• Entertainment

The Very Best Actress Performances, Ranked

List RulesVote up the greatest performances that were awarded the Academy Award for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress

This list contains information about the best actress performances, ranked by your votes. Over the years there has been so many great performances that won best actress awards for the women who portrayed classic characters. Some of these best actress Oscar performances were for roles based on real people while others were based on fictional characters.

What are some of the best actress performances? Annie Wilkes from Misery made our list. Kathy Bates won a Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of this number one fan. Misery was based on the 1987 Stephen King book of the same name. Vivien Leigh's iconic portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in the film Gone with the Wind also made our list. Leigh took home the Best Actress Oscar in 1939.

Several Best Supporting Actress performances also made this list. Octavia Spencer's performance of Minny Jackson in the film The Help, based on Kathryn Stockett's novel of the same name, earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2011. Other supporting actress roles that are featured on this list include Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator (Cate Blanchett) and Minnie Castevet (Ruth Gordon).

Which best actress performance is your favorite? Be sure to vote on this list to make sure the right role ends up in the top spot, and also share your thoughts in the comments section.
Photo:
  • 1
    757
    330
    Gone with the Wind
    Vivien Leigh - Best Actress (1939).
  • 2
    723
    338
    Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).
  • 3
    770
    364
    The Silence of the Lambs
    Jodie Foster - Best Actress (1991).
  • 4
    729
    342
    Kathy Bates - Best Actress (1990).
  • 5
    648
    298

    Sophie Zawistowska

    Sophie's Choice
    Meryl Streep - Best Actress (1982).
  • 6
    468
    252
    Mary Poppins
    Julie Andrews-Best Actress (1964)
  • 7
    491
    223
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • 8
    602
    277
    Frances McDormand - Best Actress (1996).
  • 9
    396
    230
    Helen Mirren - Best Actress (2006).
  • 10
    573
    339
    Black Swan
    Natalie Portman - Best Actress (2010).
  • 11
    336
    185
    Gone with the Wind

    Hattie McDaniel-Best Supporting Actress (1939)

  • 12
    409
    258
    Cate Blanchett - Best Supporting Actress (2004).
  • 13
    291
    174
    Alien, Aliens
  • 14
    337
    210
    La Vie En Rose
    Marion Cotillard - Best Actress (2007).
  • 15
    400
    248
    Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress (2011).
  • 16
    361
    145
    A Streetcar Named Desire, A Streetcar Named Desire
    Vivien Leigh-Best Actress (1951)
  • 17
    279
    188
    The Miracle Worker
    Patty Duke - Best Supporting Actress (1962).
  • 18
    210
    102

    Mildred Hayes

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Frances McDormand - Best Actress (2017)

  • 19
    242
    155
    The Color Purple
  • 20
    257
    165

    Norma Rae

    Norma Rae
    Sally Field - Best Actress (1979).
  • 21
    255
    154
    The Graduate
  • 22
    263
    187
    Coal Miner's Daughter
  • 23
    336
    209
    Boys Don't Cry
    Hilary Swank - Best Actress (1999).
  • 24
    257
    137
    Baby Jane?, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • 25
    135
    71

    Queen Anne

    The Favourite

    Olivia Colman - Best Actress (2018)