Top 10 British Oscar Winners

Credits: Ashley Bowman Sean Harris
Written by Kimberley Payne And the winner is… Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Oscar Winners. For this list, we’re ranking British performers who have won at least one Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor or Supporting Actress Academy Award. It’s a sensational shortlist, so let’s reveal the winners... Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Oscar Winners


And the winner is… Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Oscar Winners.

For this list, we’re ranking British performers who have won at least one Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor or Supporting Actress Academy Award. It’s a sensational shortlist, so let’s reveal the winners...

#10: Colin Firth


Surprisingly, even with so many brilliant performances under his belt, Colin Firth is not an ever-present at the Academy Awards. He was nominated for his lead role in “A Single Man” in 2010, but lost out to Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”. Firth snagged the statuette the following year, however, after he starred as George VI in “The King’s Speech”. Firth received widespread critical acclaim, playing the royal as he tries to overcome a speech impediment. As well as the Oscar, he also bagged a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

#9: Kate Winslet


Kate Winslet’s role as Rose in “Titanic” is arguably her best known work, but she actually has a string of Academy Award nominations to her name. She had already been up for the gong on five occasions before she finally won in 2009, for her role as Hanna Schmitz in “The Reader” - and she was nominated in 2015 for her part in the biopic, “Steve Jobs”. But “The Reader” was a crowning moment for Winslet’s career, and fans have tipped her to score more Oscar success in the future. She’d definitely deserve it.

#8: Emma Thompson


Winning Best Actress for her captivating performance in 1992’s “Howards End”, Emma Thompson is also the only entry on today’s list to have won an individual Oscar for something other than acting - winning in 1996 for her adapted screenplay for “Sense and Sensibility”. Thompson’s success with “Howards End” proved the catalyst for her career though, as she led a stellar cast as Margaret Schlegel in the celebrated EM Forster adaptation. Today, she’s rightly ranked amongst Hollywood’s finest thespians.

#7: Alec Guinness


Alec Guinness was a regular with the Oscars throughout his lifetime. He was nominated five times, twice for Best Actor, twice for Best Supporting Actor and once for Best Adapted Screenplay. And though he only won once - for his lead role in “The Bridge on the River Kwai” - he was also recognised by the Academy when he received an Honorary Award, in 1980. From Obi-Wan to Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson, Guinness is remembered as one of the very best.

#6: Julie Andrews


It’s hard to believe that our next entrant only has one Oscar to her name - but one she has, for her iconic performance as Mary Poppins. Julie Andrews received two more Best Actress nominations after the Disney adaptation - for “The Sound of Music” and “Victor/Victoria” - but her part as the all-singing, all-dancing nanny is what really won the Academy over. And while fans will always feel that she should’ve scored multiple wins, she did receive countless awards elsewhere, including five Golden Globes, Three Grammys, Two Emmys and a BAFTA. Not bad.

#5: Elizabeth Taylor


Having picked up five Best Actress nominations and two wins across her career, Liz Taylor stands as one of the UK’s most successful ever actresses with the Academy. While she’s also known for films including “Cleopatra”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, and “Father of the Bride”, she took her the statuette for her roles in “Butterfield 8” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. Remembered as the epitome of classic Hollywood and the Golden Age of cinema, Taylor’s one-off performances have created a lasting and unparalleled movie legacy.

#4: Vivien Leigh


Our second classic Hollywood actress has a 100% record with the Academy, winning both of the Oscars she was nominated for. Vivien Leigh was already a star in the UK when she shot to fame in America for “Gone With the Wind”, for which she won her first Oscar. And twelve years later, she won for a second time, with her famous role in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Of course, her husband Laurence Olivier also had success at the Oscars, winning twice - For Best Actor and Producer on “Hamlet” - and taking home two Honorary Awards during his illustrious career.

#3: Michael Caine


A true acting legend, almost everyone has seen at least one Michael Caine movie, and most of us can quote some of his most memorable roles - with or without the cockney accent. So it’s no wonder that Caine has received multiple Academy Award nominations. However, despite being shortlisted for Best Actor four times, his wins have come elsewhere, for supporting parts in “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “The Cider House Rules”. Both movies offer definitive proof that Caine’s more than just an East End tough guy.

#2: Maggie Smith


These days, Maggie Smith is arguably best known as Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series, or for her role in “Downton Abbey”, but she’s been in the business since 1956. And her career is second to no-one. Smith is a six-time Oscar nominee, recognised four time in the Best Supporting Actress category and twice in the Best Actress group - winning once in each. She was crowned Best Actress for her part in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” in 1969, before winning Best Supporting Actress nine years later for “California Suite”, a movie she worked with Michael Caine on.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

Eddie Redmayne

Glenda Jackson

Anthony Hopkins

#1: Daniel Day-Lewis


While Day-Lewis isn’t quite as prolific as some other actors, whenever he takes on a job he shows unprecedented dedication to the film and project. A famed method actor, he’s a multiple nominee in the Best Actor category, and has broke records when he won for a third time. Claiming the award for “My Left Foot”, “There Will Be Blood” and “Lincoln”, he became the first male performer to win three Best Actor awards, and one of only three to win three Oscars overall. In terms of British actors at the Academy, there’s no one else quite like him.
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