Best Movies 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.

1
2,198 363
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
1,904 346
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
435 217
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
481 212
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances

5
415 241
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
663 712
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
316 250
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

8
472 388
Randle Patrick McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Randle Patrick McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

9
928 991
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
341 198
Aileen Wuornos is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Aileen Wuornos Monster Charlize Theron - Best Actress (2003).

11
585 457
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Vito Corleone The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

12
307 277
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

13
218 159
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
334 245
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
327 153
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
270 199
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
244 113
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)

18
279 176
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

19
181 117
Ranker Video
Tom Islava added Gen. George S. Patton Patton George C. Scott- Best Actor (1970)

20
347 195
Clarice Starling is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Clarice Starling The Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster - Best Actress (1991).

21
317 204
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

22
256 119
Zofia
Tom Islava added Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep-Best Actress (1982)

23
250 199
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

24
284 147
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
205 155
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor (2014)

26
260 163
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

27
172 136
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)

28
161 104
Jim Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
IanHarvey added Jim Malone The Untouchables Sean Connery - Best Supporting Actor (1987)

29
203 150
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
228 168
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).

31
246 221
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

32
180 150
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
242 162
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

34
176 84
Queen Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Queen Elizabeth II The Queen Helen Mirren-Best Actress (2006)

35
210 196
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

36
125 62
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
242 172
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
237 145
Marge Gunderson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Marge Gunderson Fargo Frances McDormand - Best Actress (1996).

39
178 143
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
181 120
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
163 111
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Tom Islava added Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham-Best Actor (1984)

42
168 169
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).

43
134 114
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
189 153
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
99 51
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Terence Fletcher Whiplash

46
166 110
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
146 97
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
166 138
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
118 90
Anita is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
RobLein added Anita West Side Story Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress (1961)

50
185 118
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances
Truman Capote Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).