The 10 Greatest Best Actress Academy Award Winning Performances

Out of the 84 actresses that have received the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role here are, in my opinion, the 10 greatest performances:
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Vivien Leigh
If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time her parents take her to England...
“ In my opinion THE most deserving actress for the Best Actress in a Leading Role Academy Award for her two brilliant wins: "Gone with the Wind" (1939) and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951). ” - s-cheyne
 
2.
Meryl Streep
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 19 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William Streep...
“ Received a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her haunting and tragic portrayal in "Sophie's Choice" (1982). ” - s-cheyne
 
3.
Elizabeth Taylor
Actress, Giant
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked on with since...
“ Her first Best Actress Oscar win (for "Butterfield 8" (1960)) left a lot to be desired, but she more than made up for it with her amazing tour-de-force performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966). ” - s-cheyne
 
4.
Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, a city in the greater Johannesburg-area, in South Africa, the only child of Gerda Theron (née Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz) and Charles Jacobus Theron. She was raised on a farm outside the city. Theron is of Afrikaner (Dutch, with some French Huguenot and German) descent, and Afrikaner military figure Danie Theron was her great-great-uncle...
“ One of the most beautiful actresses around the world, Charlize captured an Oscar for her mesmerizing performance as crazed prostitute-turned-killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster" (2003), completely transforming her appearance. ” - s-cheyne
 
5.
Anna Magnani
Anna Magnani was born in Rome, Italy (not in Egypt, as some biographies claim), on March 7, 1908. She was the illegitimate child of Marina Magnani and an unknown father, often said to be from Alexandria, Egypt, but whom Anna herself claimed was from the Calabria region of Italy although she never knew his name...
“ One of the most underrated actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age, this Italian actress won an Oscar for her amazing portrayal of widow Serafina Delle Rose in "The Rose Tattoo" (1955). ” - s-cheyne
 
6.
Liza Minnelli
Actress, Cabaret
Liza Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. She was practically raised at MGM studios while her parents worked long hours there and she made her film debut at fourteen months of age in the movie In the Good Old Summertime. Her parents divorced in 1951 and...
“ Known more as a singer and the daughter of Judy Garland, Liza's eccentric performance of a free-spirited singer in "Cabaret" (1972) garnered her an Oscar and made her performance one of the 1970's best. ” - s-cheyne
 
7.
Ingrid Bergman
Actress, Casablanca
Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, tied with Meryl Streep, both are second only to Katharine Hepburn...
“ Haunting, chilling and moving; these are just a few of the adjectives to describe Ingrid's Oscar-winning performance in "Gaslight" (1944). ” - s-cheyne
 
8.
Sally Field
Actress, Forrest Gump
Sally Margaret Field was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, to actress Margaret Field (née Morlan) and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother then married stuntman Jock Mahoney, and they had a daughter, Princess O'Mahoney. She also has a brother, Richard Field. Sally attended Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California...
“ Her first Oscar-win was for her role as the feisty, determined and assured title character in "Norma Rae" (1979). ” - s-cheyne
 
9.
Maggie Smith
One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor Robert Stephens and to playwright Beverley Cross...
“ As the deranged Jean Brodie, Maggie was a sensation in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969). A well deserved Oscar win indeed! ” - s-cheyne
 
10.
Faye Dunaway
Actress, Chinatown
Faye Dunaway was born on a farm in Bascom, Florida in 1941, the daughter of Grace April (Smith), a housewife, and John MacDowell Dunaway, Jr., an army officer. After high school she majored in education at the University of Florida, but switched to theatre arts and transferred to Boston University, earning her degree in 1962...
“ Hilarious, shameless and neurotic; Faye's Oscar-winning performance in "Network" (1976) was a masterpiece! ” - s-cheyne