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

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

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Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
5
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
6
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

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7
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
No Country for Old Men
Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

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Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
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Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
10
Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

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Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
12
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added
Mary Poppins
Julie Andrews -- Best Actress (1964)

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13
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Monster
Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).
14
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added
Dear Friend Hitler
Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

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Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Inglourious Basterds
Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

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#19 of 961 The Greatest Movie Villains of All Time #148 of 3,827 The Best Movie Characters of All Time

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Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
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Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Louise Fletcher - Best Supporting Actress ( 1975)

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

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Zofia "Sophie"... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added
Sophie's Choice
Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)
21
Clarice Starling is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Silence of the Lambs
Jodie Foster - Best Actress (1991).

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#66 of 286 The Best Female Characters in Literature #11 of 393 The Greatest Female Characters in Film History

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Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Good Will Hunting
Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

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23
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln
Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).
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Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added
The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor (2014)
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Maximus Decimus Meridius... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances