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
1,213 295
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).

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2
954 285
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
349 179
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
776 618
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Joker The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

5
386 173
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Annie Wilkes Misery Kathy Bates - Best Actress (1990).

6
554 416
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
333 201
Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Scarlett O'Hara Gone with the Wind Vivien Leigh - Best Actress (1939).

8
489 289
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
390 245
Randle Patrick McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Randle Patrick McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

10
262 193
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
269 194
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
280 183
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
221 123
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
264 151
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Aileen Wuornos Monster Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

15
171 121
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Mahatma Gandhi Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

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16
154 94
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Tom Islava added Gen. George S. Patton Patton George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

17
250 124
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 17 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)

18
270 174
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

19
224 163
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
194 94
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
284 171
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
237 153
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
233 126
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
191 162
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

25
215 191
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).

27
208 95
Zofia
Tom Islava added Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

28
211 140
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

29
167 129
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
193 149
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Dr. Schultz Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

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31
141 88
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

32
145 128
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Hugh Glass The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio-Best Actor (2015)

33
166 129
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
143 110
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
156 122
Judah Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur Charlton Heston -- Best Actor (1959)

36
134 83
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Jim Malone The Untouchables Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

37
205 144
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 63
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Queen Elizabeth II The Queen Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

39
93 44
Blanche DuBois is listed (or ranked) 39 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)

40
119 91
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

41
202 130
Marge Gunderson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Marge Gunderson Fargo Frances McDormand - Best Actress (1996).

42
139 144
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Alonzo Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

43
140 100
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Minny Jackson The Help Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress (2011).

44
70 34
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash

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45
94 65
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
136 94
Katherine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Katherine Hepburn The Aviator Cate Blanchett - Best Supporting Actress (2004).

47
118 82
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Helen Keller The Miracle Worker Patty Duke - Best Supporting Actress (1962).

48
161 102
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Truman Capote Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

49
138 118
Maggie Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maggie Fitzgerald Million Dollar Baby Hilary Swank - Best Actress (2004).

50
95 74
Anita is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Anita West Side Story Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress (1961)