10 Most Famous British Oscar Winners and Nominees

January 20, 2014

1. Daniel Day-Lewis

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Born in London, Day-Lewis is the only actor of any nationality to win three Best Actor Oscars. He became famous in 1989 when he starred as Christy Brown in “My Left Foot,” the first of his Oscar-winning performances.

Day-Lewis, who is also a citizen of Ireland, also won Oscars for his performances in “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Lincoln” (2012).

2. Olivia De Havilland

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Yes, De Havilland is alive at 97. Born in Tokyo while her British father taught English there, De Havilland became the first of three British women to win two Best Actress Oscars when she won for “The Heiress” (1949).

She also won for “To Each His Own” (1946), but is best known for her Best Supporting Actress nominated performance in “Gone with the Wind” (1939).

3. Judi Dench

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The York, England, native hasn’t won a Best Actress Oscar, but she has a British actress record seven Oscar nominations for “Mrs. Brown” (1997), “Shakespeare in Love“ (1998), “Chocolat“ (2000), “Iris” (2001), “Mrs. Henderson Presents” (2005), “Notes on a Scandal” (2006) and “Philomena“ (2013).

She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love.”

4. Colin Firth

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The Grayshott, England, native is one of Hollywood’s hottest actors today. He won a Best Actor Oscar for playing King George VI in “The King’s Speech” (2010) and won a Golden Globe award, a BAFTA award and a Screen Actors Guild award for the same role. The year before, he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role in “A Single Man.”

5. Alec Guinness

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The London native was Obi-Wan Kenobi in three “Star Wars” films — and earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his 1977 performance. Many movie fans, though, prefer his acting in David Lean’s movies — “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957), “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) and “Doctor Zhivago” (1965). He won a Best Actor Oscar for the first Lean movie.

6. Glenda Jackson

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Could Jackson become the United Kingdom’s Ronald Reagan? The Birkenhead, England, native became the third British actress with two Best Actress Oscars after wins for “Women in Love” (1970) and “A Touch of Class” (1973) and was nominated for “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1971).

She last acted in 1992 and has been a Labour Party Member of Parliament since then.

7. Vivien Leigh

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The native of British India is known for two seminal performances – Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind” (1939) and Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951). Those roles made her the second British woman to win two Best Actor Oscars.

She also was known for her marriage to Laurence Olivier and mental and physical illnesses that impaired her career.

8. Laurence Olivier

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Olivier and Spencer Tracy share the record of most Best Actor Oscar nominations – nine. The Dorking, England, native won once for playing “Hamlet” in 1948.

He was nominated for “Wuthering Heights” (1939), “Rebecca” (1940), “Henry V” (1946), “Richard III” (1956), “The Entertainer” (1960), “Othello” (1965), “Sleuth” (1972) and “The Boys from Brazil” (1978).

9. Maggie Smith

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The Ilford, England, native shared the record for most Oscar nominations by a British actress until 2014. She won Oscars for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969; Best Actress) and “California Suite” (1978; Best Supporting Actress), and was nominated for “Othello“ (1965), “Travels with my Aunt” (1972), “A Room with a View” (1986) and “Gosford Park” (2001).

10. Kate Winslet

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Like Smith, the Reading, England, native shared the record for most Oscar nominations by a British actress – six – until Dench’s seventh nomination in 2014.

She won a Best Actress Oscar for “The Reader” in 2008. She was nominated for “Sense and Sensibility” (1995), “Titanic” (1997), “Iris” (2001), “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) and “Little Children” (2006).