VOTE The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

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57.5k votes 7.5k voters 38.6k 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
3,690 693
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
3,109 680
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Philadelphia Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
1,555 2,656
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
787 340
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
1,177 2,056
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
952 1,031
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
1,166 1,685
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
638 454
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
667 664
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
509 476
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
631 428
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
566 366
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
398 311
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
380 226
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
555 326
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
411 267
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
454 369
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
415 361
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
539 452
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
343 239
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
399 393
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
416 315
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
453 328
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
370 293
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
296 231
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).