Award Shows The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

Ranker Film
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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

1
3,150 642
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Forrest Gump Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1994).

2
2,613 626
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Philadelphia Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
1,449 2,285
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

4
1,089 1,712
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

5
1,081 1,425
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

6
735 314
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

7
883 1,009
Randle Patrick McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

8
597 426
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

9
580 398
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

10
473 451
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

11
614 644
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

12
367 285
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley-Best Actor (1982)

13
528 342
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

14
351 201
General George S. Patton, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Patton George C. Scott - Best Actor (1970).

15
506 300
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Good Will Hunting Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

16
381 244
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Whiplash J. K. Simmons - Best Supporting Actor (2014).

17
398 318
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

18
367 319
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The King's Speech Colin Firth - Best Actor (2010).

19
376 332
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne - Best Actor (2014).

20
495 418
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

21
377 291
Daniel Plainview is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
There Will Be Blood Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2007).

22
312 220
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

23
415 306
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

24
338 266
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

25
276 215
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

26
310 346
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
353 257
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

28
290 267
Melvin Udall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
As Good as It Gets Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1997).

29
269 202
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
290 305
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

31
162 163
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
My Left Foot

32
242 218
Wladyslaw Szpilman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Pianist Adrien Brody - Best Actor (2002).

33
151 149
Howard Beale is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Network Peter Finch- Best Actor (1976)

34
284 187
Dickie Eklund is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Fighter Christian Bale - Best Supporting Actor (2010).

35
300 195
Samuel Gerard is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Fugitive Tommy Lee Jones - Best Supporting Actor (1993).

36
280 248
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio - Best Actor (2015).

37
255 172
Nick Chevotarevich is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Nick Chevotarevich The Deer Hunter Christopher Walken - Best Supporting Actor (1978).

38
177 172
Béla 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
211 132
Captain Jack Sparrow is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
heesung237 added Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

40
214 166
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Amadeus F. Murray Abraham - Best Actor (1984).

41
137 83
Frank Serpico is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Serpico

42
174 126
T. E. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
CarstenSchultz added Lawrence of Arabia, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia

43
213 126
Aaron Stampler is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Morgan Snyder added Primal Fear

Edward Norton

44
142 87
Norman Stansfield is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Léon: The Professional

45
171 153
Homer Smith is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Lilies of the Field Sidney Poitier - Best Actor (1963).

46
205 191
Ron Woodroof is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dallas Buyers Club Matthew McConaughey - Best Actor (2013).

47
165 258
Jimmy Markum is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Mystic River Sean Penn - Best Actor (2003).

48
199 226
Rooster Cogburn is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
DonPhillips added True Grit, Rooster Cogburn John Wayne - Best Actor (1969).

49
127 168
David Helfgott is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Shine Geoffrey Rush - Best Actor (1996).

50
79 79
Gordon Gekko is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
salesgal added Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Wall Street Michael Douglas - Best Actor (1987).