip Seymour Hoffman|
|3||Tommy Lee Jones|
Multiple character nominations;2 nominations
- Max Corkle
- * James Gleason in Here Comes Mr. Jordan
- * Jack Warden in Heaven Can Wait
Multiple nominations from the same film
- Harry Carey and Claude Rains in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
- Leo Genn and Peter Ustinov in Quo Vadis
- Brandon deWilde and Jack Palance in Shane
- Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger in On the Waterfront
- Arthur Kennedy and Russ Tamblyn in Peyton Place
- Arthur O'Connell and George C. Scott in Anatomy of a Murder
- Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott in The Hustler
- Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard in Bonnie and Clyde
- Jeff Bridges and Ben Johnson in The Last Picture Show
- James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Al Pacino in The Godfather
- Robert De Niro, Michael V. Gazzo, and Lee Strasberg in The Godfather Part II
- Burgess Meredith and Burt Young in Rocky
- Jason Robards and Maximilian Schell in Julia
- Judd Hirsch and Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People
- John Lithgow and Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment
- Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe in Platoon
- Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley in Bugsy
- Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
- Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in The Irishman