Oscars - Best Leading Role
Leading names matter. Names like Streep, Stanwyck, Mirren, Rampling and Moore, just part of this formidable roll call.
Their films vault across time and trend to show us people and nations at war, lovers fragmenting and humanity at its most hauntingly real.
Drama2007158 minsDirector: Paul Thomas Anderson
Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar-winning performance as a ruthless oil baron bestrides Paul Thomas Anderson's towering 21st-century classic.
Biopic2004152 minsDirector: Taylor Hackford
Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his extraordinary performance as Ray Charles, in a film that revived the potency of the musical biopic.
Drama2016137 minsDirector: Kenneth Lonergan
Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams shine in this devastating, Oscar-winning drama from Kenneth Lonergan about a man’s painful hometown return.
Drama2014102 minsDirector: Richard Glatzer
Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her extraordinary performance as a linguistics professor diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Drama2011105 minsDirector: Phyllida Lloyd
Meryl Streep delivers an extraordinary performance as Margaret Thatcher in a provocative portrait.
Thriller2015118 minsDirector: Lenny Abrahamson
Brie Larson’s Oscar-winning performance is the beating heart of Lenny Abrahamson’s extraordinarily moving drama.
Historical drama2010113 minsDirector: Tom Hooper
Oscar-winning tale of the relationship between King George VI (Colin Firth) and the Australian speech therapist who treated his stammer.
Musical2016128 minsDirector: Damien Chazelle
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone channel old-school Hollywood glamour in this bright and playful romantic musical from director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).
Biopic2014115 minsDirector: Morten Tyldum
Benedict Cumberbatch’s roundly acclaimed performance anchors the incredible, Oscar-winning story of code-breaker Alan Turing.
Drama2006103 minsDirector: Stephen Frears
Helen Mirren won as Oscar for her performance as the enduring monarch who comes under scrutiny following the death of Princess Diana.
Drama1958117 minsDirector: Jack Clayton
Jack Clayton directs this romantic, love-triangle drama featuring Simone Signoret in an Oscar-winning performance.
Drama2017100 minsDirector: Björn Runge
Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce are the spouses with a secret in a tight, taut drama of ego and legacy.
Biopic2018133 minsDirector: Adam McKay
Christian Bale is the infamous Dick Cheney, in Adam ‘The Big Short’ McKay’s exuberant and acrid satire.
Drama2018130 minsDirector: Peter Farrelly
Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen star in the triple Oscar®-winning comic roadmovie, about the unlikely friendship between an acclaimed pianist and his bouncer.
Biopic2016100 minsDirector: Pablo Larraín
Natalie Portman is exceptional as the iconic First Lady who has to quickly adjust to the world-shaking trauma of her husband’s assassination.
Drama2017116 minsDirector: Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed, gripping and timely drama about the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, featuring Tom Hanks and an Oscar-nominated performance from Meryl Streep.
War2016139 minsDirector: Mel Gibson
Andrew Garfield stars in Mel Gibson’s visceral war film, telling the extraordinary story of the soldier who saved 75 lives in one of WWII’s bloodiest battles.
Drama2015131 minsDirector: Paul Verhoeven
Isabelle Huppert gives an unforgettable performance in Paul Verhoeven’s provocative thriller about one woman’s response to a violent attack.
Drama2005127 minsDirector: Joe Wright
Keira Knightley stars in Jane Austen’s timeless romance, reinvigorated for the modern age by the masters of British rom-com, Working Title.
Drama2005121 minsDirector: Pedro Almodóvar
Family secrets echo around a Spanish clan, ringing loud enough to rouse the dead, in Pedro Almodóvar's assured melodrama.
Drama201495 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard’s collaboration with Cannes Festival-favourites Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne is a stunning, tense drama about a woman’s race against time to save her job.
Drama201293 minsDirector: Benh Zeitlin
Set in a Deep South delta, Zeitlin’s feature debut takes a child’s eye view of poverty, adult apathy and ecological crisis. Hallucinatory fare
Drama2004120 minsDirector: Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh’s acclaimed story of a selfless woman who performs unlawful abortions in 1950s Britain; both an affecting drama and vital social history.
Drama2004103 minsDirector: Michel Gondry
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play the couple who fall in love so quickly it seems they must have known each other in a past life ... only to discover they did.
Biopic2013134 minsDirector: Steve McQueen
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender star in Steve McQueen’s fearless, Oscar-winning story of a free man who’s sold into slavery.
Drama2014135 minsDirector: Bennett Miller
Steve Carell and Channing Tatum deliver stunning performance in the story of the strange relationship between two Olympic wrestlers and their millionaire benefactor.
Drama2016119 minsDirector: Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen plays the father-gone-primitive in this wonderful award-winning comedy about an off-grid family.
Drama201495 minsDirector: Andrew Haigh
One of the most acclaimed British features of recent years, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a couple rocked by news from the past.
War2008131 minsDirector: Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director Academy Award in 2010 for this visceral, thrilling story of an American maverick bomb disarmer in Iraq.
Biopic2015124 minsDirector: Jay Roach
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo) gives a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who became a Hollywood outcast.
Romance2015112 minsDirector: John Crowley
Saoirse Ronan shines as a woman who journeys from post-war small-town Ireland to New York, in Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s best-selling novel.
Legal and Courtroom drama1991128 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese
Scorsese’s remake of J Lee Thompson’s 1962 thriller stars Robert De Niro as a psychotic rapist out to avenge the lawyer he blames for his conviction (Nick Nolte).
Crime1994154 minsDirector: Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino’s crackling crime classic still retains its swagger as one of the great American films of recent decades.
Drama2014119 minsDirector: Todd Haynes
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara illuminate Todd Haynes’ intoxicating adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s beloved novel.
Gangster1986100 minsDirector: Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan's gritty thriller stars Bob Hoskins as a gangster recently released from prison who falls in love with the prostitute he is supposed to be protecting.
Comedy200695 minsDirector: Roger Michell
Peter O’Toole in one of his last, finest performances in this story about an aging actor who thought he’d seen it all – until he met her.
Crime1944108 minsDirector: Billy Wilder
Barbara Stanwyck is the housewife who dupes an insurance salesman into a devious murder plot, in this giant of American cinema - the archetypal Film Noir.
2012127 minsDirector: Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or-winner, about an octogenarian couple trying to cope when a stroke leaves the wife partly paralysed and speechless.