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Will this be third time in Oscar history that all four acting winners are foreign born?

By Paul Sheehan
By Paul Sheehan
Nov 20 2013 10:00 am
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Since the Oscars introduced the supporting awards at the 9th annual ceremony in 1936, there have been only two years when all four acting winners hailed from outside the United States.

The first was back in 1964 when the winners were three Brits -- Rex Harrison ("My Fair Lady"), Julie Andrews ("Mary Poppins") and Peter Ustinov ("Topkapi") --  and Russian-born Lila Kedrova ("Zorba the Greek").

And the second came at the 80th ceremony in 2007, when two Brits -- Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") and Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton") -- were joined by Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose"), who made Oscar history by giving the first French language performance to be so honored, and Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men"), the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar.

Could this year mark the third time that happens?

Australian Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine") is the clear frontrunner for Best Actress while three "12 Years a Slave" players -- Brit Chiwetel Ejiofor, Irishman Michael Fassbender and Kenyan Lupita Nyongo -- are all strong contenders in their respective races. Vote for who you think will win Best Actor at the bottom of this post. 

Oscar has put the welcome mat out from its very first ceremony in 1929 when Swiss-born Emil Jannings won Best Actor for his performances in "The Last Command" and "The Way of All Flesh. And three of the first four Best Actress champs hailed from Canada: Mary Pickford ("Coquette"); Norma Shearer ("The Divorcee"); and Marie Dressler ("Min and Bill").

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One of our most prolific forum posters, the aptly named Academy Awards Guru, has compiled a list of the nationalities of all 281 Oscar winners for acting. During the course of 85 ceremonies, they have won 326 Oscars (there has been one tie in each of Best Actor and Best Actress). Of these, 84 winners came from outside the USA to take home 95 Oscars. While 22 other countries have produced Oscar winners, it is not surprising that England leads with 39 of her citizens winning 46 Oscars.

Over the past 85 years, Best Actor has gone to a non-American 27 times and Best Actress 26 times while in the 77-year history of the supporting awards, non-Americans won Supporting Actor 24 times and Supporting Actress 18 times.

In the following list, the Oscar winners are listed under the country with which they are most associated with their birthplace given when it differs. In addition, those actors who were born elsewhere but raised primarily in the USA are not included, such as Elizabeth Taylor born in England, Claudette Colbert in France, sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia DeHavilland in Japan, Anthony Quinn in Mexico, Paul Muni in the Ukraine and Natalie Portman in Israel.

Australia
Cate Blanchett
Russell Crowe (born in New Zealand; family emigrated when he was 4)
Peter Finch (born in England; family returned to Australia when he was 7)
Nicole Kidman (born in the U.S.; family returned to Australia when she was 4)
Heath Ledger
Geoffrey Rush

Austria
Joseph Schildkraut
Christoph Waltz

Belgium
Audrey Hepburn

Cambodia
Haing S. Ngor

Canada
Marie Dressler
Walter Huston
Mary Pickford
Christopher Plummer

Harold Russell
Norma Shearer

England
Julie Andrews
George Arliss
Peggy Ashcroft
Christian Bale

Jim Broadbent
Michael Caine
Julie Christie (born in India; family returned to England when she was 7)
Ronald Colman
Donald Crisp
Daniel Day-Lewis
Judi Dench
Colin Firth

Greer Garson
John Gielgud
Alec Guinness
Edmund Gwenn
Rex Harrison
Wendy Hiller
Jeremy Irons
Glenda Jackson
Ben Kingsley
Charles Laughton
Vivien Leigh (born in India; family returned to England when she was 6)
Victor McLaglen
Helen Mirren
John Mills
David Niven
Laurence Olivier
Vanessa Redgrave
Margaret Rutherford
George Sanders (born in Russia; family returned to England when he was 11)
Paul Scofield
Maggie Smith
Tilda Swinton
Jessica Tandy
Emma Thompson
Peter Ustinov
Rachel Weisz
Kate Winslet

France
Juliette Binoche
Marion Cotillard
Jean Dujardin

Simone Signoret (born in Germany; family emigrated when she was 3)

Germany
Luise Rainer

Greece
Katina Paxinou

Hungary
Paul Lukas

Ireland
Barry Fitzgerald
Brenda Fricker

Italy
Roberto Benigni
Sophia Loren
Anna Magnani

Japan
Miyoshi Umeki

Mexico
Anthony Quinn

New Zealand
Anna Paquin (born in Canada; family emigrated when she was 4)

Puerto Rico
Benicio Del Toro
Jose Ferrer

Russia
Yul Brynner
Lila Kedrova

Scotland
Sean Connery

South Africa
Charlize Theron

Spain
Javier Bardem
Penelope Cruz

Sweden
Ingrid Bergman

Switzerland
Emil Jannings
Maximilian Schell (born in Austria; family emigrated when he was 8)

Wales
Hugh Griffith
Anthony Hopkins
Ray Milland
Catherine Zeta-Jones

Who do you think is going to win Best Actor? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu.

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