It's ten days until Oscar and soon this post may be obsolete! To date, unless I've miscounted, ten actors have won the leading Oscar for reprising a role they won praise for first on the Broadway stage. Soon there could be 11 depending on how well Denzel Washington fares on Oscar night for Fences.
ACTORS WHO WON LEAD OSCARS REPRISING THEIR BROADWAY ROLES
• George Arliss for Disraeli (1929/30)
Arliss had played this role in the Broadway production in 1911
• Paul Lukas for Watch on the Rhine (1943)
He previously played this role from 1941 through early 1942 on Broadway -- the transfer to the screen was mighty quick!
• Jose Ferrer for Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
He won the Tony for this iconic role in 1947. Later in 1990 Gerard Depardieu would also be nominated for playing the same role -- and Steve Martin arguably should have been for Roxanne -- but Depardieu didn't win...
• Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday (1950)
She originated this classic not-so-dumb blonde role on stage in 1946 and then won the Oscar in one of the all time great Best Actress years, besting both Bette Davis (All About Eve) and Gloria Swanson (Sunset Blvd). From a distance to the young movie buff, this seems insane. Until you actually watch Born Yesterday and realize how genius she was in it. Then it makes a kind of sense.
• Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)
She won the Tony (her second consecutive Tony by the way) originating this role in 1950. Her film career didn't last long but long enough to win her the Oscar. Oscar refused to give another fiftysomething actress the Best Actress statue for over half a century after her with Julianne Moore finally breaking down their resistance to 50something women
• Yul Brynner for The King and I (1956) *
He won the Tony as the King of Siam in 1952 which was his fourth Broadway production. He had only had one minor film role before making this Broadway musical. Audiences went so wild about his work that Hollywood woke right up to his appeal and he had three major Oscar-nominated productions in his first year at the movies after his broadway run (The King and I, Anastasia, and The Ten Commandments which shared a cumulative 18 nominations and 7 wins and made a ton of money, too).
• Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker (1962)
Bancroft had tried the movies in the 1950s, but disatisifed she became a stage actress instead. After her second Tony win (for this) she returned to the movies triumphant. This time the roles offered weren't disposable.
• Rex Harrison for My Fair Lady (1964) *
Another star who took his second Tony winning role to the movies, and then won the Oscar for it. His first Tony was for Anne of a Thousand Days but Richard Burton got the role when it transferred to the movies. This time he maintained ownership and won the Oscar.
• Paul Scofield in A Man For All Seasons (1966)
He won the 1962 Tony for his first and only Broadway production.
• Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968)
It's always shocking to realize that Barbra Streisand did not win the 1964 Tony for the role that made her a superstar. She lost to Carol Channing's Hello Dolly! and then sought revenge by taking Carol's role to the movies for her victory lap in 1969.