VOTE The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

Ranker Film
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56.4k votes 7.2k voters 37.9k 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
3,523 671
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
2,954 666
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Philadelphia Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
773 330
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

4
1,527 2,636
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

5
1,152 2,048
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
928 1,028
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
1,144 1,684
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
624 449
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
654 660
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
498 472
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
616 422
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
555 360
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
392 305
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
375 220
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
546 317
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
445 346
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Paul Stewart0 added Abraham Lincoln Lincoln

Daniel Day Lewis as

17
401 261
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Whiplash J. K. Simmons - Best Supporting Actor (2014).

18
392 338
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
407 351
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
530 441
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
334 234
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

22
404 306
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
439 326
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
360 288
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
290 228
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
328 366
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
313 285
Melvin Udall is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
As Good as It Gets Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1997).

28
373 274
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

29
287 217
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
161 159
Howard Beale is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Network Peter Finch- Best Actor (1976)

31
176 174
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
My Left Foot

32
261 225
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
303 324
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

34
296 199
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
314 207
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
272 180
Nick Chevotarevich is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Nick Chevotarevich The Deer Hunter Christopher Walken - Best Supporting Actor (1978).

37
295 268
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio - Best Actor (2015).

38
237 174
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Amadeus F. Murray Abraham - Best Actor (1984).

39
153 90
Frank Serpico is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Serpico

40
187 183
Bela Lugosi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ed Wood Martin Landau - Best Supporting Actor (1994).

41
183 135
T. E. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
CarstenSchultz added Lawrence of Arabia, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia

42
224 135
Aaron Stampler is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Morgan Snyder added Primal Fear

Edward Norton

43
90 92
Gordon Gekko is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
salesgal added Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Wall Street Michael Douglas - Best Actor (1987).

44
151 98
Norman Stansfield is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Léon: The Professional

45
180 165
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
180 268
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
217 201
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
125 91
Sonny is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dog Day Afternoon

49
211 237
Rooster Cogburn is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
DonPhillips added True Grit, Rooster Cogburn John Wayne - Best Actor (1969).

50
138 176
David Helfgott is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Shine Geoffrey Rush - Best Actor (1996).