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
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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).

The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever The Best Cruise Ships for Families

2
+ - 771 242
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
+ - 491 306
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs - Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

4
+ - 296 141
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird - Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

5
+ - 416 209
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Vito Corleone The Godfather - Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

6
+ - 678 514
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
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Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Randle McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

8
+ - 332 155
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Annie Wilkes Misery - Kathy Bates - Best Actress (1990).

9
+ - 286 178
Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Scarlett O'Hara Gone with the Wind - Vivien Leigh - Best Actress (1939).

10
+ - 245 152
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man - Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

11
+ - 221 174
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas - Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

12
+ - 231 172
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men - Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

13
+ - 182 104
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Mary Poppins Mary Poppins - Julie Andrews -- Best Actress (1964)

14
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Ranker Video v
Gen. George S. Patton Patton - George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

15
+ - 143 103
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Mahatma Gandhi Gandhi - Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

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16
+ - 207 107
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Nurse Ratched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Louise Fletcher - Best Supporting Actress ( 1975)

17
+ - 217 136
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Aileen Wuornos Monster - Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

18
+ - 159 79
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Mammy Gone with the Wind - Hattie McDaniel-Best Supporting Actress (1939)

19
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Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects - Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

20
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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
+ - 247 154
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
+ - 198 143
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull - Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

23
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Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting - Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

24
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Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator - Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

25
+ - 162 141
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty - Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

26
+ - 183 123
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Ray Charles Ray - Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

27
+ - 174 81
Zofia
Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice - Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

28
+ - 132 51
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Queen Elizabeth II The Queen - Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

29
+ - 124 103
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hugh Glass The Revenant - Leonardo DiCaprio-Best Actor (2015)

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30
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Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything - Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor (2014)

31
+ - 113 67
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jim Malone The Untouchables - Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

32
+ - 138 110
Judah Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur - Charlton Heston -- Best Actor (1959)

33
+ - 165 132
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
+ - 194 146
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln - Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

35
+ - 115 76
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Antonio Salieri Amadeus - F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

36
+ - 136 115
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Pvt. Trip Glory - Denzel Washington - Best Supporting Actor (1989).

37
+ - 170 129
Nina Sayers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Nina Sayers Black Swan - Natalie Portman - Best Actress (2010).

38
+ - 177 118
Marge Gunderson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Marge Gunderson Fargo - Frances McDormand - Best Actress (1996).

39
+ - 119 99
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
King George VI The King's Speech - Colin Firth-Best Actor (2010)

40
+ - 67 36
Blanche DuBois is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Blanche DuBois A Streetcar Named Desire, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Streetcar Named Desire - Vivien Leigh-Best Actress (1951)

41
+ - 118 86
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Minny Jackson The Help - Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress (2011).

42
+ - 99 83
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection - Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

43
+ - 84 58
Anita is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anita West Side Story - Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress (1961)

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44
+ - 105 70
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 44 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).

45
+ - 80 56
Will Kane is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Will Kane High Noon - Gary Cooper-Best Actor (1952)

46
+ - 113 134
Alonzo Harris is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Alonzo Harris Training Day - Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

47
+ - 118 87
Katherine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Katherine Hepburn The Aviator - Cate Blanchett - Best Supporting Actress (2004).

48
+ - 119 106
Maggie Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maggie Fitzgerald Million Dollar Baby - Hilary Swank - Best Actress (2004).

49
+ - 136 92
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
+ - 50 25
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash