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
3,822 643
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Forrest Gump, 1995
2
2,925 540
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Andrew Beckett
Philadelphia, 1994
3
647 560
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4
1,078 951
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5
918 761
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The Godfather, 1973
6
802 715
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7
358 323
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8
540 486
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9
660 606
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The Silence of the Lambs, 1992
10
732 735
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The King's Speech, 2011
11
199 172
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12
426 396
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13
208 172
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14
201 171
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15
267 234
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16
559 497
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Raging Bull, 1981
17
477 433
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18
200 168
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Jodie Foster as Sarah Tobias
The Accused, 1989
19
341 290
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1967
20
274 245
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21
332 255
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22
288 247
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23
212 169
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24
651 566
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There Will Be Blood, 2008
25
403 383
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976