oscars The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances  

Ranker Film
Originally by
29.4k votes 2.8k voters 34.7k views 120 items Embed

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
1,189 284
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).

The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever The Best HBO Dramas of All Time

2
941 277
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
333 174
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
374 165
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
749 608
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Joker The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

6
321 194
Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Scarlett O'Hara Gone with the Wind Vivien Leigh - Best Actress (1939).

7
539 410
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

8
472 284
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
375 242
Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Randle McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

10
252 186
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

11
261 186
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

12
269 181
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

13
204 121
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Mary Poppins Mary Poppins Julie Andrews -- Best Actress (1964)

14
165 116
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Mahatma Gandhi Gandhi Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

15
150 92
Ranker Video
Tom Islava added Gen. George S. Patton Patton George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies 15 Amazing Roles Almost Played by Nicolas Cage

16
239 120
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 16 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)

17
262 167
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

18
247 148
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Aileen Wuornos Monster Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

19
222 158
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

20
187 92
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Mammy Gone with the Wind Hattie McDaniel-Best Supporting Actress (1939)

21
276 167
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
228 152
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

23
225 123
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

24
210 185
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

25
184 160
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

26
229 154
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

27
186 144
Dr. King Schultz is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Dr. King Schultz Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

28
200 94
Zofia
Tom Islava added Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

29
161 127
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).

Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked 39 Ways to Repel a Potential Girlfriend

30
203 138
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

31
141 108
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added King George VI The King's Speech Colin Firth-Best Actor (2010)

32
135 86
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

33
161 126
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor (2014)

34
148 62
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Queen Elizabeth II The Queen Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

35
130 82
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Jim Malone The Untouchables Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

36
139 125
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Hugh Glass The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio-Best Actor (2015)

37
200 143
Nina Sayers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Nina Sayers Black Swan Natalie Portman - Best Actress (2010).

38
152 122
Judah Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur Charlton Heston -- Best Actor (1959)

39
116 89
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

40
198 129
Marge Gunderson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Marge Gunderson Fargo Frances McDormand - Best Actress (1996).

41
84 43
Blanche DuBois is listed (or ranked) 41 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)

42
137 98
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Minny Jackson The Help Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress (2011).

43
134 143
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Alonzo Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

The Best Books That Were Adapted Into Oscar-Winning Movies The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

44
67 32
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash

45
92 64
Will Kane is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Will Kane High Noon Gary Cooper-Best Actor (1952)

46
117 80
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Helen Keller The Miracle Worker, The Miracle Worker, The Miracle Worker Patty Duke - Best Supporting Actress (1962).

47
158 100
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Truman Capote Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

48
129 93
Katherine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Katherine Hepburn The Aviator Cate Blanchett - Best Supporting Actress (2004).

49
92 73
Anita is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Anita West Side Story Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress (1961)

50
132 118
Maggie Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maggie Fitzgerald Million Dollar Baby Hilary Swank - Best Actress (2004).