Since the first Best Supporting Actor award was given to Walter Brennan at the 9th Academy Awards ceremony in 1937, 75 men have received this honor, with seven winning two statues in this category. Seven actors tie for the most Best Supporting Actor nominations at four – one of whom is Brennan, who also holds the record for most wins in this category. He won an astonishing three out of four nominations between 1937 and 1942.
Both the youngest and the oldest acting nominees in the history of the Academy received their nominations in this category. Eight-year-old Justin Henry has held the record for youngest nominee in any category for 41 years, having received a bid for his performance in “Kramer vs. Kramer” in 1980. After being overlooked by the Academy for much of his career, Christopher Plummer received three supporting nominations between 2010 and 2018, and holds three separate spots on the top 10 list of oldest nominees in this category. His win in 2012 at the age of 82 made him the oldest winner in this category, as well as the oldest winner in any acting category until 2021, when Anthony Hopkins won for Best Actor. His supporting bid in 2017 at the age of 88 makes him the overall record-holder for oldest acting nominee.
Since 2000 (the years of the ceremonies, not the films), five Best Supporting Actor recipients won on their sole nominations, seven won on their first acting nominations, two have maintained a perfect winning record of 2-0 and one became only the second individual to receive a competitive acting Oscar posthumously. In addition, four of these men earned two nominations in a single year, with one also receiving a lead bid and three others earning nods in directing, writing and songwriting.
Enjoy watching each of the 22 acceptance speeches from the 21st century below. The most recent champ featured is Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) and the furthest back in 2000 was Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”).
Daniel Kaluuya (2021), “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Kaluuya won on his second acting nomination for his role as Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in this biopic. All other nominees were up for their first acting bids: Kaluuya’s costar Lakeith Stanfield; Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”); Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”), who also claimed a nomination for Best Original Song for that same film; and Sacha Baron Cohen, who received his acting bid for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” but also received a Best Adapted Screenplay nod for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”
Brad Pitt (2020), “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
After four nominations, Pitt finally took home an acting statue to go with his Best Picture award (“12 Years a Slave, 2014), winning for his role as a stuntman caught up in the turbulent 1960s Los Angeles. He was the only nominee in this category who had never won an acting Oscar. His competition was Oscar royalty: double-Best-Actor winner Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), who received his first nomination in 19 years and first in supporting; previous and future Best Actor recipient Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”); previous Best Actor winner Al Pacino (“The Irishman”), up for his ninth time; and Pacino’s costar Joe Pesci, who won for supporting in 1991.
Mahershala Ali (2019), “Green Book”
For his role as famed jazz musician Don Shirley, Ali became the second black performer to win two competitive acting Oscars, and one of only seven performers to claim a 2-0 win in the acting categories. The previous year’s winner, Sam Rockwell, earned another bid for his role in “Vice,” while Adam Driver (“BlackkKlansman”), Sam Elliott (“A Star Is Born”) and Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) all received their first nominations.
Sam Rockwell (2018), “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Long overlooked by the Academy, Rockwell finally earned a statue on his first nomination for his role as an alcoholic racist cop who has his comeuppance. His costar Woody Harrelson also received a consideration, as did Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) and Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”). The final nominee was 88-year-old Christopher Plummer (“All the Money in the World”), who received his third and final nomination and claimed the record for oldest nominee in any acting category.
Mahershala Ali (2017), “Moonlight”
Ali won on his first nomination for his complex role of a drug dealer with a kind heart, becoming the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award. Also receiving their first nominations were Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Dev Patel (“Lion”), while Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”) received his second and prior Best Actor recipient Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”) received his seventh.
Mark Rylance (2016), “Bridge of Spies”
Tony-winning actor Rylance added an Oscar trophy to his shelf for his portrayal of real-life Russian spy Rudolf Abel. He was up against Christian Bale (“The Big Short”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”), each of whom received his third acting nomination; Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”), who received his first; and Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”), who received his third nomination 39 years after his writing and lead actor nominations for “Rocky,” becoming the sixth individual to earn acting nominations for playing the same character in two different films.
