This year marked only the second time in Oscar history in which all four acting winners have hailed from outside the United States. The first was back in 1964 when the winners were three Brits -- Rex Harrison ("My Fair Lady"), Julie Andrews ("Mary Poppins") and Peter Ustinov ("Topkapi"), as well as Russian born Lila Kedrova ("Zorba the Greek").
But Oscar has had the welcome mat out from its very first ceremony in 1929 when Swiss-born Emil Jannings won best actor for his performances in "The Last Command" and "The Way of All Flesh. And three of the first four best actresses hailed from Canada: Mary Pickford ("Coquette"); Norma Shearer ("The Divorcee"); and Marie Dressler ("Min and Bill").
While Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") and Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton") are just two of the 36 English actors to win Academy Awards, Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") made Oscar history by giving the first French language performance to be so honored while Javier Bardem is the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar.
One of our most prolific forum posters, the aptly named Academy Awards Guru, has compiled a list of the nationalities of all 265 Oscar winners for acting. During the course of 80 ceremonies, they have won 306 Oscars (there has been one tie in each of best actor and best actress). Of these, 76 winners came from outside the USA to take home 85 Oscars. While 21 other countries have produced Oscar winners, it is not surprising that England leads with 36 of her citizens winning 42 Oscars.
Over the past 80 years, best actor has gone to a non-American 24 times and best actress 25 times while in the 72-year history of the supporting awards, non-Americans won supporting actor 19 times and supporting actress 17 times.
In the following list, the Oscar-winning actors are listed under the country with which they are most associated with their birthplace given when it differs. In addition, those actors who were born elsewhere but raised primarily in the USA are not included, such as Elizabeth Taylor born in England, Claudette Colbert in France, sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia DeHavilland in Japan, Anthony Quinn in Mexico, and Paul Muni in the Ukraine.
Russell Crowe (born in New Zealand; family emigrated when he was 4)
Peter Finch (born in England; family returned to Australia when he was 7)
Nicole Kidman (born in the U.S.; family returned to Australia when she was 4)
Haing S. Ngor
Julie Christie (born in India; family returned to England when she was 7)
Vivien Leigh (born in India; family returned to England when she was 6)
George Sanders (born in Russia; family returned to England when he was 11)
Simone Signoret (born in Germany; family emigrated when she was 3)
Anna Paquin (born in Canada; family emigrated when she was 4)
Benicio Del Toro
Maximilian Schell (born in Austria; family emigrated when he was 8)