VOTE The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

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57.8k votes 7.5k voters 38.7k views 70 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

1
3,702 697
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
3,114 683
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Philadelphia Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
1,565 2,662
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
792 344
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

5
1,189 2,058
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

6
961 1,032
Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

7
1,176 1,686
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

8
646 456
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
677 666
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

10
515 477
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
640 430
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

12
571 366
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

13
402 313
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley-Best Actor (1982)

14
384 227
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
560 327
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
415 267
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
459 369
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Paul Stewart0 added Abraham Lincoln Lincoln

Daniel Day Lewis as

18
419 364
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne - Best Actor (2014).

19
544 454
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

20
348 239
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

21
403 398
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The King's Speech Colin Firth - Best Actor (2010).

22
420 317
Daniel Plainview is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
There Will Be Blood Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2007).

23
456 329
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
374 294
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
301 231
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).