Entertainment

The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

Ranker Film
Originally by
66.4k votes 9.7k voters 43.8k views 64 items

List Rules Vote up the greatest performances that WON the Academy Award, either for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor

Over the years, many great actors and actresses have been awarded the title of "Best Actor" for their portrayal of classic characters in film. Some of these Oscar-winning performances were based on real people, while other performances that won Oscars were based on fictional characters. 

Who are some of the best character portrayals that have earned actors Oscars? Forrest Gump from Forrest Gump made our list. Tom Hanks won a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of this multi-talented man. Forrest Gump was based on the 1986 Winston Groom book of the same name. Anthony Hopkins's iconic portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in the film The Silence of the Lambs also made our list. Hopkins took home the Best Actor Oscar in 1991.

Several Best Supporting Actor performances also made the cut. Gregory Peck's performance as Atticus Finch in the film To Kill A Mockingbird, based on the novel by Harper Lee, earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1962. Other supporting actor roles that are featured on this list include Tommy DeVito from Goodfellas, played by Joe Pesci, and Rod Tidwell from Jerry McGuire, played by Cuba Gooding Jr.

Which best actor performance is your favorite? Vote up your favorite Oscar-winning character below! 
list ordered by
back to page 1
26
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
American Beauty
Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).
27
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The French Connection
Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).
28
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ray
Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).
29
Idi Amin Dada is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Last King of Scotland
Forest Whitaker - Best Actor (2006).
30
Alonzo Harris is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Training Day
Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).
31
Howard Beale is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Network
Peter Finch- Best Actor (1976)
32
Dickie Eklund is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Fighter
Christian Bale - Best Supporting Actor (2010).
33
Samuel Gerard is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Fugitive
Tommy Lee Jones - Best Supporting Actor (1993).
34
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
My Left Foot
35
Nick Chevotarevich is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Nick Chevotarevich The Deer Hunter
Christopher Walken - Best Supporting Actor (1978).
36
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Amadeus
F. Murray Abraham - Best Actor (1984).
37
Wladyslaw Szpilman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Pianist
Adrien Brody - Best Actor (2002).
38
Bela Lugosi is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ed Wood
Martin Landau - Best Supporting Actor (1994).
39
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added The Revenant
Leonardo DiCaprio - Best Actor (2015).
40
T. E. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
CarstenSchultz added Lawrence of Arabia, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia
41
Gordon Gekko is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
salesgal added Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Wall Street
Michael Douglas - Best Actor (1987).
42
Homer Smith is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Lilies of the Field
Sidney Poitier - Best Actor (1963).
43
Rooster Cogburn is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
DonPhillips added True Grit, Rooster Cogburn
John Wayne - Best Actor (1969).
44
David Helfgott is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Shine
Geoffrey Rush - Best Actor (1996).
45
Harvey Milk is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Milk
Sean Penn - Best Actor (2008).
46
Jimmy Markum is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Mystic River
Sean Penn - Best Actor (2003).
47
Ron Woodroof is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey - Best Actor (2013).
48
Bad Blake is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Crazy Heart
Jeff Bridges - Best Actor (2009).
49
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Lana Bradstream added
50
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Glory
Denzel Washington - Best Supporting Actor (1989).