Cannes 2017: 19 Hollywood Stars Who Have Won Best Actor at the Fest

8:00 AM 5/10/2017

by Annie Howard

The prestigious Cannes Film Festival best actor award highlights talent from all over the world, but many Hollywood stars have been recognized with the top acting prize.

Benicio del Toro in 'Che' & Sean Penn in 'She's So Lovely'
Benicio del Toro in 'Che' & Sean Penn in 'She's So Lovely'
IFC Films/Photofest; Miramax/Photofest

  • Javier Bardem

    'Biutiful' (2010)

    Javier Bardem in 'Biutiful'
    Javier Bardem in 'Biutiful'
    Courtesy of Focus Features

    Javier Bardem stars as a dying man in Alejandro Inarritu's Mexican film, Biutiful. Bardem and the film (best foreign language) were both nominated for Oscars.

  • Marlon Brando

    'Viva Zapata!' (1952)

    Marlon Brando in 'Viva Zapata!'
    Marlon Brando in 'Viva Zapata!'
    Photofest

    Brando stars as Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican revolutionary in Elia Kazan's 1952 film written by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath). Steinbeck and Brando were honored with Oscar nominations for the film.

  • Benicio del Toro

    'Che' (2008)

    Benicio del Toro in 'Che'
    Benicio del Toro in 'Che'
    IFC Films/Photofest

    Benicio del Toro stars in Steven Soderbergh's two-part historical epic following Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Fidel Castro's revolution against Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista.

  • Bruce Dern

    'Nebraska' (2013)

    Bruce Dern in 'Nebraska'
    Bruce Dern in 'Nebraska'
    Paramount Vantage

    Thinking he has won the lottery, an old man (Bruce Dern) makes a journey from Montana to Nebraska with his son (Will Forte) to collect his winnings. Dern earned an Oscar nomination for the Alexander Payne-directed film along with Payne, scoring six nominations in total.

  • Richard Harris

    'This Sporting Life' (1963)

    Richard Harris in 'This Sporting Life'
    Richard Harris in 'This Sporting Life'
    Photofest

    A wonderfully successful rugby player (Richard Harris) finds himself less lucky in his romantic life. Harris earned an Oscar nomination for the role.

  • William Hurt

    'Kiss of the Spider Woman' (1985)

    William Hurt in 'Kiss of the Spider Woman'
    William Hurt in 'Kiss of the Spider Woman'
    Photofest

    A gay man imprisoned for "immorality" (William Hurt) shares a cell with a political prisoner (Raul Julia) whom he soon befriends. Hurt went on to win the Oscar for his work.

  • Jack Lemmon

    'The China Syndrome' (1979) & 'Missing' (1982)

    Jack Lemmon in 'Missing'
    Jack Lemmon in 'Missing'
    Universal Pictures/Photofest

    Supervisor of a nuclear power plant gone awry, Jack Lemmon stars in The China Syndrome along with Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas. Lemmon plays a New York businessman who travels to Chile to find his son who has gone missing while working abroad as a journalist in Missing. Lemmon was nominated for Oscars for both roles.

  • Paul Newman

    'The Long, Hot Summer' (1958)

    Paul Neman in 'The Long, Hot Summer'
    Paul Neman in 'The Long, Hot Summer'
    Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp./Photofest

    When a con man (Paul Newman) finds himself in a small Mississippi town, he quickly infiltrates into the richest family in town (Joanne Woodward). The film is based on the novel by William Faulkner.

  • Jack Nicholson

    'The Last Detail' (1974)

    Jack Nicholson in 'The Last Detail'
    Jack Nicholson in 'The Last Detail'
    Photofest

    A naval sailor (Jack Nicholson) is sent to retrieve a young soldier and bring him to prison in the Hal Ashby-directed Robert Towne-written piece. Nicholson earned an Oscar nomination for his performance.

  • Sean Penn

    'She's So Lovely' (1997)

    Sean Penn in 'She's So Lovely'
    Sean Penn in 'She's So Lovely'
    Miramax Films/Photofest

    Maureen (Robin Wright) finds herself caught between the affections of her ex-husband (Sean Penn) and current husband (John Travolta). The film is written by John Cassavetes and directed by son Nick Cassavetes.

  • Tim Robbins

    'The Player' (1992)

    Tim Robbins in 'The Player'
    Tim Robbins in 'The Player'
    Fine Line features/Photofest

    A Hollywood executive (Tim Robbins) receives a series of death threats from a mysterious writer whose scripts he rejected in Robert Altman's classic.

  • James Spader

    'Sex, Lies, and Videotape' (1989)

    Andie MacDowell & James Spader in 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape'
    Andie MacDowell & James Spader in 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape'
    Miramax Films/Photofest

    A man with a strange fetish (James Spader) arrives to see his old friend John (Peter Gallagher), who has been having an affair on his wife (Andie MacDowell) in Steven Soderbergh's debut feature. Soderbergh earned an Oscar nomination for the screenplay.

  • Timothy Spall

    'Mr. Turner' (2014)

    Timothy Spall in 'Mr. Turner'
    Timothy Spall in 'Mr. Turner'
    Sony Pictures/Photofest

    Mike Leigh's biopic follows the life and experiences of British painter J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall). The film earned four Oscar nominations.

  • Spencer Tracy

    'Bad Day at Black Rock' (1955)

    Spencer Tracy in 'Bad Day at Black Rock'
    Spencer Tracy in 'Bad Day at Black Rock'
    Photofest

    Spencer Tracy is a stranger with something to hide in a town with a dark secret. Tracy earned an Oscar nomination along with director John Sturges.

  • John Turturro

    'Barton Fink' (1991)

    John Turturro & Judy Davis in 'Barton Fink'
    John Turturro & Judy Davis in 'Barton Fink'
    20th Century Fox/Photofest

    John Turturro stars in the title role of the Coen brothers film as a notable playwright who moves to Los Angeles, after his writing career leads him to Hollywood screenplays.

  • Jon Voight

    'Coming Home' (1978)

    Jon Voight in 'Coming Home'
    Jon Voight in 'Coming Home'
    Photofest

    When her husband (Bruce Dern) goes off to fight in Vietnam, a woman (Jane Fonda) volunteers at the local VA hospital, where she reconnects with an old high school friend (Jon Voight), now paralyzed from combat, and the two fall in love. Directed by Hal Ashby, the film won three Oscars, including nods for Fonda and Voight, and scored five nominations, including those for Ashby and Dern.

  • Christoph Waltz

    'Inglourious Basterds' (2009)

    Christoph Waltz in 'Inglourious Basterds'
    Christoph Waltz in 'Inglourious Basterds'
    Photofest

    Waltz plays the sadistic Nazi Colonel Hans Landa, who in turn becomes the focus of a mass assassination from a band of Jewish-American guerrilla soldiers (led by Brad Pitt) in Quentin Tarantino's WWII drama. Waltz won the Oscar (actor in a supporting role) and the film earned an additional seven nominations.

  • Orson Welles

    'Compulsion' (1959)

    Orson Welles in 'Compulsion'
    Orson Welles in 'Compulsion'
    Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Photofest

    Orson Welles plays a defense attorney for two law students and accused murderers (Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman). Welles shared his Cannes best actor win with the two principal actors.

  • Forest Whitaker

    'Bird' (1988)

    Forest Whitaker in 'Bird'
    Forest Whitaker in 'Bird'
    Warner Bros./Photofest

    Clint Eastwood's biopic follows the life and career of jazz musician Charlie 'Bird' Parker (Forest Whitaker).

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