best movies The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances  

Ranker Film
Originally by
34.8k votes 3.6k voters 38.4k views 122 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
1,706 324
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
1,433 310
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
432 194
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Annie Wilkes Misery Kathy Bates - Best Actress (1990).

4
385 200
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

5
370 219
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
305 163
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Aileen Wuornos Monster Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

7
532 411
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Vito Corleone The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

8
293 232
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

9
602 637
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

10
856 920
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Joker The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

11
285 258
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
423 358
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).

Celebrities With Heterochromia Iridis

13
302 138
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 13 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)

14
310 234
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

15
244 183
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Mary Poppins Mary Poppins Julie Andrews -- Best Actress (1964)

16
190 139
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Mahatma Gandhi Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

17
220 102
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Mammy Gone with the Wind Hattie McDaniel-Best Supporting Actress (1939)

The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked

18
167 107
Ranker Video
Tom Islava added Gen. George S. Patton Patton George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

19
257 165
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

20
295 192
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
315 183
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
237 181
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 Best Performances to Not Win an Oscar

23
231 105
Zofia
Tom Islava added Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

24
256 138
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

25
232 205
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

26
186 139
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Pvt. Trip Glory Denzel Washington - Best Supporting Actor (1989).

27
201 179
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

The Best Amusement Parks In America

28
232 155
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

29
206 160
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Dr. Schultz Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

30
224 151
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
161 138
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Hugh Glass The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio-Best Actor (2015)

32
186 142
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor (2014)

The Scariest Movies to Watch on Psychedelics

33
228 159
Nina Sayers is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Nina Sayers Black Swan Natalie Portman - Best Actress (2010).

34
160 124
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added King George VI The King's Speech Colin Firth-Best Actor (2010)

35
108 53
Blanche DuBois is listed (or ranked) 35 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)

36
153 100
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

37
166 133
Judah Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur Charlton Heston -- Best Actor (1959)

Famous People with Stupid Tattoos

38
144 92
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Jim Malone The Untouchables Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

39
221 137
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
163 111
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Minny Jackson The Help Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress (2011).

41
162 73
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Queen Elizabeth II The Queen Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

42
127 101
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 Greatest Animated Series Ever Made

43
153 157
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Alonzo Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

44
173 144
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
151 103
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
109 82
Anita is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Anita West Side Story Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress (1961)

47
84 45
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash

48
152 131
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
173 111
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
127 91
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).