Oscars The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances  

Ranker Film
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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
3,005 394
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Forrest Gump
Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1994).

2
2,702 370
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Philadelphia
Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
479 233
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).

4
525 227
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Misery
Kathy Bates - Best Actress (1990).

5
445 258
Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Gone with the Wind
Vivien Leigh - Best Actress (1939).

6
725 725
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Silence of the Lambs
Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

7
1,020 1,015
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

8
515 398
Randle McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

9
354 265
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
No Country for Old Men
Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

10
376 208
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Monster
Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

11
632 467
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Godfather
Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

12
336 285
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Goodfellas
Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

13
240 170
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Dear Friend Hitler
Ben Kingsley - Best Actor (1982)

14
359 256
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Rain Man
Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

15
351 159
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Louise Fletcher - Best Supporting Actress ( 1975)

16
359 211
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Inglourious Basterds
Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

17
287 211
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Mary Poppins
Julie Andrews -- Best Actress (1964)

18
304 180
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Raging Bull
Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

19
383 205
Clarice Starling is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Silence of the Lambs
Jodie Foster - Best Actress (1991).

20
261 122
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Gone with the Wind
Hattie McDaniel-Best Supporting Actress (1939)

21
188 124
Ranker Video
Tom Islava added Patton
George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

22
284 126
Zofia
Tom Islava added Sophie's Choice
Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

23
271 207
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
The Usual Suspects
Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

24
309 155
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Good Will Hunting
Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

25
287 167
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln
Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).