J.K. Simmons (2015), “Whiplash”
After a varied and impressive career, Simmons got his moment in the spotlight, earning an Oscar on his sole nomination for his role as an abusive music instructor. His competitors were Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”), Edward Norton (“Birdman”), Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”) and 1984 Best Actor recipient Robert Duvall (“The Judge”), who received his seventh and last acting nomination and set the record for oldest nominee in this category, which he would hold for three years.
Jared Leto (2014), “Dallas Buyers Club”
Leto lost 30 pounds and transformed himself into an HIV-positive transgender woman, earning critical acclaim and an Oscar statue on his sole nomination. He shared the category with an impressive group of his peers: Somalia-born non-actor Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”) received a nomination for his film debut, Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”) received the second of three consecutive acting nominations, Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”) received the first of two acting bids and Jonah Hill (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) received his second.
Christoph Waltz (2013), “Django Unchained”
On his second collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, Waltz became the seventh actor to win two supporting statues, and one of seven performers to have a 2-0 winning record for acting Oscars. Waltz wasn’t the only previous winner, however – in fact, for the first time in Academy history, every nominee in an acting category was a previous winner: Alan Arkin (“Argo”), double-winner Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”), who received his final nomination. In addition, none of these actors have received an acting nomination since, although De Niro was part of the production team for Best Picture nominee “The Irishman” in 2020.
Christopher Plummer (2012), “Beginners”
For his role as an elderly man who comes out as gay after his wife dies, 82-year-old Plummer surpassed George Burns’ 36-year-old record to become the oldest winner in this category; in fact, he was the oldest acting winner period until Anthony Hopkins’ win for Best Actor this year. Fellow octogenarian Max von Sydow (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”) also claimed a spot on the list of oldest nominees with his second and final acting bid. Also competing were Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn) and Nick Nolte (“Warrior”), both of whom received their last nominations, and Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”), who received his first of two supporting bids.
Christian Bale (2011), “The Fighter”
Bale won on his first nomination for his role as former boxer and cocaine addict Dicky Eklund in this biopic. Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are All Right”) also received his first nomination, and he and Bale are the only two to have received bids since. John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”) received his only nomination, Jeremy Renner (“The Town”) had received a lead bid the year before and 1997 Best Actor winner Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”) received his fourth and last acting nomination.
Christoph Waltz (2010), “Inglourious Basterds”
Prolific Austrian-German actor Waltz launched his American career and won numerous awards for his performance as the egotistical “Jew Hunter” SS Colonel Hans Landa in this Quentin Tarantino film. His competitors were Matt Damon (“Invictus”), Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”), Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”) and Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”), who received his first nomination at the young age of 80 and the first of three spots on the top ten list of oldest contenders in this category.
Heath Ledger (2009), “The Dark Knight”
A little over a year after his untimely death at the age of 28, Ledger became one the youngest winners in this category, and one of only two individuals to win an acting award posthumously (the other being Peter Finch in 1977 for “Network”). Ledger’s turn as the infamous DC Comics villain The Joker (“The Dark Knight”) beat out Josh Brolin (“Milk”), Robert Downey Jr. (“Tropic Thunder”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Doubt”) and Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”). His family accepts the trophy below.
Javier Bardem (2008), “No Country for Old Men”
A previous contender in the lead category, Bardem won for his role of a memorable psychopath hitman in this Coen brothers’ Best Picture winner. Also up for consideration were prior Best Actor winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Charlie Wilson’s War”), future Best Actor winner Casey Affleck (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) and Tom Wilkinson (“Michael Clayton”). Less than a month shy of his 83rd birthday, Hal Holbrook (“Into the Wild”) received his only nomination, and held the record for oldest nominee in this category for seven years.
