Tony Award for
Best Actor in a Play
2023 Recipient: Sean Hayes, Good Night, Oscar
Awarded forBest Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
LocationNew York City
Presented byAmerican Theatre Wing The Broadway League
Currently held bySean Hayes for Good Night, Oscar (2023)
WebsiteTonyAwards.com

The Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play is an honor presented at the Tony Awards, a ceremony established in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, to actors for quality leading roles in a Broadway play. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, an American actress who died in 1946. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, to "honor the best performances and stage productions of the previous year."[1] Despite the award first being presented in 1947, there were no nominees announced until 1956.

Winners and nominees

  indicates the winner
José Ferrer won twice for Cyrano de Bergerac (1947) and The Shrike (1952)
Fredric March won twice Years Ago (1947) and in Long Day's Journey into Night (1957)
Henry Fonda won for Mister Roberts (1948)
Sidney Blackmer won for Come Back, Little Sheba in 1950
Paul Muni won for Inherit the Wind (1956)
Ralph Bellamy won for Sunrise at Campobello (1958)
Jason Robards won for The Disenchanted (1959)
Melvyn Douglas won for The Best Man (1960)
Zero Mostel won for Rhinoceros (1961)
Paul Scofield won for A Man for All Seasons (1963)
Alec Guinness won for Dylan (1964)
Walter Matthau won for The Odd Couple (1965)
Martin Balsam won for You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running (1968)
James Earl Jones won for The Great White Hope (1969) and for Fences (1987)
Alan Bates won twice, for Butley (1973) and Fortune's Fool (2002)
Al Pacino won for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (1977)
Ian McKellen won for Amadeus (1981)
Harvey Fierstein won for Torch Song Trilogy (1983)
Jeremy Irons won for The Real Thing (1984)
Derek Jacobi won for Much Ado About Nothing (1985)
Judd Hirsch won twice for I'm Not Rappaport (1986) and Conversations with My Father (1992)
Robert Morse won Tru (1990)
Ralph Fiennes for Hamlet (1995)
Christopher Plummer won for Barrymore (1997)
Brian Dennehy won twice for Death of a Salesman (1999) and Long Days Journey into Night (2003)
Jefferson Mays won for I Am My Own Wife in 2004
Bill Irwin won for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2005)
Richard Griffiths won for The History Boys in 2006
Frank Langella won twice for his roles in Frost/Nixon (2007) and The Father (2016)
Mark Rylance won for Boeing-Boeing (2008), and Jerusalem (2011)
Geoffrey Rush won for Exit the King in 2009
Denzel Washington won for Fences (2010)
James Corden won for One Man, Two Guvnors (2012)
Tracy Letts won for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2013)
Bryan Cranston has won the award twice, for All the Way (2014) and Network (2019)
Kevin Kline won for Present Laughter in 2017
Andrew Garfield won for Angels in America in 2018
Simon Russell Beale won for The Lehman Trilogy (2021)
Sean Hayes won for Good Night, Oscar (2023)

1940s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
1947
(1st)
José Ferrer Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano De Bergerac
Fredric March Years Ago Clinton Jones
1948
(2nd)
Henry Fonda Mister Roberts Lt. Roberts
Paul Kelly Command Decision Brigadier General K.C. Dennis
Basil Rathbone The Heiress Dr. Austin Sloper
1949
(3rd)
Rex Harrison Anne of the Thousand Days Henry VIII

1950s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
1950
(4th)
Sidney Blackmer Come Back, Little Sheba Doc
1951
(5th)
Claude Rains Darkness at Noon Rubashov
1952
(6th)
José Ferrer The Shrike Jim Downs
1953
(7th)
Tom Ewell The Seven Year Itch Richard Sherman
1954
(8th)
David Wayne The Teahouse of the August Moon Sakini
1955
(9th)
Alfred Lunt Quadrille Diensen
1956
(10th)
Paul Muni Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond [2]
Ben Gazzara A Hatful of Rain Johnny Pope
Boris Karloff The Lark Pierre Cauchon
Michael Redgrave Tiger at the Gates Hector
Edward G. Robinson Middle of the Night The Manufacturer
1957
(11th)
Fredric March Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr. [3]
Maurice Evans The Apple Cart King Magnus
Wilfrid Hyde-White The Reluctant Debutante Jimmy Broadbent
Eric Portman Separate Tables Mr. Malcolm / Major Pollock
Ralph Richardson The Waltz of the Toreadors General St. Pé
Cyril Ritchard Visit to a Small Planet Kreton
1958
(12th)
Ralph Bellamy Sunrise at Campobello Franklin D. Roosevelt [4]
Richard Burton Time Remembered Prince Albert
Hugh Griffith Look Homeward, Angel W.O. Gant
Laurence Olivier The Entertainer Archie Rice
Anthony Perkins Look Homeward, Angel Eugene Gant
Peter Ustinov Romanoff and Juliet The General
Emlyn Williams A Boy Growing Up Himself
1959
(13th)
Jason Robards The Disenchanted Manley Halliday [5]
Cedric Hardwicke A Majority of One Koichi Asano
Alfred Lunt The Visit Anton Schill
Christopher Plummer J.B. Nickles
Cyril Ritchard The Pleasure of His Company Biddeford Poole
Robert Stephens Epitaph for George Dillon George Dillon

