oscars The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances  

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List Rules Vote for the greatest performances that won Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, or Best Supporting Actress

Over the years, there have been so many great actors and actresses who have won Oscars for portraying classic characters. Some of these best actor Oscar performances were for roles based on real people, while others were based on fictional characters.

Who are some of the best characters to win an Oscar? Randle Patrick McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest made our list. Jack Nicholson won a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of this not-so-crazy patient in 1975. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was based on the 1962 Ken Kesey book of the same name. Marlon Brando's iconic portrayal of Vito Corleone in the film The Godfather also made our list. Brando took home the Best Actor Oscar in 1972.

Several Best Actress performances also made this list. Julia Robert's portrayal of Erin Brockovich in the film of the same name, earned her an Oscar for Best Actress in 2000. Other Best Actress roles that are featured on this list include Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) from Black Swan and Clarice Starling (Jody Foster) from The Silence of the Lambs. Halle Berry was the first African American woman to win an Oscar for her performance as Leticia Musgrove in Monster's Ball.  

Which best actor Oscar-winning performance is your favorite? Vote up your favorite role, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section.
list ordered by

1
1,158 266
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Forrest Gump Forrest Gump - Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1994).

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2
924 263
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Andrew Beckett Philadelphia - Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
310 167
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird - Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

4
303 183
Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Scarlett O'Hara Gone with the Wind - Vivien Leigh - Best Actress (1939).

5
346 162
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Annie Wilkes Misery - Kathy Bates - Best Actress (1990).

6
702 597
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Joker The Dark Knight - Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

7
506 399
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs - Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

8
434 281
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Vito Corleone The Godfather - Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

9
348 238
Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Randle McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

10
234 178
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas - Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

11
243 176
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men - Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

12
255 171
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man - Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

13
189 110
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Mary Poppins Mary Poppins - Julie Andrews -- Best Actress (1964)

14
140 84
Ranker Video
Tom Islava added Gen. George S. Patton Patton - George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

15
150 108
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Mahatma Gandhi Gandhi - Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

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16
221 112
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Nurse Ratched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Louise Fletcher - Best Supporting Actress ( 1975)

17
207 149
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects - Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

18
227 142
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Aileen Wuornos Monster - Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

19
172 85
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Mammy Gone with the Wind - Hattie McDaniel-Best Supporting Actress (1939)

20
236 161
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds - Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

21
257 159
Clarice Starling is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Clarice Starling The Silence of the Lambs - Jodie Foster - Best Actress (1991).

22
202 113
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting - Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

23
170 148
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty - Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

24
210 146
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull - Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

25
193 173
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator - Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

26
181 86
Zofia
Tom Islava added Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice - Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

27
186 129
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Ray Charles Ray - Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

28
150 114
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything - Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor (2014)

29
146 113
Judah Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur - Charlton Heston -- Best Actor (1959)

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30
137 56
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Queen Elizabeth II The Queen - Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

31
128 112
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Hugh Glass The Revenant - Leonardo DiCaprio-Best Actor (2015)

32
205 150
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln - Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

33
170 138
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Dr. Schultz Django Unchained - Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

34
124 79
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Antonio Salieri Amadeus - F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

35
148 122
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Pvt. Trip Glory - Denzel Washington - Best Supporting Actor (1989).

36
118 74
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Jim Malone The Untouchables - Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

37
126 102
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added King George VI The King's Speech - Colin Firth-Best Actor (2010)

38
109 84
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection - Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

39
178 134
Nina Sayers is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Nina Sayers Black Swan - Natalie Portman - Best Actress (2010).

40
183 121
Marge Gunderson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Marge Gunderson Fargo - Frances McDormand - Best Actress (1996).

41
74 38
Blanche DuBois is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Blanche DuBois A Streetcar Named Desire, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Streetcar Named Desire - Vivien Leigh-Best Actress (1951)

42
124 91
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Minny Jackson The Help - Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress (2011).

43
111 73
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Helen Keller The Miracle Worker, The Miracle Worker, The Miracle Worker - Patty Duke - Best Supporting Actress (1962).

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44
120 139
Alonzo Harris is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Alonzo Harris Training Day - Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

45
88 64
Anita is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Anita West Side Story - Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress (1961)

46
85 59
Will Kane is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Will Kane High Noon - Gary Cooper-Best Actor (1952)

47
56 28
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash

48
122 90
Katherine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Katherine Hepburn The Aviator - Cate Blanchett - Best Supporting Actress (2004).

49
143 95
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Truman Capote Capote - Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

50
125 111
Maggie Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maggie Fitzgerald Million Dollar Baby - Hilary Swank - Best Actress (2004).