Alan Arkin (2007), “Little Miss Sunshine”
Nearly 40 years after his last acting nomination, Arkin won for his role as the off-color granddad in this quirky comedy. His competition included three men up for their sole acting nominations – Jackie Earle Haley (“Little Children”), Eddie Murphy (“Dreamgirls”) and Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed”) – as well as Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond”), who received his second.
George Clooney (2006), “Syriana”
Clooney received not only his first acting bid, but also received his first directing and writing nominations, becoming the fifth individual to achieve this feat – however, he was the first to do so for two different films. He won for his performance in this political ensemble thriller, but lost both his bids for “Good Night, and Good Luck.” His fellow acting nominees included three who received their only bids: Matt Dillon (“Crash”), Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man”) and Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain”). Rounding out the category was previous Best Actor winner William Hurt (“A History of Violence”).
Morgan Freeman (2005), “Million Dollar Baby”
Freeman won on his fourth overall nomination for his role as a former boxer in Clint Eastwood’s Best Picture winner. Three men earn their sole nominations: Alan Alda (“The Aviator”), Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways”) and Clive Owen (“Closer”). Also up for his first and only time was Jamie Foxx; however, he was the second actor and tenth person to get two acting nominations in one year – he missed for his supporting bid for “Collateral,” but claimed Best Actor for “Ray.”
Tim Robbins (2004), “Mystic River”
Although previously a contender for Best Director, this was Robbins’ sole acting nomination; his win coupled with Sean Penn’s for Best Actor made this the first film since “Ben Hur” in 1960 to win both male acting awards. With the exception of 2001 Best Supporting Actor recipient Benicio del Toro (“21 Grams”), this was the first acting nomination for each man: Alec Baldwin (“The Cooler”), Djimon Hounsou (“In America”) and Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai”).
Chris Cooper (2003), “Adaptation”
Cooper won on his sole nomination for his role in this offbeat comedy drama. Every actor nominated in this category received his last nomination: Ed Harris (“The Hours”), John C. Reilly (“Chicago”), 1979 supporting winner Christopher Walken (“Catch Me If You Can”) and 1987 Best Actor winner Paul Newman (“Road to Perdition”), who received his ninth and final acting nomination (the other eight were all for lead) for his final live action feature film.
Jim Broadbent (2002), “Iris”
Broadbent won on his sole nomination for his portrayal of John Bayley, husband of novelist Iris Murdoch, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. The Oscar newbie was up against two previous Best Actor recipients: Ben Kingsley (“Sexy Beast”) and Jon Voight (“Ali”). Ethan Hawke (“Training Day”) received his first of two acting nods, and Ian McKellen (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”) received his second.
Benicio del Toro (2001), “Traffic”
Del Toro won on his first nomination for his role as an honorable Mexican police officer fighting the war on drugs. His fellow nominees include some of Oscar’s favorite honorees, with the four having a total of 20 acting nominations among them: Jeff Bridges (“The Contender”) received his fourth of seven, Willem Dafoe (“Shadow of the Vampire”) received his second of four and Albert Finney (“Erin Brockovich”) received his fifth and final with no wins. Joaquin Phoenix (“Gladiator”) received his first of four, making him and his older deceased brother River (supporting nominee for “Running on Empty,” 1998) the first pair of brothers to both earn acting bids. Both Bridges and Phoenix would eventually win Best Actor Oscars, in 2010 and 2020 respectively.
Michael Caine (2000), “The Cider House Rules”
Caine won his second supporting statue (the first was for “Hannah and Her Sisters” in 1987) and a standing ovation for his role as as a kind and respected doctor and director of an orphanage in WWII-era Maine. In his speech, he graciously acknowledged his fellow nominees: Tom Cruise (“Magnolia”), who received his third and last acting nomination; Michael Clarke Duncan (“The Green Mile”), who received his only nomination; Jude Law (“The Talented Mr. Ripley), who would receive a lead bid in 2004; and 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”), who became the second-youngest nominee in this category (by one day!).