Every year, five men stand against each other to see which of them will be crowned Best Actor at Academy Awards. As is the case with most Oscar categories, it's a controversial one that doesn't always go how audiences hoped, but it's also gone to many great performances since the turn of the century.
From method acting icons to beloved Hollywood legends and actors who took an otherwise basic biopic and elevated it to greatness with the depth of their work, the last twenty-two Oscar ceremonies have given critics and general audiences alike an uneven mix of forgettable and flawless Best Actor victors.
With that in mind, in celebration of over two decades of cinema history, here are all 22 Best Actor Oscar winners since 2000 ranked from worst to best. Let's explore just how many times the Academy have dropped the ball, and how many times they've actually hit the nail on the head.
22. Rami Malek - Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Who should have won: Bradley Cooper - A Star Is Born.
Bohemian Rhapsody gets Freddie Mercury's story almost offensively wrong, and does so with the blandest execution imaginable. Inauthentic and unchallenging, the biopic's many flaws are emphasised by the central performance of Rami Malek.
Great as he may be in Mr. Robot, Malek's portrayal of Mercury is the very definition of treacly Oscar-bait, complete with a great wardrobe, sloppy vocal dubbing, and not nearly enough charisma to capture the essence of the man he's bringing to life.
Malek does a semi-decent job in the drama's quieter moments, but there's too few of them to make an impact. It's a typically exuberant performance with no subtly or nuance, big and crowd-pleasing and clearly only scooping Best Actor (beating a transcendently brilliant Bradley Cooper) because it's based on a beloved celebrity.