The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It was first awarded at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony, held in 1929; Emil Janningsreceived the award for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh and it is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry.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.
In the first three years of the awards, actors 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. 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. The following year, this unwieldy and confusing system was replaced by the current system in which an actor is nominated for a specific performance in a single film. Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year.
Since its inception, the award has been given to 77 actors. Matthew McConaughey is the most recent winner in this category for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. At the ceremony held in 2013, Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor to win in this category three times, surpassing Marlon Brando, Gary Cooper, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Fredric March, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn and Spencer Tracy who all have two wins. Tracy and Laurence Olivier have been nominated on nine occasions, more than any other actor.