1960s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
1960
(14th)
Melvyn Douglas The Best Man William Russell [6]
Sidney Poitier A Raisin in the Sun Walter Lee Younger
Jason Robards Toys in the Attic Julian Berniers
George C. Scott The Andersonville Trial Lt. Col. N. P. Chipman
Lee Tracy The Best Man Arthur Hockstader
1961
(15th)
Zero Mostel Rhinocéros John [7]
Hume Cronyn Big Fish, Little Fish Jimmie Luton
Anthony Quinn Becket Henry II
Sam Levene The Devil's Advocate Dr. Aldo Meyer
1962
(16th)
Paul Scofield A Man for All Seasons Sir Thomas More [8]
Fredric March Gideon Angel
John Mills Ross Aircraftman Ross
Donald Pleasence The Caretaker Davies
1963
(17th)
Arthur Hill Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George [9]
Charles Boyer Lord Pengo Lord Pengo
Paul Ford Never Too Late Harry Lambert
Bert Lahr The Beauty Part Various Characters
1964
(18th)
Alec Guinness Dylan Dylan Thomas [10]
Richard Burton Hamlet Hamlet
Albert Finney Luther Martin Luther
Jason Robards After the Fall Quentin
1965
(19th)
Walter Matthau The Odd Couple Oscar Madison [11]
John Gielgud Tiny Alice Julian
Donald Pleasence Poor Bitos Bitos (Robespieere)
Jason Robards Hughie "Erie" Smith
1966
(20th)
Hal Holbrook Mark Twain Tonight! Mark Twain [12]
Patrick Bedford & Donal Donnelly Philadelphia, Here I Come! Gareth O'Donnell
Roland Culver Ivanov Pavel Lebedev
Nicol Williamson Inadmissible Evidence Bill Maitland
1967
(21st)
Paul Rogers The Homecoming Max [13]
Hume Cronyn A Delicate Balance Tobias
Donald Madden Black Comedy Harold Gorringe
Donald Moffat Right You Are (If You Think You Are) Laudisi
The Wild Duck Hjalmar Ekdal
1968
(22nd)
Martin Balsam You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running Various Characters [14]
Albert Finney A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri
Milo O'Shea Staircase Harry C. Leeds
Alan Webb I Never Sang for My Father Tom Garrison
1969
(23rd)
James Earl Jones The Great White Hope Jack Jefferson [15]
Art Carney Lovers Andy Tracey
Alec McCowen Hadrian the Seventh Fr. William Rolfe
Donald Pleasence The Man in the Glass Booth Arthur Goldman

