VOTE Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked  

Ranker Film
Originally by
50.5k votes 6.3k 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
3,294 586
Ranker Video
Forrest Gump, 1995

2
2,403 484
Ranker Video
Andrew Beckett
Philadelphia, 1994

3
635 507
Ranker Video

4
910 697
Ranker Video
The Godfather, 1973

5
1,071 876
Ranker Video

6
197 138
Ranker Video

7
253 196
Ranker Video
Coal Miner's Daughter, 1981

8
250 185
Ranker Video
Driving Miss Daisy, 1990

9
217 150
Ranker Video
Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer, 1980

10
790 651
Ranker Video
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

11
653 556
Ranker Video
The Silence of the Lambs, 1992

12
600 530
Ranker Video
Meryl Streep as Sophie Zawistowska
Sophie's Choice, 1983

13
142 105
Ranker Video

14
578 549
Ranker Video
The King's Speech, 2011

15
156 115
Ranker Video
Katharine Hepburn as Christina Drayton
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 1968

16
556 474
Ranker Video
Raging Bull, 1981

17
646 538
Ranker Video
There Will Be Blood, 2008

18
190 151
Ranker Video
Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster
Norma Rae, 1980

19
320 288
Ranker Video

20
379 327
Ranker Video

21
161 128
Ranker Video
On Golden Pondd, 1982

22
163 126
Ranker Video

23
260 195
Ranker Video

24
421 376
Ranker Video

25
434 313
Ranker Video
La Vie en Rose, 2008