oscars The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

Ranker Film
Originally by
39.3k votes 4.5k voters 27k views 82 items Embed

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
2,184 470
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
1,810 433
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
1,040 1,598
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
794 1,270
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
498 230
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

6
762 1,028
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Vito Corleone The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

7
663 849
Randle Patrick McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Randle Patrick McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

8
427 342
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

9
351 374
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

10
467 556
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

11
390 271
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

12
284 215
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Mahatma Gandhi Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley-Best Actor (1982)

The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever

13
405 323
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

14
286 175
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Terence Fletcher Whiplash J. K. Simmons - Best Supporting Actor (2014).

15
290 241
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
King George VI The King's Speech Colin Firth - Best Actor (2010).

16
275 240
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
263 152
General George S. Patton, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
General George S. Patton, Jr. Patton George C. Scott - Best Actor (1970).

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

18
353 241
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

19
308 242
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

20
281 269
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

21
269 244
Daniel Plainview is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2007).

22
225 174
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).

Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked

23
354 354
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

24
210 166
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

25
218 224
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dr. Schultz Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

26
234 272
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

27
207 156
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).

95+ Amazing Behind the Scenes Photos from Iconic Movies

28
195 251
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Alonzo Harris Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

29
252 210
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

30
114 114
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Christy Brown My Left Foot

31
201 212
Melvin Udall is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Melvin Udall As Good as It Gets Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1997).

32
170 177
Wladyslaw Szpilman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Wladyslaw Szpilman The Pianist Adrien Brody - Best Actor (2002).

The Very Best Actress Performances, Ranked

33
208 153
Samuel Gerard is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard The Fugitive Tommy Lee Jones - Best Supporting Actor (1993).

34
199 127
Nick Chevotarevich is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Nick Chevotarevich The Deer Hunter Christopher Walken - Best Supporting Actor (1978).

35
108 105
Howard Beale is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Howard Beale Network Peter Finch- Best Actor (1976)

36
214 149
Dickie Eklund is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dickie Eklund The Fighter Christian Bale - Best Supporting Actor (2010).

37
183 196
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).

39 Ways to Repel a Potential Girlfriend

38
133 131
Béla Lugosi is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Béla Lugosi Ed Wood Martin Landau - Best Supporting Actor (1994).

39
130 89
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
146 86
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
132 112
Homer Smith is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Homer Smith Lilies of the Field Sidney Poitier - Best Actor (1963).

42
166 122
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham - Best Actor (1984).

The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies

43
155 181
Rooster Cogburn is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
DonPhillips added Rooster Cogburn True Grit, Rooster Cogburn John Wayne - Best Actor (1969).

44
73 52
Frank Serpico is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Frank Serpico Serpico

45
105 125
David Helfgott is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
David Helfgott Shine Geoffrey Rush - Best Actor (1996).

46
78 52
Norman Stansfield is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Norman Stansfield Léon: The Professional

47
100 75
Captain Jack Sparrow is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
119 215
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
139 157
Ron Woodroof is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ron Woodroof Dallas Buyers Club Matthew McConaughey - Best Actor (2013).

50
121 223
Harvey Milk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Harvey Milk Milk Sean Penn - Best Actor (2008).