best movies The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances  

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List Rules Vote for the greatest performances that won Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, or Best Supporting Actress

Over the years, there have been so many great actors and actresses who have won Oscars for portraying classic characters. Some of these best actor Oscar performances were for roles based on real people, while others were based on fictional characters.

Who are some of the best characters to win an Oscar? Randle Patrick McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest made our list. Jack Nicholson won a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of this not-so-crazy patient in 1975. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was based on the 1962 Ken Kesey book of the same name. Marlon Brando's iconic portrayal of Vito Corleone in the film The Godfather also made our list. Brando took home the Best Actor Oscar in 1972.

Several Best Actress performances also made this list. Julia Robert's portrayal of Erin Brockovich in the film of the same name, earned her an Oscar for Best Actress in 2000. Other Best Actress roles that are featured on this list include Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) from Black Swan and Clarice Starling (Jody Foster) from The Silence of the Lambs. Halle Berry was the first African American woman to win an Oscar for her performance as Leticia Musgrove in Monster's Ball.  

Which best actor Oscar-winning performance is your favorite? Vote up your favorite role, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section.
list ordered by

1
1,713 325
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Forrest Gump Forrest Gump Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1994).

2
1,437 312
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Andrew Beckett Philadelphia Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
387 201
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

4
435 195
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Annie Wilkes Misery Kathy Bates - Best Actress (1990).

5
372 221
Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Scarlett O'Hara Gone with the Wind Vivien Leigh - Best Actress (1939).

6
607 637
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

7
307 165
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Aileen Wuornos Monster Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

8
534 413
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Vito Corleone The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

9
863 921
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Joker The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

10
294 235
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

11
287 260
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

12
426 360
Randle Patrick McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Randle Patrick McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever

13
192 141
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Mahatma Gandhi Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

14
304 141
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Nurse Ratched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Louise Fletcher - Best Supporting Actress ( 1975)

15
311 236
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

16
247 185
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Mary Poppins Mary Poppins Julie Andrews -- Best Actress (1964)

17
262 166
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

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18
222 104
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Mammy Gone with the Wind Hattie McDaniel-Best Supporting Actress (1939)

19
168 109
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Tom Islava added Gen. George S. Patton Patton George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

20
295 195
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

21
315 186
Clarice Starling is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Clarice Starling The Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster - Best Actress (1991).

22
238 183
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies

23
232 107
Zofia
Tom Islava added Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

24
188 144
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor (2014)

25
259 140
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

26
163 125
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added King George VI The King's Speech Colin Firth-Best Actor (2010)

27
233 208
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles

28
145 94
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Jim Malone The Untouchables Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

29
187 141
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Pvt. Trip Glory Denzel Washington - Best Supporting Actor (1989).

30
235 156
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

31
164 74
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Queen Elizabeth II The Queen Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

32
202 182
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked

33
208 162
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Dr. Schultz Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

34
226 153
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

35
163 139
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Hugh Glass The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio-Best Actor (2015)

36
228 162
Nina Sayers is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Nina Sayers Black Swan Natalie Portman - Best Actress (2010).

37
109 55
Blanche DuBois is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Blanche DuBois A Streetcar Named Desire, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Streetcar Named Desire Vivien Leigh-Best Actress (1951)

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38
154 102
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

39
222 139
Marge Gunderson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Marge Gunderson Fargo Frances McDormand - Best Actress (1996).

40
166 136
Judah Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur Charlton Heston -- Best Actor (1959)

41
164 113
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Minny Jackson The Help Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress (2011).

42
128 103
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

The Best Books That Were Adapted Into Oscar-Winning Movies

43
153 159
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Alonzo Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

44
174 145
Daniel Plainview is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2007).

45
152 104
Katherine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Katherine Hepburn The Aviator Cate Blanchett - Best Supporting Actress (2004).

46
86 46
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash

47
110 83
Anita is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Anita West Side Story Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress (1961)

48
154 132
Maggie Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maggie Fitzgerald Million Dollar Baby Hilary Swank - Best Actress (2004).

49
174 112
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Truman Capote Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

50
128 92
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Helen Keller The Miracle Worker Patty Duke - Best Supporting Actress (1962).