VOTE Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked  

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48k votes 5.8k voters 39k views 102 items

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
3,014 534
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Forrest Gump, 1995

2
2,136 429
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Andrew Beckett Philadelphia, 1994

3
621 453
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4
1,050 798
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5
449 352
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The King's Speech, 2011

6
889 646
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The Godfather, 1973

7
777 602
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

8
642 506
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The Silence of the Lambs, 1992

9
591 481
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Meryl Streep as Sophie Zawistowska Sophie's Choice, 1983

10
528 418
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11
547 429
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Raging Bull, 1981

12
394 335
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

13
470 384
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14
413 349
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15
635 504
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There Will Be Blood, 2008

16
486 388
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American Beauty, 2000

17
374 296
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Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena Boys Don't Cry, 2000

18
433 297
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La Vie en Rose, 2008

19
411 340
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20
356 291
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21
259 201
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22
373 307
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23
310 266
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24
325 272
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Dallas Buyers Club, 2014

25
264 210
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26
344 285
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27
195 127
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28
294 233
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29
254 180
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30
158 118
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On Golden Pondd, 1982

31
251 182
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32
335 261
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1967

33
183 137
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Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster Norma Rae, 1980

34
247 171
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Driving Miss Daisy, 1990

35
195 148
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Jodie Foster as Sarah Tobias The Accused, 1989

36
280 218
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37
201 150
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38
263 214
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39
249 181
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Coal Miner's Daughter, 1981

40
194 152
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41
265 234
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Erin Brockovich, 2001

42
282 221
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43
210 167
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Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine The Lion in Winter, 1969 (tied with Barbra Streisand)

44
194 121
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45
183 130
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The Piano, 1994

46
260 209
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47
210 154
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48
196 155
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Dead Man Walking, 1996

49
177 135
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50
215 143
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Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer Kramer vs. Kramer, 1980