1970s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
1970
(24th)
Fritz Weaver Child's Play Jerome Malley [16]
James Coco The Last of the Red Hot Lovers Barney Cashman
Frank Grimes Borstal Boy Young Behan
Stacy Keach Indians Buffalo Bill
1971
(25th)
Brian Bedford The School for Wives Arnolphe [17]
John Gielgud Home Harry
Alec McCowen The Philanthropist Philip
Ralph Richardson Home Jack
1972
(26th)
Cliff Gorman Lenny Lenny Bruce [18]
Tom Aldredge Sticks and Bones Ozzie
Donald Pleasence Wise Child Mrs. Artminster
Jason Robards The Country Girl Frank Elgin
1973
(27th)
Alan Bates Butley Ben Butley [19]
Jack Albertson The Sunshine Boys Willie Clark
Wilfrid Hyde-White The Jockey Club Stakes Marquis of Candover
Paul Sorvino That Championship Season Phil Romano
1974
(28th)
Michael Moriarty Find Your Way Home Julian Weston [20]
Zero Mostel Ulysses in Nighttown Leopold Bloom
Jason Robards A Moon for the Misbegotten James Tyrone Jr.
George C. Scott Uncle Vanya Mikhail lvovich Astrov
Nicol Williamson Ivan Petrovich Voinitsky
1975
(29th)
John Kani & Winston Ntshona Sizwe Banzi Is Dead/The Island Various Characters [21]
Jim Dale Scapino! Scapino
Peter Firth Equus Alan Strang
Henry Fonda Clarence Darrow Clarence Darrow
Ben Gazzara Hughie and Duet "Erie" Smith
John Wood Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes
1976
(30th)
John Wood Travesties Henry Carr [22]
Moses Gunn The Poison Tree Benjamin Hurspool
George C. Scott Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Donald Sinden Habeas Corpus Arthur Wicksteed
1977
(31st)
Al Pacino The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel Pavlo Hummel [23]
Tom Courtenay Otherwise Engaged Simon
Ben Gazzara Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George
Ralph Richardson No Man's Land Hirst
1978
(32nd)
Barnard Hughes Da Da [24]
Hume Cronyn The Gin Game Weller Martin
Frank Langella Dracula Dracula
Jason Robards A Touch of the Poet Cornelius Melody
1979
(33rd)
Tom Conti Whose Life Is It Anyway? Ken Harrison [25]
Philip Anglim The Elephant Man John Merrick
Jack Lemmon Tribute Scottie Templeton
Alec McCowen St. Mark's Gospel Mark

1980s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
1980
(34th)
John Rubinstein Children of a Lesser God James Leeds [26]
Charles Brown Home Cephus Miles
Gerald Hiken Strider Strider
Judd Hirsch Talley's Folly Matt Friedman
1981
(35th)
Ian McKellen Amadeus Antonio Salieri [27]
Tim Curry Amadeus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Roy Dotrice A Life Drumm
Jack Weston The Floating Light Bulb Jerry Wexler
1982
(36th)
Roger Rees The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Nicholas Nickleby [28]
Tom Courtenay The Dresser Norman
Milo O'Shea Mass Appeal Father Tim Farley
Christopher Plummer Othello Iago
1983
(37th)
Harvey Fierstein Torch Song Trilogy Arnold Beckoff [29]
Jeffrey DeMunn K2 Taylor
Edward Herrmann Plenty Raymond Brock
Tony Lo Bianco A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone
1984
(38th)
Jeremy Irons The Real Thing Henry [30]
Rex Harrison Heartbreak House Captain Shotover
Calvin Levels Open Admissions Calvin Jefferson
Ian McKellen Ian McKellen Acting Shakespeare Himself
1985
(39th)
Derek Jacobi Much Ado About Nothing Benedick [31]
Jim Dale A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri
Jonathan Hogan As Is Rich
John Lithgow Requiem for a Heavyweight Harlan "Mountain" McClintock
1986
(40th)
Judd Hirsch I'm Not Rappaport Nat [32]
Hume Cronyn The Petition General Sir Edmund Milne
Ed Harris Precious Sons Fred
Jack Lemmon Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr.
1987
(41st)
James Earl Jones Fences Troy Maxson [33]
Philip Bosco You Never Can Tell Waiter
Richard Kiley All My Sons Joe Keller
Alan Rickman Les Liaisons Dangereuses Le Vicomte de Valmont
1988
(42nd)
Ron Silver Speed-the-Plow Charlie Fox [34]
Derek Jacobi Breaking the Code Alan Turing
John Lithgow M. Butterfly Rene Gallimard
Robert Prosky A Walk in the Woods Andrey Botvinnik
1989
(43rd)
Philip Bosco Lend Me a Tenor Saunders [35]
Mikhail Baryshnikov Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa
Victor Garber Lend Me a Tenor Max
Bill Irwin Largely New York The Post-Modern Hoofer

