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
3,665 629
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Forrest Gump, 1995
2
2,769 526
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Andrew Beckett
Philadelphia, 1994
3
643 548
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4
916 747
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The Godfather, 1973
5
1,076 937
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6
799 704
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976
7
692 681
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The King's Speech, 2011
8
604 558
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Meryl Streep as Sophie Zawistowska
Sophie's Choice, 1983
9
420 373
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10
658 597
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The Silence of the Lambs, 1992
11
559 490
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Raging Bull, 1981
12
207 168
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13
403 377
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976
14
266 224
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15
252 217
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Driving Miss Daisy, 1990
16
200 165
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Jodie Foster as Sarah Tobias
The Accused, 1989
17
288 243
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18
274 241
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19
331 250
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20
477 427
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21
332 299
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Dallas Buyers Club, 2014
22
198 135
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23
434 321
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La Vie en Rose, 2008
24
539 480
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25
363 320
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