VOTE The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie  

Ranker Film
2.6k votes 532 voters 33.8k views 18 items

List Rules Actors and actresses who won an Oscar for their first performance in a film.

Has anyone won an Oscar for their first film role? Winning an Academy Award is a huge lifetime achievement. It's hard enough being cast in a movie, much less being cast in a film with the pedigree and brilliance to win an Oscar. Even then, you still have to be so fantastic in your debut that you blow all the other actors that year out of the water. No pressure.

But even with all the cards stacked against them there are many actors who won Oscars for debut films. Sometimes they are young and go on to have flourishing careers (Anna Paquin, who won when she was 11 years old), sometimes they are in their prime and still go on to have flourishing careers (Julie Andrews was 29 in Mary Poppins). Still other times they come into acting later in life (Haing S. Ngor was 44 when he made his debut) and knock it out of the park.

These are the actors who won Oscars for their first movie - those who delivered such incredible performances from the outset that they couldn't possibly be ignored. Vote up the best actors who won Academy Awards for their film debuts and see who comes out on top among these award-winning stars.
list ordered by

1
323 38
Julie Andrews is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Shrek 2 Best Actress for Mary Poppins, 1964

2
176 71
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, The Oscars, Non-Stop Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave, 2013 

3
158 84
Barbra Streisand is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Funny Girl, A Star Is Born, Yentl Best Actress for Funny Girl, 1968

4
140 78
Anna Paquin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Piano, Jane Eyre, True Blood Best Supporting Actress for The Piano, 1993

5
136 89
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
American Idol, Dreamgirls, Sex and the City Best Supporting Actress for Dreamgirls, 2006

6
97 62
Marlee Matlin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Children of a Lesser God, What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?, Reasonable Doubts Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God, 1986

7
73 49
Eva Marie Saint is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
North by Northwest, Superman Returns, On the Waterfront Best Supporting Actress for On the Waterfront, 1954

8
92 72
Timothy Hutton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Leverage, The Ghost Writer, Secret Window Best Supporting Actor for Ordinary People, 1980

9
71 53
Haing S. Ngor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Killing Fields, Heaven & Earth, My Life Best Supporting Actor for The Killing Fields, 1984

10
77 65
Tatum O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Wicked Wicked Games, Paper Moon, The Bad News Bears Best Supporting Actress for Paper Moon, 1973

11
37 54
Shirley Booth is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Year Without a Santa Claus, Hazel, Come Back Best Actress for Come Back, Little Sheba, 1952

12
35 60
Mercedes McCambridge is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Exorcist, Touch of Evil, Giant Best Supporting Actress for All the Kings Men, 1949

13
38 66
Harold Russell is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Best Years of Our Lives, Inside Moves, Dogtown Best Supporting Actor for The Best Years of out Lives, 1946

14
30 60
Jo Van Fleet is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Cool Hand Luke, The Tenant, East of Eden Best Supporting Actress for East of Eden, 1955

15
18 58
Gale Sondergaard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Life of Emile Zola, The Mark of Zorro, The Letter Best Supporting Actress for Anthony Adverse, 1936

16
17 59
Claude Jarman, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Yearling, Rio Grande, The Great Locomotive Chase Academy Juvenile Award for The Yearling, 1946

17
18 64
Katina Paxinou is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
Rocco and His Brothers, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Mr. Arkadin Best Supporting Actress for For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1943

18
15 63
Vincent Winter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie
The Three Lives of Thomasina, Gorgo, Almost Angels Academy Juvenile Award for The Little Kidnappers, 1954