13 Oscar-winning Actors’ Stage Performances

They’re the best of the best. These gentlemen have reached the pinnacle of their profession onstage and on screens big and small.

Colin Firth

Look for: ‘The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd’

Firth's most notable and acclaimed role to date has been his 2010 portrayal of King George VI in “The King's Speech,” a performance that earned him an Oscar and multiple worldwide best actor awards. Watch  D. H. Lawrence's “The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd” to witness a slice of Lawrentian life brought vividly to BroadwayHD by Zoe Wanamaker as Lizzie Holroyd and Colin Firth as her boorish husband Charles. The Holroyds scream their lives away until Lizzie falls in love with another man and wishes her husband dead—a wish that comes horribly true. 

Kevin Kline

Look for: ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Present Laughter,’ ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’

Kline is an American film and stage actor. Winner of an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1988, comedy hit “A Fish Called Wanda” and winner of three Tony Awards. In Noël Coward's “Present Laughter,” for which he won the 2017 Tony, Kline plays  Garry Essendine, a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Juggling his considerable talent, ego and libido, the theater's favorite leading man suddenly finds himself caught between fawning ingenues, crazed playwrights, secret trysts and unexpected twists.

Daniel Day-Lewis speaking at "The Ballad of Jack and Rose" screening at the MoMA

Daniel Day-Lewis 

Look for: ‘Dangerous Corner,’ ‘How Many Miles to Babylon’

Daniel Day-Lewis is an English actor who holds both British and Irish citizenship. Despite his traditional actor training at the Bristol Old Vic, the born-and-raised Londoner is considered to be a method actor, known for his compulsive research of his roles. He often remains completely in character for the duration of the shooting of his films, even to the point of adversely affecting his health. He is one of the most selective actors in the film industry, having starred in only six films since 1998, with as many as five years between roles. One of the most acclaimed actors of his generation, Day-Lewis has earned three Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performances in “My Left Foot” (1989), “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Lincoln” (2012), making him the only male actor in history to have three wins in the lead actor category. Watch Day-Lewis in his television debut, “How Many Miles to Babylon,” a sensitive antiwar story of two young Irishmen (one Catholic, one Protestant) who grew up together, but whose friendship is sorely tested by the appalling conditions and military discipline of trench warfare.

Anthony Hopkins

Look for: ‘Little Eyolf,’ ‘Heartland,’ ‘Othello,’ ‘Three Sisters’

Hopkins is a Welsh film, stage and television actor. After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 1957, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and was then spotted by Laurence Olivier who invited him to join the National Theatre. In 1968, he got his break in film in “The Lion in Winter,” playing Richard the Lionheart. Hopkins is best known for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs,” for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. In Jonathan Miller's adaptation of Shakespeare's classic drama of envy, jealousy and revenge for the BBC, Hopkins stars as “Othello,” with Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) as the treacherous Iago. 

James Earl Jones

Look for: ‘King Lear’

James Earl Jones is an American actor whose career has spanned more than 60 years. He has been described as “one of America's most distinguished and versatile” actors and “one of the greatest actors in American history.” Since his Broadway debut in 1958, Jones has won many awards, including a Tony Award and Golden Globe Award for his role in “The Great White Hope.” On November 12, 2011, he received an Honorary Academy Award given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards. The formidable Jones reprises his critically acclaimed “King Lear” in this television adaptation of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival production.  Of Jones’ performance, The Washington Post wrote, “Jones has the qualities of mind, body, voice and movement which enable him to make us care deeply about the spectacle of an old man brought to grief by his folly.  The magnitude Jones projects is not a matter of physical size, but largeness of soul.”

Ben Kingsley speaking at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con International, for "The Boxtrolls"

Ben Kingsley

Look for: ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor,’ ‘Nicholas Nickleby’

Ben Kingsley, born Krishna Pandit Bhanji,  is an English actor with a career spanning over 40 years. He has won a Grammy, two Golden Globes and for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.  Kingsley stars with Judy Davis and Richard Griffiths in Shakespeare's comedy of romantic misdemeanors “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Kingsley plays the role of Squeers in “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, which features a cast of over 40 actors in at least three times as many roles over the course of a nine-hour performance. 

Dustin Hoffman

Look for: ‘Journey of the Fifth Horse’

Hoffman is an American actor and a director, with a career in film, television and theater since 1960. Hoffman has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters like his breakthrough 1967 film role as Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate.” He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1980 for “Kramer vs. Kramer,” and in 1989 for “Rain Man.” Hoffman's reputation as a risk-taker is apparent in “Journey of the Fifth Horse,” his first starring role on television in which he recreates his Obie Award-winning portrayal of Zoditch, a lonely, minor functionary in a publishing house.

