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Oscars 2016: Best Actor winners over the last 20 years

Oscars 2016 is a few days away and actors like Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon are competing against each other in the Best Actor category this year, while we wait for the awards to be announced on February 28, here's a look at the men who won the coveted Oscars for acting in a lead role in the last 20 years.

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Oscars 2016 is a few days away and actors like Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon are competing against each other in the Best Actor category this year, while we wait for the awards to be announced on February 28, here's a look at the men who won the coveted Oscars for acting in a lead role in the last 20 years.

Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne (2015): There is only one word to describe Eddie's acting talent - 'BRILLIANT' in block letters. The effortless ease with which he transformed himself into Stephen Hawking in 'The Theory of Everything' won him the coveted Oscar and also praise from the famous physicist himself who said, ' I'm very proud of you.' This year he is in the running yet again for his delightful performance in Danish Girl.

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey (2014): This award was long due but not many saw it coming. While the usual rooted for Leonardo Di Caprio's stellar performance in 'The Wolf Of Wall Street', Matthew (who had a small role in Leo's film) walked away with top honours for his outstanding portrayal of a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS in 'Dallas Buyers Club'.

Daniel Day Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis (2013): Now what do we say about this actor who has won three Oscars making him the only lead actor to have achieved this unique distinction. Daniel Day- Lewis charmed one and all with his majestic performance as one of America's most respected Presidents Abraham Lincoln in the movie Lincoln winning him his third Oscar.

Jean Dujardin

Jean Dujardin (2012): Actions spoke louder than words for French Actor Jean Dujardin as he set forth to deliver one of the most compelling performances of 2011 in silent movie, The Artist. The silent drama left everyone speechless and won Jean an Oscar.

Colin Firth

Colin Firth (2011): A British biographical drama saw actor Colin Firth marvelously transforming himself to play King George VI, the king with a stammer. His frustrations emnating from his stammer, his resolve to overcome it and the struggle thereof were brilliantly showcased by Firth and ended up winning this senior actor his first ever Oscar.

Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges (2010): Call it the irony of life, Jeff Bridges at 22 was one of the youngest actors to be nominated for Oscars in 1972 for Best Supporting Actor in The Last Picture Show. He, however, won it finally at the age of 60 for Crazy Heart in 2010 making him the oldest actor to win an Academy Award. His performance as the down-and-out country singer who tries to review his zest for life stood out.

Sean penn

Sean Penn (2009): This year presented an extremely close fight between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke both of whom were nominated in the Best Actor category for Milk and The Wrestler respectively. Sean finally pipped Mickey to win the second Oscar of his life but not before acknowledging Rourke in his acceptance speech.

Daniel Day Lewis

Daniel Day Lewis (2008): Sir Daniel Day Lewis delivered the ultimate killer punch as the ruthless silver miner turned oilman in There Will Be Blood. Needless to say, the British actor walked away with his second Oscar.

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker (2007): Whitaker wowed audience and critics alike as the imposing Ugandan dictator General Idi Amin in 'The Last King of Scotland'. For his role, Whitaker gained 50 extra pounds and mastered Swahili language and the East African accent among other things. No wonder, his performance was praised by Ugandan nationals as well.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman (2006): Philip Seymour Hoffman won top honours for his near perfect portrayal of American novelist Truman Capote in Capote. It was sad that such a brilliant actor died of drug overdose in 2014 just when he had come into his own as a leading man in films.

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx (2005): Jamie is truly a versatile actor having excelled in different kinds of roles till date. In Ray, he played the legendary blind musician Ray Charles with near perfect precision that quite rightly won him the coveted Oscar.

Sean penn

Sean Penn (2004): The actor won his second Oscar for his role in Clint Eastwood directed Mystic River. Penn's performance in this mystery drama garnered him wide spread acclaim. Tim Robins won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the same movie.

Adrian Brody

Adrian Brody (2003): Adrian Brody came to the limelight for delivering the performance of his lifetime in historical drama, The Pianist. At 29, Brody also became the youngest actor win the Best Actor Oscar.

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington (2002): One of the finest actors of Hollywood, Denzel Washington had tough fight coming in from Russell Crowe who was the hot favourite to win for his role as Professor Nash in 'A Beautiful Mind'. However, Washington outscored one and all to win an Oscar for his role as the corrupt cop in crime thriller Training Day. Washington also holds the records for most Oscar nominations (six) and the most wins (two) by an actor of African descent.

Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe (2001): He had the world at his feet for delivering one of the finest ever warrior performances in the Ridley Scott directed epic Gladiator. Crowe pipped some formidable actors like Tom Hanks, Ed Harris, Javier Bardem and Geoffrey Rush to win the Oscar.

Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey (2000): He grooved with Bollywood beauties at IFFA but it's his acting exploits that we love the most. While youngster here identify him mostly as Lex Luthor from the Superman series, his true acting talents were displayed in as frustrated father grappling with his sexual needs after being infatuated by his young daughter's best friend in American Beauty that clinched him an Oscar.

Roberto Benigni

Roberto Benigni (1999): Director and actor par excellence Roberto Benigni charmed the world with his masterful performance both as an actor - a Jewish Italian - and also as the director of Life is Beautiful. The movie won two Oscars, the Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film. Wonder how he missed out on winning the Oscar for the Best Director.

Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson (1998): This man is a phenomenon. He is an actor who holds the record for the maximum number of Academy Award nominations - 12. He has won the Oscar thrice out of which two are Oscar for Best Actor Oscars- first in 1975 for his performance in the One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and second one in 1998 for As Good As It Gets. The latter also won the Oscar for the Best Actress.

Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush (1997): Oscars romance with biographical films continued with Geoffery Rush who played pianist David Helfgott in the movie Shine receiving the Academy Award for Best Actor. Rush also achieved the unique distinction of winning Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics’ Choice Movie Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in the film.