Academy Award for Best Actress

Award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Academy Award For Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given to an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role in a film released that year. The award is traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actor winner.

Quick facts: Academy Award For Best Actress, Awarded for, ...
Academy Award For Best Actress
The 2023 recipient: Michelle Yeoh
Awarded forBest Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
CountryUnited States
Presented byAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
First awardedJanet Gaynor, (1929)
Most recent winnerMichelle Yeoh, (2023)
Most awardsKatharine Hepburn (4)
Most nominationsMeryl Streep (17)

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with Janet Gaynor receiving the award for her roles in 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.[1] 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.[2] In the first three years of the awards, actresses were nominated as the best in their categories. At that time, all of their work during the qualifying period (as many as three films, in some cases) was listed after the award.[3] However, during the 3rd ceremony held in 1930, only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award, even though each of the acting winners had two films following their names on the ballots.[4] The following year, the current system was introduced in which an actress is nominated for a specific performance in a single film.[3] Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year.[3]

Since its inception, the award has been given to 79 different actresses. Katharine Hepburn has won the most awards in this category with four, followed by Frances McDormand with three. (Hepburn holds the record for most wins among all actors.) With 17 nominations, Meryl Streep is the most nominated in this category, resulting in two wins. Jeanne Eagels is the only actress thus far to be posthumously nominated in the category for The Letter, at the 2nd Academy Awards.[5] In 1962, Italian actress Sophia Loren was the first winner for a non-English language performance in Two Women. Since then, the only other non-English speaking performance to win in this category was Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose in 2008.

At age 21, Marlee Matlin became the youngest actress to win this award for Children of a Lesser God in 1987; and at age 80, Jessica Tandy became the oldest winner in this category for Driving Miss Daisy in 1990. Halle Berry is the first woman of color to win in this category, for Monster's Ball, in 2002. Jodie Foster is the only openly LGBT woman to win in this category, for The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs, although she was not publicly out until after both wins. Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh is the first Asian and the second woman of color to win in this category for her role as Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once.