For some actors, the road to winning an elusive Academy Award can take years — or even decades. Even then, there’s no promise that they’ll ever reach that summit. Every year, there’s multiple talented actors at the top of their game, all of whom are worthy of the title. It’s a mixture of a good campaign, timing, and luck. Ultimately, it’s in the hands of the Academy.

But then there are other actors who, upon scoring their first major role in a major motion picture, end up winning their first Oscar the same year. It’s a huge feat for an actor, and one that has the ability to change the course of their career. Going from a relatively unknown performer to an Academy Award-winner in less than a year is certainly rare — but it does happen. The first time it happened was in the 1940s, and the event continues to occur every now and then.

Interestingly enough a majority of times where this happens involve actresses rather than actors In fact, there have only been two instances in history of a male actor winning an Academy Award for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor. Below, you’ll learn more about the actors and actresses who took home an Oscar for their first ever film performance — you’ll likely recognize quite a few of them, as they’ve gone on to become A-list stars in Hollywood.

Here are 10 actors who won Academy Awards for their breakthrough roles in movies, all the way from the 1940s to the 2010s.

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