VOTE Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked  

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50.6k votes 6.4k voters 40k views 104 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
3,318 587
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Forrest Gump, 1995

2
2,427 485
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Andrew Beckett
Philadelphia, 1994

3
635 508
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4
910 698
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The Godfather, 1973

5
1,071 877
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6
197 139
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7
253 197
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Coal Miner's Daughter, 1981

8
250 186
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Driving Miss Daisy, 1990

9
217 151
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Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer, 1980

10
790 652
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

11
653 557
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The Silence of the Lambs, 1992

12
600 531
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Meryl Streep as Sophie Zawistowska
Sophie's Choice, 1983

13
581 549
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The King's Speech, 2011

14
142 106
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15
320 288
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16
646 539
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There Will Be Blood, 2008

17
556 475
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Raging Bull, 1981

18
421 376
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19
434 313
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La Vie en Rose, 2008

20
302 252
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21
376 313
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Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena
Boys Don't Cry, 2000

22
400 365
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

23
359 308
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24
165 122
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On Golden Pond, 1982

25
356 310
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