A leading actor, leading actress, or simply lead ( // ), plays the role of the protagonist of a film, television show or play. The word lead may also refer to the largest role in the piece, and leading actor may refer to a person who typically plays such parts or an actor with a respected body of work. Some actors are typecast as leads, but most play the lead in some performances and supporting or character roles in others.
Sometimes there is more than one significant leading role in a dramatic piece, and the actors are said to play co-leads; a large supporting role may be considered a secondary lead. Award nominations for acting often reflect such ambiguities. Thus, sometimes two actors in the same performance piece are nominated for Best Actor or Best Actress—categories traditionally reserved for leads. For example, in 1935 Clark Gable, Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone were each nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for Mutiny on the Bounty . There can even be controversy over whether a particular performance should be nominated in the Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Best Supporting Actress|Actress category; for instance The Godfather's Al Pacino boycotted the 45th Academy Awards ceremony as he was insulted at being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor award, noting that he had more screen time than his co-star and Best Actor winner Marlon Brando and thus he should have received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
A title role is often but not necessarily the lead. A lead role must also be differentiated from a starring role, which means that an actor is credited as a part of the main cast, but not that he necessarily plays the main character.
Paul Muni was an Austro-Hungarian-born American stage and film actor who grew up in Chicago. Muni was a five-time Academy Award nominee, with one win. He started his acting career in the Yiddish theater. During the 1930s, he was considered one of the most prestigious actors at the Warner Bros. studio, and was given the rare privilege of choosing which parts he wanted.
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Midtown Manhattan.
Mary Elizabeth "Sissy" Spacek is an American actress and singer. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and nominations for four British Academy Film Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Grammy Award. Spacek was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.
Jessica Phyllis Lange is an American actress. She is the 13th actress to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, having won two Academy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Tony Award, along with a Screen Actors Guild Award and five Golden Globe Awards. Additionally, she is the second actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress after winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the third actress and first performer since 1943 to receive two Oscar nominations in the same year, the fifth actress and ninth performer to win Oscars in both the lead and supporting acting categories, and tied for the sixth most Oscar-nominated actress. Lange holds the record for most nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. She is the only performer ever to win Primetime Emmy Awards in both the Outstanding Supporting Actress and Outstanding Lead Actress categories for the same miniseries. Lange has also garnered a Critics Choice Award and three Dorian Awards, making her the most honored actress by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association. In 1998, Entertainment Weekly listed Lange among the 25 Greatest Actresses of the 1990s. In 2014, she was scheduled to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but she has yet to claim it.
William McChord Hurt is an American actor. He studied at the Juilliard School and began acting on stage in the 1970s. Hurt made his film debut in 1980 as a troubled scientist in Ken Russell's science-fiction feature Altered States, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year. In 1981 he played a leading role, as a lawyer who succumbs to the temptations of Kathleen Turner, in the neo-noir Body Heat. He played another leading role, as Arkady Renko, in Gorky Park (1983).
The Golden Raspberry Awards is a parody award show honoring the worst of cinematic under-achievements. Co-founded by UCLA film graduates and film industry veterans John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy, the Razzie Awards' satirical annual ceremony has preceded its polar opposite, the coveted Academy Awards, for four decades. The term raspberry is used in its irreverent sense, as in "blowing a raspberry". The statuette itself is a golf ball-sized raspberry atop a mangled Super 8mm film reel spray-painted gold, with an estimated street value of $4.97. The Golden Raspberry Foundation have claimed that the award "encourages well-known filmmakers and top notch performers to own their bad."
Frances Louise McDormand is an American actress and producer. McDormand is the recipient of numerous accolades, including four Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTA Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Tony Award, one of the few performers to achieve the "Triple Crown of Acting." One of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation, she is known for her portrayals of quirky, headstrong female characters. Although primarily recognized for her roles in small-budget independent films, McDormand's worldwide box office gross exceeds $2.2 billion helped by her appearances in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012).
Kathleen Doyle Bates is an American actress and director. She has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards.
Alfre Woodard is an American actress, producer, and political activist. She has been named one of the most versatile and accomplished actors of her generation. She has been nominated for an Academy Award, two Grammy Awards and eighteen Emmy Awards ; additionally, she received a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. In 2020, The New York Times ranked Woodard seventeenth on its list of "The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century". She is also known for her work as a political activist and producer. Woodard is a founder of Artists for a New South Africa, an organization devoted to advancing democracy and equality in that country. She is a board member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
A supporting actor is an actor who performs a role in a play or film below that of the leading actor(s), and above that of a bit part. In recognition of important nature of this work, the theater and film industries give separate awards to the best supporting actors and actresses.
Best Actress in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film Award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.
The Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead is one of the annual Independent Spirit Awards.
Michel Côté is a Canadian actor. He is best known for his performances in the films Cruising Bar, Life After Love and C.R.A.Z.Y., the theatrical show Broue and the television series Omertà.
The Triple Crown of Acting is a term used in the American entertainment industry to describe actors who have won a competitive Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award in the acting categories, the highest accolades recognized in American film, television and theatre respectively. As of today, only 24 people have achieved the triple crown of acting. Helen Hayes's Emmy Award win on February 5, 1953, made her the first person to achieve the triple crown. Thomas Mitchell became the first man to achieve the triple crown with his Tony Award win later the same year on March 29, 1953. Hayes and Rita Moreno are the only triple crown winners in competitive acting categories who have also won a Grammy Award to complete the EGOT. Dame Maggie Smith has the most triple crown wins, with 7 awards.
The term TVB "fadan" (花旦) is used to describe the most popular and highest paid actresses at Hong Kong television station, TVB. This term was first coined in the 1970s with the first group of fadans, Louise Lee, Liza Wang, Gigi Wong, and Angie Chiu