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9. Charles Laughton as King Henry VIII in "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933)
Taking advantage of America’s fascination with the clan, playing English royalty has been a swift Oscar ticket for several classy thesps in the past – Colin Firth most recent among them. But it was Laughton who set the trend nearly 80 years ago, and to be honest, none of the subsequent screen monarchs to take the gold have quite measured up. Admittedly, the decapitation-happy serial divorcee is surely the juiciest of English royals an actor could hope to play, but amid the lascivious wit, Laughton locates the restless romantic beneath the gorgon.