Best Performances by Year - Best Actor

My picks for what I believe is the best performance by a lead actor for each year. Some years will be skipped over due to me not seeing enough movies or worthwhile performances from that year, but they will be added in as I see more.

MULTIPLE APPEARANCES:
3: Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman
2: Montgomery Clift, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Joaquin Phoenix

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  • Sound of Metal
  • Joker
  • First Man
  • Call Me by Your Name
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Love & Mercy
  • Nightcrawler
  • Fruitvale Station
  • The Master
  • Take Shelter
  • The Social Network
  • A Single Man
  • Milk
  • There Will Be Blood
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Collateral
  • Lost in Translation
  • Punch-Drunk Love
  • Training Day
  • American Psycho
  • The Sixth Sense
  • Gods and Monsters
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Fargo
  • Before Sunrise
  • Forrest Gump
  • Philadelphia
  • A Few Good Men
  • The Doors
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Rain Man
  • Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Stand by Me
  • Back to the Future
  • Amadeus
  • Tootsie
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The Elephant Man
  • Kramer vs. Kramer
  • Superman
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Taxi Driver
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • The Godfather: Part II
  • The Exorcist
  • The Godfather
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Five Easy Pieces
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • For a Few Dollars More
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • Hud
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Psycho
  • The 400 Blows
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • The Searchers
  • Marty
  • On the Waterfront
  • From Here to Eternity
  • A Place in the Sun
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Casablanca
  • It Happened One Night