Oscars Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked  

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List Rules List includes all actors and actresses who won an Oscar for a leading role after 1965.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issues the be-all and end-all of acting awards in the United States: the coveted Oscar. Only one man and one woman get to win the Academy Awards for leading roles every year, but which of the performances turned in by the talented and highly-praised actors below are truly the best of the best? This list ranks the best Oscar-winning performances by actors and actresses in leading roles over the last 50 years - since 1966.

These performances were (according to the Academy) the absolute best that each year had to offer. But which of those is the absolute best? Is it the iconic portrayal of Vito Corleone turned in by Marlon Brando in The Godfather? Maybe it's Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice? Or is it a more recent recipient? Maybe Julianne Moore in Still Alice or Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything? Use your votes to decide!

Below you'll find the best leading performances since the 1966 Academy Awards - honoring films released in 1965, through to today. Vote up your the leading performances by an actor or actress you think were the best and see your picks rise to the top!
list ordered by
1
3,811 641
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Forrest Gump, 1995
2
2,914 538
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Andrew Beckett
Philadelphia, 1994
3
645 559
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4
917 759
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The Godfather, 1973
5
1,077 949
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6
801 714
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7
403 382
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976
8
363 324
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9
378 327
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Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena
Boys Don't Cry, 2000
10
257 235
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Coal Miner's Daughter, 1981
11
494 430
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American Beauty, 2000
12
142 113
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13
381 342
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14
163 132
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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1970
15
605 567
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Meryl Streep as Sophie Zawistowska
Sophie's Choice, 1983
16
181 159
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17
274 219
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Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown
My Left Foot, 1990
18
332 303
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Dallas Buyers Club, 2014
19
169 132
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On Golden Pond, 1982
20
357 323
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21
651 565
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There Will Be Blood, 2008
22
659 606
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The Silence of the Lambs, 1992
23
323 303
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24
539 486
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25
199 172
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