1990s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
1990
(44th)
Robert Morse Tru Truman Capote [36]
Charles S. Dutton The Piano Lesson Boy Willie
Dustin Hoffman The Merchant of Venice Shylock
Tom Hulce A Few Good Men Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, USN, JAG Corps
1991
(45th)
Nigel Hawthorne Shadowlands C.S. Lewis [37]
Peter Frechette Our Country's Good 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Clark
Tom McGowan La Bête Valere
Courtney B. Vance Six Degrees of Separation Paul
1992
(46th)
Judd Hirsch Conversations with My Father Eddie [38]
Alan Alda Jake's Women Jake
Alec Baldwin A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski
Brian Bedford Two Shakespearean Actors William Charles Macready
1993
(47th)
Ron Leibman Angels in America: Millennium Approaches Roy Cohn, et al. [39]
K. Todd Freeman The Song of Jacob Zulu Jacob Zulu
Liam Neeson Anna Christie Mat Burke
Stephen Rea Someone Who'll Watch Over Me Edward
1994
(48th)
Stephen Spinella Angels in America: Perestroika Prior Walter [40]
Brian Bedford Timon of Athens Timon
Christopher Plummer No Man's Land Spooner
Sam Waterston Abe Lincoln in Illinois Abraham Lincoln
1995
(49th)
Ralph Fiennes Hamlet Prince Hamlet [41]
Brian Bedford The Molière Comedies Sganarelle
Roger Rees Indiscretions George
Joe Sears A Tuna Christmas Various Characters
1996
(50th)
George Grizzard A Delicate Balance Tobias [42]
Philip Bosco Moon Over Buffalo George Hay
George C. Scott Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond
Martin Shaw An Ideal Husband Lord Goring
1997
(51st)
Christopher Plummer Barrymore John Barrymore [43]
Brian Bedford London Assurance Sir Harcourt Courtly
Michael Gambon Skylight Tom Sergeant
Antony Sher Stanley Stanley
1998
(52nd)
Anthony LaPaglia A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone [44]
Richard Briers The Chairs Old Man
John Leguizamo Freak Himself
Alfred Molina Art Yvan
1999
(53rd)
Brian Dennehy Death of a Salesman Willy Loman [45]
Brían F. O'Byrne The Lonesome West Valene Connor
Corin Redgrave Not About Nightingales Bert "Boss" Whalen
Kevin Spacey The Iceman Cometh Theodore "Hickey" Hickman

2000s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
2000
(54th)
Stephen Dillane The Real Thing Henry [46]
Gabriel Byrne A Moon for the Misbegotten James Tyrone Jr.
Philip Seymour Hoffman True West Austin / Lee
John C. Reilly
David Suchet Amadeus Antonio Salieri
2001
(55th)
Richard Easton The Invention of Love A. E. Housman, aged 77 [47]
Sean Campion Stones in His Pockets Jake Quinn
Conleth Hill Charlie Conlon
Gary Sinise One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Randle P. McMurphy
Brian Stokes Mitchell King Hedley II King
2002
(56th)
Alan Bates Fortune's Fool Vassily Semyonitch Kuzovkin [48]
Billy Crudup The Elephant Man John Merrick
Liam Neeson The Crucible John Proctor
Alan Rickman Private Lives Elyot Chase
Jeffrey Wright Topdog/Underdog Lincoln
2003
(57th)
Brian Dennehy Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr. [49]
Brian Bedford Tartuffe Orgon
Eddie Izzard A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri
Paul Newman Our Town Stage Manager
Stanley Tucci Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Johnny
2004
(58th)
Jefferson Mays I Am My Own Wife Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, et al. [50]
Simon Russell Beale Jumpers George
Kevin Kline Henry IV Sir John Falstaff
Frank Langella Match Tobi
Christopher Plummer King Lear King Lear
2005
(59th)
Bill Irwin Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George [51]
Philip Bosco Twelve Angry Men Juror #3
Billy Crudup The Pillowman Katurian
James Earl Jones On Golden Pond Norman Thayer Jr.
Brían F. O'Byrne Doubt Father Flynn
2006
(60th)
Richard Griffiths The History Boys Douglas Hector [52]
Ralph Fiennes Faith Healer Francis Hardy
Željko Ivanek The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial Lt. Com. Phillip Francis Queeg
Oliver Platt Shining City John
David Wilmot The Lieutenant of Inishmore Padraic
2007
(61st)
Frank Langella Frost/Nixon Richard Nixon [53]
Boyd Gaines Journey's End Lieut. Osborne
Brían F. O'Byrne The Coast of Utopia Alexander Herzen
Christopher Plummer Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond
Liev Schreiber Talk Radio Barry Champlain
2008
(62nd)
Mark Rylance Boeing-Boeing Robert Lambert [54]
Ben Daniels Les Liaisons Dangereuses Le Vicomte de Valmont
Laurence Fishburne Thurgood Thurgood Marshall
Rufus Sewell Rock 'n' Roll Jan
Patrick Stewart Macbeth Lord Macbeth
2009
(63rd)
Geoffrey Rush Exit the King King Berenger [55]
Jeff Daniels God of Carnage Alan
Raúl Esparza Speed-the-Plow Charlie Fox
James Gandolfini God of Carnage Michael
Thomas Sadoski reasons to be pretty Greg

