Best Actor Academy Award: Will Smith Takes Home The Win

Best Actor Academy Award: Will Smith Takes Home The Win
Universal Pictures

This year, like every year, saw another hotly-contested Best Actor race at the Academy Awards. The top acting gong has been given out every year since the Oscars began and it honours the male actor with the best performance in a film released that year.

In 2022, five fresh nominees stepped up to the plate. Plenty of actors before them have made history on the awards night and 2022 has been another historic year.

Academy Award for Best Actor

Who won Best Actor in 2022?

best actor winner academy award
Best Actor Academy Award Winner. Will Smith takes the top gong.

Here’s the full list of nominees for the Best Actor Academy Award in 2022:

  • Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos
  • Will Smith – King Richard
  • Andrew Garfield – tick, tick, BOOM!
  • Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog

Will Smith has won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in King Richard. In an emotional speech, Smith spoke about the significance of this win for him, and how it helps shine a light on people who deserve to be better seen. He also touched on the power of his journey as an actor, telling audiences, “I am being called on in my life to love people and protect people”.

Before wrapping up, he joked about a tense moment with Chris Rock earlier in the evening, apologising to the Academy and saying, “I hope the Academy invites me back.”

Shockingly, only four Black men have won the Best Actor Oscar after all these years. Smith’s win brings that number up to five.

You can listen to Will Smith’s acceptance speech below:

Who won Best Supporting Actor in 2022?

Troy Kotsur – CODA best supporting actor
Troy Kotsur – CODA Best Supporting Academy Awards 2022

The big gong for Best Actor gets a lot of attention but let’s not sleep on Best Supporting Actor Oscar award. The nominees for 2022 are:

  • Ciarán Hinds – Belfast
  • Troy Kotsur – CODA
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog
  • Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog
  • J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos

In a historic win, Troy Kotsur took home the award for Best Supporting Actor in CODA. Kotsur is the first deaf man to win the Best Supporting Oscar award. In a touching moment, Youn Yuh-jung (Minari) paused and began signing as she announced Kotsur’s win.

Historic Best Actor wins over the years

Adrien Brody – Youngest winner

adrien brody
Image: Focus Features

At the 75th Academy Awards in 2002 Adrien Brody became the youngest winner of the Best Actor award. At just 29 years of age, Brody took home the gold for his role as Władysław Szpilman in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist.

Twenty years later, Brody remains the youngest winner of the award.

Anthony Hopkins – Oldest winner of Best Actor award

best actor anthony hopkins
Image: Film4

Anthony Hopkins is no stranger to the Academy Awards, having been nominated six times in total for his work in The Silence of the Lambs, The Remains of the Day, Nixon, Amistad and The Two Popes. But it was his win for The Father that made history.

At 83 years of age, Hopkins’ 2021 Best Actor win for his role in The Father makes him the oldest winner of the award to date.

Sidney Poitier – First Black man to win Best Actor

Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier at the 39th Academy Awards in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, 10th April 1967. He is presenting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
(Photo by Graphic House/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

The world has been mourning iconic actor Sidney Poitier since his tragic passing in January 2022. Poitier’s Best Actor win in 1963 made him the first Black actor and first Bahamian to win the award.

While Poitier’s win at the Academy Awards was just one of his many successes, it marked a much-needed win for diversity at the Oscars.

Daniel Day-Lewis – Most award wins

daniel day lewis
Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Daniel Day-Lewis’ status as the winner of three Academy Awards has helped him earn his place as one of the most revered actors of our time.

Day-Lewis first won for My Left Foot in 1990, followed by another win in 2008 for There Will Be Blood. His most recent win for Lincoln in 2013 pushed him to the top as the actor with the highest number of Best Actor Oscar Awards.

Day-Lewis announced his retirement from acting in 2017 so it’s unlikely, but not impossible, that he’ll win more than his current three.


If you’re interested in reading more about the Academy Awards for 2022, we’ve rounded up all the details you need to know about this year’s ceremony, as well as a write up on the Best Actress performances.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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