oscars The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

Ranker Film
Originally by
45.8k votes 5.4k voters 30.9k views 83 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! 

1
2,570 566
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Forrest Gump Forrest Gump Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1994).

2
2,125 533
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Andrew Beckett Philadelphia Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
1,237 1,867
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Joker The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

4
948 1,464
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

5
934 1,153
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Vito Corleone The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

6
671 278
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

7
772 909
Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Randle McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

8
552 609
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

9
512 389
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

10
487 361
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

11
418 418
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

12
470 304
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

14 Celebrities Who Are Heirs

13
324 251
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Mahatma Gandhi Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley-Best Actor (1982)

14
433 267
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

15
334 215
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Terence Fletcher Whiplash J. K. Simmons - Best Supporting Actor (2014).

16
331 291
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne - Best Actor (2014).

17
329 288
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
King George VI The King's Speech Colin Firth - Best Actor (2010).

The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances

18
349 287
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

19
311 177
General George S. Patton, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
General George S. Patton, Jr. Patton George C. Scott - Best Actor (1970).

20
370 270
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

21
423 386
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

22
269 199
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Truman Capote Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

Weird Things Academy Award Winning Actors Have Done With Their Oscar Statues

23
326 264
Daniel Plainview is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2007).

24
271 249
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dr. Schultz Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

25
275 309
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

26
240 196
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

27
240 179
Idi Amin Dada is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Idi Amin Dada The Last King of Scotland Forest Whitaker - Best Actor (2006).

The Best Novelists of All Time

28
247 239
Melvin Udall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Melvin Udall As Good as It Gets Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1997).

29
238 280
Alonzo Harris is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Alonzo Harris Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

30
303 235
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

31
207 194
Wladyslaw Szpilman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Wladyslaw Szpilman The Pianist Adrien Brody - Best Actor (2002).

32
261 175
Samuel Gerard is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard The Fugitive Tommy Lee Jones - Best Supporting Actor (1993).

Fictional Characters Who Are Asexual

33
144 140
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Christy Brown My Left Foot

34
135 126
Howard Beale is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Howard Beale Network Peter Finch- Best Actor (1976)

35
249 167
Dickie Eklund is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dickie Eklund The Fighter Christian Bale - Best Supporting Actor (2010).

36
225 151
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
236 220
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Hugh Glass The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio - Best Actor (2015).

The Greatest And Completely True Keanu Reeves Stories Ever Told

38
151 155
Bela Lugosi is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Bela Lugosi Ed Wood Martin Landau - Best Supporting Actor (1994).

39
154 110
T. E. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
CarstenSchultz added T. E. Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia

40
186 105
Aaron Stampler is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Morgan Snyder added Aaron Stampler Primal Fear

Edward Norton

41
152 106
Captain Jack Sparrow is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
heesung237 added Captain Jack Sparrow 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

42
153 135
Homer Smith is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Homer Smith Lilies of the Field Sidney Poitier - Best Actor (1963).

The Best Cartoons of All Time

43
98 68
Frank Serpico is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Frank Serpico Serpico

44
189 142
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham - Best Actor (1984).

45
174 201
Rooster Cogburn is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
DonPhillips added Rooster Cogburn True Grit, Rooster Cogburn John Wayne - Best Actor (1969).

46
107 73
Norman Stansfield is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Norman Stansfield Léon: The Professional

47
64 60
Gordon Gekko is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
salesgal added Gordon Gekko Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Wall Street Michael Douglas - Best Actor (1987).

48
144 237
Jimmy Markum is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jimmy Markum Mystic River Sean Penn - Best Actor (2003).

49
117 146
David Helfgott is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
David Helfgott Shine Geoffrey Rush - Best Actor (1996).

50
170 176
Ron Woodroof is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ron Woodroof Dallas Buyers Club Matthew McConaughey - Best Actor (2013).