2010s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
2010
(64th)
Denzel Washington Fences Troy Maxson [56]
Jude Law Hamlet Hamlet
Alfred Molina Red Mark Rothko
Liev Schreiber A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone
Christopher Walken A Behanding in Spokane Carmichael
2011
(65th)
Mark Rylance Jerusalem Johnny "Rooster" Byron [57]
Brian Bedford The Importance of Being Earnest Lady Bracknell
Bobby Cannavale The Motherfucker with the Hat Jackie
Joe Mantello The Normal Heart Ned Weeks
Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice Shylock
2012
(66th)
James Corden One Man, Two Guvnors Francis Henshall [58]
James Earl Jones The Best Man President Art Hockstader
Philip Seymour Hoffman Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Frank Langella Man and Boy Gregor Antonescu
John Lithgow The Columnist Joseph Alsop
2013
(67th)
Tracy Letts Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George [59]
Tom Hanks Lucky Guy Mike McAlary
Nathan Lane The Nance Chauncey Miles
David Hyde Pierce Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Vanya
Tom Sturridge Orphans Phillip
2014
(68th)
Bryan Cranston All the Way Lyndon B. Johnson [60]
Samuel Barnett Twelfth Night Viola
Chris O'Dowd Of Mice and Men Lennie Small
Mark Rylance Richard III Richard III
Tony Shalhoub Act One Moss Hart / Barnett Hart / George S. Kaufman
2015
(69th)
Alex Sharp The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Christopher Boone [61]
Steven Boyer Hand to God Jason / Tyrone
Bradley Cooper The Elephant Man John Merrick
Ben Miles Wolf Hall Parts One & Two Thomas Cromwell
Bill Nighy Skylight Tom Sergeant
2016
(70th)
Frank Langella The Father Andre [62]
Gabriel Byrne Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr.
Jeff Daniels Blackbird Ray Brooks
Tim Pigott-Smith King Charles III King Charles III
Mark Strong A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone
2017
(71st)
Kevin Kline Present Laughter Garry Essendine [63]
Denis Arndt Heisenberg Alex Priest
Chris Cooper A Doll's House, Part 2 Torvald Helmer
Corey Hawkins Six Degrees of Separation Paul
Jefferson Mays Oslo Terje Rød-Larsen
2018
(72nd)
Andrew Garfield Angels in America Prior Walter, et al. [64]
Tom Hollander Travesties Henry Carr
Jamie Parker Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Harry Potter
Mark Rylance Farinelli and the King Philip V of Spain
Denzel Washington The Iceman Cometh Theodore "Hickey" Hickman
2019
(73rd)
Bryan Cranston Network Howard Beale [65]
Paddy Considine The Ferryman Quinn Carney
Jeff Daniels To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch
Adam Driver Burn This Pale
Jeremy Pope Choir Boy Pharus Jonathan Young

2020s

Year Actor Role(s) Project Ref.
2020
(74th)
Andrew Burnap The Inheritance Toby Darling [66]
Ian Barford Linda Vista Wheeler
Jake Gyllenhaal Sea Wall/A Life Abe
Tom Hiddleston Betrayal Robert
Tom Sturridge Sea Wall/A Life Alex
Blair Underwood A Soldier's Play Captain Richard Davenport
2022
(75th)
Simon Russell Beale The Lehman Trilogy Henry Lehman [67]
Adam Godley The Lehman Trilogy Mayer Lehman
Adrian Lester Emanuel Lehman
David Morse How I Learned to Drive Uncle Peck
Sam Rockwell American Buffalo Teach
Ruben Santiago-Hudson Lackawanna Blues Various Characters
David Threlfall Hangmen Harry Wade
2023
(76th)
Sean Hayes Good Night, Oscar Oscar Levant [68]
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Topdog/Underdog Booth
Corey Hawkins Lincoln
Stephen McKinley Henderson Between Riverside and Crazy Pops
Wendell Pierce Death of a Salesman Willy Loman

Multiple wins