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The 2019 recipient: <a href="/content/Olivia_Colman" style="color:blue">Olivia Colman</a>
The 2019 recipient: Olivia Colman

The Academy Award for Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actor winner.

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

The following year, this unwieldy and confusing system was replaced by the current system in which an actress is nominated for a specific performance in a single film.[4] Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year.[4] One actress has been nominated posthumously, Jeanne Eagels.[6] Since its inception, the award has been given to 76 actresses. Katharine Hepburn has won the most awards in this category, with four Oscars. With 17 nominations, Meryl Streep is the most nominated in this category, resulting in two wins. At age 21, Marlee Matlin became the youngest actress to win this award for Children of a Lesser God. As of the 2019 ceremony, Olivia Colman is the most recent winner in this category for her portrayal of Anne, Queen of Great Britain in The Favourite.

Winners and nominees


In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, and generally correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County; the ceremonies are always held the following year.[7] For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned twelve months from August 1 to July 31.[8] For the 6th ceremony held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933.[8] Since the 7th ceremony held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.[8]

Multiple wins and nominations


Age superlatives


See also


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