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
1,947 338
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
1,667 323
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
406 204
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
453 203
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances

5
387 230
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
631 647
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
322 172
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
552 417
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
889 933
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
445 363
Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Randle McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

11
294 267
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
299 242
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever

13
203 147
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
323 238
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
311 143
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 15 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)

16
257 192
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
231 107
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 American Poets

18
172 110
Ranker Video
Tom Islava added Gen. George S. Patton Patton George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

19
265 169
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
302 199
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
326 190
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
244 186
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
243 111
Zofia
Tom Islava added Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

24
196 147
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
267 142
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
154 95
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Jim Malone The Untouchables Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

27
165 127
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added King George VI The King's Speech Colin Firth-Best Actor (2010)

16 Movie "In Jokes" You Probably Didn't Notice

28
247 157
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
240 211
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

30
192 144
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Pvt. Trip Glory Denzel Washington - Best Supporting Actor (1989).

31
172 140
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
168 76
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Queen Elizabeth II The Queen Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked

33
216 163
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
206 185
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

35
233 154
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

36
117 56
Blanche DuBois is listed (or ranked) 36 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)

37
159 104
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

Fun Jobs That Pay Well

38
233 165
Nina Sayers is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Nina Sayers Black Swan Natalie Portman - Best Actress (2010).

39
173 137
Judah Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur Charlton Heston -- Best Actor (1959)

40
228 140
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
171 115
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
162 161
Alonzo Harris is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Alonzo Harris Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

The Best Books That Were Adapted Into Oscar-Winning Movies

43
132 104
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

44
181 147
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
160 105
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
92 47
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash

47
114 84
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
135 94
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Helen Keller The Miracle Worker Patty Duke - Best Supporting Actress (1962).

49
179 114
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
156 135
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).