A new study by HotDog.com recently took a look at which U.S. states and territories have born the most award-winning actors. With the commencement of the fall television season every September, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognizes achievement in television production at the annual Emmy Awards—airing this year on September 12. The Emmys and their film-oriented counterpart, the Oscars, today have more content than ever to assess when identifying excellence in the field. The Emmys and Oscars tend to focus on productions from the U.S., and as such, performers from the U.S. have won a significant majority of acting awards over time. Researchers ranked states and territories according to the total number of eligible* Oscar and Primetime Emmy Awards won by actors and actresses born in each location.

In total, California-born actors and actresses have garnered a total of 96 acting awards—40 Oscars, and 56 Primetime Emmys—all time. Among actors and actresses from all U.S. states and territories, those born in California have won the 2nd most awards.

*In the analysis, eligible Oscars and Primetime Emmy Awards include the following:

  • Oscars
    • Best Actor
    • Best Actress
    • Best Supporting Actor
    • Best Supporting Actress
  • Primetime Emmys
    • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
    • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
    • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

All aforementioned Oscars and Primetime Emmy awards since the first year that supporting actors and actresses were awarded were included in the analysis (since the 9th Academy Awards in 1936 and the 6th Emmy Awards in 1954). Note that the format of some Primetime Emmy Award ceremonies and the names of the awards have changed over the years. All comparable awards were included.


California-Born Actors and Actresses Have Won the 2nd Most Awards of All Time

With the commencement of the fall television season every September, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognizes achievement in television production at the annual Emmy Awards. The 2022 Emmys will be awarded on September 12. This year, series like SuccessionThe White Lotus, and Ted Lasso are among the primetime drama and comedy series with the most award nominations and poised for big nights at the Emmy ceremony.

The Emmys and their film-oriented awards counterpart, the Oscars, today have more content than ever to assess when identifying excellence in the field. With major investments over the last decade from streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Apple, in addition to more traditional production and distribution companies, TV and film creators have abundant opportunities to showcase their talent. These creators include the actors and actresses who power TV and film productions.

The Emmys and Oscars tend to focus on productions from the U.S., and as such, performers from the U.S. have won a significant majority of acting awards over time. More than four in five Oscar and Primetime Emmy acting awards (81.7%) have been won by actors and actresses from the U.S., compared to around one in five (18.3%) for international performers. In recent years, however, international actors and actresses have increased their share of awards: 59 of the 154 Emmys and Oscars awarded to international performers have been earned since 2000.

Domestically, New York and California are the leading states for the entertainment industry in the U.S., so it is unsurprising that the two states together account for more than one-third of Oscar and Emmy acting awards. New York’s dominance in television is especially notable: the state’s actors and actresses have earned a total of 137 Emmys, more than double the 56 earned by second place California. New York and California also far surpass other states when it comes to Oscars, with 50 and 40, respectively. The state with the next highest number of Oscars, Illinois, has just 16 awards in comparison.

Beyond New York and California, most of the locations that have produced acting awards at the Emmys and Oscars are high-population states where actors and actresses have ample opportunity to hone their craft. Illinois, which has strong theater and comedy scenes in Chicago, has produced a total of 44 Emmy and Oscar winners for acting. And performers in neighboring states take advantage of these opportunities too: New Jersey has produced 36 winners, likely due in part to its proximity to New York, while Illinois neighbors Wisconsin and Missouri have together accounted for another 53 winners. But a total of 10 states—mostly smaller or more remote locations—have produced no winners.

To identify the states that have born the best actors and actresses, researchers at HotDog.com ranked U.S. states and territories according to the total number of eligible Oscar and Primetime Emmy Awards won by actors and actresses born in each location. The data was sourced from the Official Academy Awards Database and the Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners database.

Here is a summary of the data for California:

  • Total awards: 96
  • Total Oscars: 40
  • Total Primetime Emmys: 56
  • Winningest actor/actress: Helen Hunt (1 Oscar & 4 Emmys) & Candice Bergen (5 Emmys)
  • Year of most recent award: 2021 (Jessica Chastain, Best Actress)

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on HotDog.com’s website: https://hotdog.com/blog/states-best-actors/

Photo by Engin Akyurt: Oscar