Paul Scofield

Look for: ‘A Delicate Balance’

Scofield was an English actor of stage and screen known for his striking presence, distinctive voice, and the clarity and effortless intensity of his delivery. Regarded as one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of all time, Scofield preferred the stage over film. Academy Award winner for his role as Sir Thomas More in the 1966 film “A Man for All Seasons.” The Edward Albee play presents Scofield as half of a married couple (with co-star Katharine Hepburn) that prefers to be alone. Each time someone visits them, their “Delicate Balance” is threatened. The limit is reached when well-meaning friends Harry (Joseph Cotton) and Edna (Betsy Blair) show up unexpectedly and threaten to stay forever.  

Lee Marvin

Look for: ‘The Iceman Cometh’

One of Lee Marvin's most notable film projects was “Cat Ballou” (1965), a comedy Western for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing the dual role of gunfighter Kid Shelleen and criminal Tim Strawn. In Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” the faded light of Harry Hope's 1912 skid row bar, a ragtag group of fallen men await the annual arrival of Hickey (Marvin). This year, however, the charismatic Hickey brings not the usual rounds of drinks and pats on the back, but the unwelcome news that he's off the sauce for good and has come to persuade Hope’s drunks to do the same. One by one, the regulars' booze-basted pipe dreams come under Hickey's leering microscope until finally the most shocking self-deception turns out to be Hickey's own.

John Gielgud

Look for: ‘Galileo,’ ‘Summer Day’s Dream,’ ‘Richard II,’ ‘Antigone,’ ‘Oedipus the King,’ ‘The Critic’

Gielgud was an English actor and theatre director whose career spanned eight decades. With Ralph Richardson and Laurence Olivier, he was one of the trio of actors who dominated the British stage for much of the 20th century. Gielgud appeared in more than sixty films between Becket (1964), for which he received his first Academy Award nomination for playing Louis VII of France, and Elizabeth (1998).  Gielgud’s talents as a preeminent classical actor are in full display in “Galileo,” “Richard II,” and “Oedipus The King.

 Dawn of Justice"

Jeremy Irons

Look for: ‘Tales From Hollywood’

Jeremy Irons began his acting career onstage in 1969 and has since appeared in many West End theatre productions, including “The Winter's Tale,” “Macbeth,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Godspell,” “Richard II,” and “Embers.” In 1984, he made his Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard's “The Real Thing” and received a Tony Award for Best Actor.  In 1990, Irons played accused murderer Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune and took home an Academy Award for Best Actor. In “Tales of Hollywood” Irons and Alec Guinness star in Christopher Hampton's colorful evocation of 1940s Hollywood. Jeremy Irons is Odon von Horvath, your guide to the sun-soaked boulevards and bizarre culture collisions of wartime Los Angeles. 

Jim Broadbent

Look for: ‘The Miser,’ ‘Nona’

Born in Lincolnshire, England to parents who were both amateur actors, Jim Broadbent was educated at Leighton Park School, a Quaker school in Reading, and briefly attended art college before transferring to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He graduated in 1972. His early stage work included appearances as Patrick Barlow's assistant in the mock National Theatre of Brent. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for “Iris.” Watch Broadbent in “The Miser” with performances from a star-studded cast, including Nigel Hawthorn and Janet Suzman in Molière's famous tale of the old miser Harpagon. Alan Drury's adaptation changes the setting of this classic comedy to the 19th Century.

Maximilian Schell

Look for: ‘The Man in the Glass Booth’

Maximilian Schell was an Austrian-born Swiss film and stage actor, who also wrote, directed and produced some of his own films. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1961 American film “Judgment at Nuremberg,” his second acting role in Hollywood. Watch Schell play Jewish entrepreneur Arthur Goldman in “The Man in the Glass Booth” a millionaire who benevolently rules his financial empire from a penthouse apartment overlooking Manhattan. Seemingly at the edge of sanity, Goldman holds forth on everything from Papal edicts to ex-wives, from baseball to his family's massacre in a Nazi concentration camp. His seemingly capricious ravings are transformed into a shocking, inadvertent deposition when Israeli agents capture Goldman and put him on trial as Adolph Dorf, the commandant of the concentration camp where Goldman's family was supposedly exterminated.

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