My Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar Winners (1920-1939)

by jaredwignall | created - 05 Aug 2016 | updated - 8 months ago | Public

Who I think should've won the Academy Award for Best Actor from 1920-1939

1. Werner Krauss

Actor | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Werner Krauss was born on June 23, 1884 in Gestungshausen, Sonnefeld, Bavaria, Germany. He was an actor, known for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Paracelsus (1943) and Robert Koch: The Battle Against Death (1939). He was married to Liselotte Graf, Maria Bard and Paula Saenger. He died on ...

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

2. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

The Kid (1921)

3. Max Schreck

Actor | Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens

Max Schreck was born in Berlin. He worked in an apprenticeship until his father's death before enrolling into a school for acting. He toured the country with his peers and was a member of several theaters until he became a part of Max Reinhardt's group of innovative German actors. He played mostly ...

Nosferatu (1922)

4. Lon Chaney

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). He made his debut at the movies in 1912, and his filmography is vast. Lon Chaney was especially famous for his horror parts in movies like e.g. Quasimodo in ...

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

5. Lon Chaney

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). He made his debut at the movies in 1912, and his filmography is vast. Lon Chaney was especially famous for his horror parts in movies like e.g. Quasimodo in ...

He Who Gets Slapped (1924)

6. Lon Chaney

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). He made his debut at the movies in 1912, and his filmography is vast. Lon Chaney was especially famous for his horror parts in movies like e.g. Quasimodo in ...

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

7. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

The General (1926)

8. Richard Barthelmess

Actor | Only Angels Have Wings

Richard Barthelmess was born into a theatrical family in which his mother was an actress. While attending Trinity College in Connecticut, he began appearing in stage productions. While on vacation in 1916, a friend of his mother, actress Alla Nazimova, offered him a part in War Brides (1916), and ...

The Patent Leather Kid (1927) (Tie)

9. Gustav Fröhlich

Actor | Metropolis

Gustav Fröhlich was born on March 21, 1902 in Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany. He was an actor and director, known for Metropolis (1927), His Daughter Is Peter (1955) and Leb' wohl, Christina (1945). He was married to Maria Hajek and Gitta Alpar. He died on December 22, 1987 in Lugano, Ticino, ...

Metropolis (1927) (Tie)

10. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

The Circus (1928) (Tie)

11. Conrad Veidt

Actor | Casablanca

Conrad Veidt attended the Sophiengymnasium (secondary school) in the Schoeneberg district of Berlin, and graduated without a diploma in 1912, last in his class of 13. Conrad liked animals, theater, cinema, fast cars, pastries, thunderstorms, gardening, swimming and golfing. He disliked heights, ...

The Man Who Laughs (1928) (Tie)

12. Chester Morris

Actor | Tomorrow at Seven

The Academy Award-nominated film actor Chester Morris, who will forever be associated with the character Boston Blackie, was born John Chester Brooks Morris on February 16 1901 in New York City, the son of actor William Morris and comedienne Etta Hawkins.

Chester Morris made his Broadway debut as a ...

Alibi (1929)

13. Wallace Beery

Actor | Dinner at Eight

In 1902, 16-year-old Wallace Beery joined the Ringling Brothers Circus as an assistant to the elephant trainer. He left two years later after a leopard clawed his arm. Beery next went to New York, where he found work in musical variety shows. He became a leading man in musicals and appeared on ...

The Big House (1930) (Tie)

14. Colin Clive

Actor | Frankenstein

Who could forget Colin Clive's "It's Alive! It's Alive!" as he melted to the floor mumbling the same over and over in ecstasy after his success at animating the Monster in the first sound version of Frankenstein (1931). Film history - horror film history - but part of a short history for actor ...

Journey's End (1930) (Tie)

15. Fredric March

Actor | Inherit the Wind

Fredric March began a career in banking but in 1920 found himself cast as an extra in films being produced in New York. He starred on the Broadway stage first in 1926 and would return there between screen appearances later on. He won plaudits (and an Academy Award nomination) for his send-up of ...

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

16. Paul Muni

Actor | Scarface: The Shame of the Nation

Paul Muni was born Sept. 22, 1895, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, who were both professionals. His family was Jewish, and spoke Yiddish. Paul was educated in New York and Cleveland public schools. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches, with black hair and ...

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

17. Lionel Barrymore

Actor | Key Largo

Famed actor, composer, artist, author and director. His talents extended to the authoring of the novel "Mr. Cartonwine: A Moral Tale" as well as his autobiography. In 1944, he joined ASCAP, and composed "Russian Dances", "Partita", "Ballet Viennois", "The Woodman and the Elves", "Behind the Horizon...

One Man's Journey (1933)

18. Clark Gable

Actor | It Happened One Night

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, to Adeline (Hershelman) and William Henry Gable, an oil-well driller. He was of German, Irish, and Swiss-German descent. When he was seven months old, his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle ...

It Happened One Night (1934) (Tie)

19. William Powell

Actor | The Thin Man

William Powell was on the New York stage by 1912, but it would be ten years before his film career would begin. In 1924 he went to Paramount Pictures, where he was employed for the next seven years. During that time, he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did ...

The Thin Man (1934) (Tie)

20. Clark Gable

Actor | It Happened One Night

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, to Adeline (Hershelman) and William Henry Gable, an oil-well driller. He was of German, Irish, and Swiss-German descent. When he was seven months old, his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle ...

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

21. Gary Cooper

Actor | High Noon

Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper. Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa (then called Iowa College). His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a ...

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) (Tie)

22. William Powell

Actor | The Thin Man

William Powell was on the New York stage by 1912, but it would be ten years before his film career would begin. In 1924 he went to Paramount Pictures, where he was employed for the next seven years. During that time, he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did ...

My Man Godfrey (1936) (Tie)

23. Fredric March

Actor | Inherit the Wind

Fredric March began a career in banking but in 1920 found himself cast as an extra in films being produced in New York. He starred on the Broadway stage first in 1926 and would return there between screen appearances later on. He won plaudits (and an Academy Award nomination) for his send-up of ...

A Star is Born (1937) (Tie)

24. Spencer Tracy

Actor | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Spencer Tracy was born four years after his brother Carroll to truck salesman John Edward and Caroline Brown Tracy. He attended Marquette Academy along with Pat O'Brien and the two left school to enlist in the Navy at the start of World War I. He was still at Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia at the ...

Captain Courageous (1937) (Tie)

25. Robert Donat

Actor | The 39 Steps

Robert Donat's pleasant voice and somewhat neutral English accent were carefully honed as a boy because he had a stammer and took elocution lessons starting at age 11 to overcome the impediment. It was not too surprising that freedom from such a vocal embarrassment was encouragement to act. His ...

The Citadel (1938) (Tie)

26. Spencer Tracy

Actor | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Spencer Tracy was born four years after his brother Carroll to truck salesman John Edward and Caroline Brown Tracy. He attended Marquette Academy along with Pat O'Brien and the two left school to enlist in the Navy at the start of World War I. He was still at Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia at the ...

Boys Town (1938) (Tie)

27. James Stewart

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)



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