Tonight Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey (barring a possible upset by the equally-deserving Leonardo DiCaprio) will join the ranks of aesthetically-pleasing Oscar-winning actors. Naturally, this anticipation inspired a trip through the Academy archives to select a baker’s dozen of other handsome actors who’ve won competitive awards, hence no mention of Cary Grant or Warren Beatty. Of course, it’s a subjective list and many talented men were left off for various reasons (psst: we’re still too hung up on Russell Crowe’s phone-throwing tantrum to include him) but you can’t really argue with the sex appeal of any of these versatile thespians.
Scroll down to see our picks for the 13 sexiest Oscar-winning actors.
Crowned by moviegoers and critics as “the King,” Gable won his only best actor Oscar for the 1934 comedy It Happened One Night. He was nominated — and deserved to win — five years later for his most enduring performance as the charming rogue Rhett Butler in the romantic epic Gone With The Wind, but lost to British performer Robert Donat’s turn as an aging schoolteacher in the sentimental Goodbye Mr. Chips.
Considered one of the most desirable men of his era (Tallulah Bankhead once quipped that she took a part in a film “to fuck that divine Gary Cooper!”), the stoic actor received two best actor Oscars. The first was for his heroic role in 1941’s massive hit Sergeant York, and another for 1952’s influential western High Noon.
By the time he won his first and only Academy Award for acting in 1948’s Hamlet (which he also directed), the British Olivier was already regarded as the century’s greatest stage performer and had movie fans swooning over his other nominated performances in romantic dramas like 1939’s Wuthering Heights and 1940’s Rebecca. After being made a Knight and eventually a Lord, Olivier received an honorary Oscar in 1979 for his incredible filmography.
Indisputably the sexiest man to ever appear before the motion picture camera (just watch A Streetcar Named Desire if you don’t believe us) and arguably cinema’s most talented actor, Brando won his first Academy Award for his searing work in the 1954 classic On the Waterfront. He won a second for the 1972 blockbuster The Godfather but notoriously sent an actress dressed as a Native American to refuse it on his behalf. To show it held no grudges the Academy nominated him again the next year for what many consider his most daring work: the landmark erotic drama Last Tango in Paris.
The movie tough guy received four Oscar nominations as best actor during his career including his first for 1953’s torrid WWII romance From Here To Eternity and eventually won as a conman evangelist in 1961’s Elmer Gantry. It’s disappointing that Lancaster, a longtime supporter of gay rights, wasn’t nominated for his electrifying turn as a crooked press man in 1958’s brilliant The Sweet Smell of Success.
After six nominations, the man with the most beautiful blue eyes in the movies finally took home the prize for 1986’s The Color of Money. Newman would receive two more nominations and be awarded an honorary Oscar in 1994 for his incredible humanitarian work.
Already adored by fans for his starring role in 1985’s queer romance My Beautiful Laundrette, the handsome British thespian won the first of his three statues as best leading actor (a record) for his moving work in 1989’s My Left Foot. His second came with 2007’s staggering There Will Be Blood and the third for his monumental performance in last year’s Lincoln.
Among the most acclaimed actors of contemporary cinema, Washington snagged his first trophy for his supporting work in 1989’s Civil War story Glory. He’d go on to score numerous other nominations and eventually win as best leading actor for his mesmerizing performance as a crooked cop in 2001’s Training Day.
A popular performer on the hit sketch comedy series In Living Color, Foxx translated his television appeal to the big screen and became a double Oscar nominee in 2004. He lost in the supporting category for the thriller Collateral, but emerged victorious as lead actor in the musical biopic Ray.
The most effortlessly charismatic of modern movie stars, Clooney took home the golden boy for best supporting actor in 2005’s political drama Syriana. He’s since received three additional nods as best actor and has proven himself a formidable presence on the other side of the camera as a director and producer of Oscar-nominated films.
The talented Australian actor received a best actor nomination for his heartbreaking turn as the sexually conflicted ranch hand in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, which should have won the best picture Oscar. Ledger won a posthumous award as best supporting actor for his turn as the Joker in 2009’s The Dark Knight.
Worshipped by television viewers as Mr. Darcy in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and movie lovers for rom-coms such as Love, Actually, Firth won his best actor Oscar for 2010’s fact-based The King’s Speech. He’d been nominated as best actor the previous year as a tortured gay professor in The Single Man.
A popular actor in his home country France, the dashing Dujardin was introduced to American audiences in 2011’s silent film The Artist, which won him the best actor prize. Having recently appeared in Clooney’s The Monument Men, we hope to see much more of this European stunner.