Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Winners (Best to Worst)

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1.
Hattie McDaniel
After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West. Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams. In this one, directed by George Stevens and aided and abetted by star Katharine Hepburn...
“ Gone with the Wind (1939) ” - elephant999
 
2.
Eva Marie Saint
Actress and producer Eva Marie Saint was born on July 4, 1924 on Newark, New Jersey. She is known for starring in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest. Her film career also includes roles in Raintree County...
“ On the Waterfront (1954) ” - elephant999
 
3.
Jane Darwell
Missouri-born Jane Darwell was the daughter of a railroad president and grew up on a ranch in Missouri. She nursed ambitions to be an opera singer, but put it off because of her father's disapproval (she eventually changed her name to Darwell from the family name of Woodward so as not to "sully" the family name)...
“ The Grapes of Wrath (1940) ” - elephant999
 
4.
Anne Baxter
Actress, All About Eve
Anne Baxter was born in Michigan City, Indiana, on May 7, 1923. She was the daughter of a salesman and his wife, Catherine, who herself was the daughter of Frank Lloyd Wright, the world-renowned architect. Anne was a young girl of 11 when her parents moved to New York City, which at that time was still the hub of the entertainment industry even though the film colony was moving west...
“ The Razor's Edge (1946) ” - elephant999
 
5.
Kim Hunter
Her father, Donald Cole, was a consulting engineer, and died in 1926 when Kim was only 3 years old. Her mother, Grace Lind, once performed as a concert pianist. She had one brother who was eight years older than she, and she was educated at Miami Beach High. According to an in-depth article on Kim Hunter by Joseph Collura in the October 2009 issue of "Classic Images"...
“ A Streetcar Name Desire (1951) ” - elephant999
 
6.
Claire Trevor
Actress, Stagecoach
Claire Trevor was born Claire Wemlinger in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, NY, the only child of Fifth Avenue merchant-tailor Noel Wemlinger, an immigrant Frenchman from Paris who lost his business during the Depression, and his Belfast-born wife Betty. Trevor's interest in acting began when she was 11 years old...
“ Key Largo (1948) ” - elephant999
 
7.
Patty Duke
Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, to Frances Margaret (McMahon), a cashier, and John Patrick Duke, a cab driver and handyman. She is of Irish, and one eighth German, descent. Her acting career began when she was introduced to her brother Ray Duke's managers...
“ The Miracle Worker (1962) ” - elephant999
 
8.
Dorothy Malone
Actress, Peyton Place
The blonde, sultry, dreamy-eyed beauty of Dorothy Malone, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, took some time before it made an impact with American filmgoing audiences. But once she did, she played it for all it was worth in her one chance Academy Award-winning "bad girl" performance, a role quite unlike the classy and straight-laced lady herself...
“ Written on the Wind (1956) ” - elephant999
 
9.
Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno has had a thriving acting career for the better part of six decades. One of the very few (and very first) performers to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy, she was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on December 11, 1931, to seamstress Rosa María (Marcano) and farmer Francisco José "Paco" Alverío...
“ West Side Story (1961) ” - elephant999
 
10.
Mercedes McCambridge
Actress, The Exorcist
Mercedes McCambridge is a highly-talented radio performer who won a best supporting Actress Oscar for her film debut. Mercedes McCambridge was born in Joliet, Illinois, to Marie (Mahaffry) and John Patrick McCambridge, a farmer. She was of mostly Irish (with a small amount of English and German) ancestry...
“ All the King's Men (1949) ” - elephant999
 
11.
Donna Reed
Donna Reed was born in the midwestern town of Denison, Iowa, on January 27, 1921, as Donna Belle Mullenger. A small town - a population of less than 3,000 people - Denison was located by the Boyer River, and was the county seat of Crawford County. Donna grew up as a farm girl, much like many young girls in western Iowa...
“ From Here to Eternity (1953) ” - elephant999
 
12.
Celeste Holm
Actress, All About Eve
Celeste Holm was an only child, born into a home where her mother was a painter and her father worked in insurance. She would study acting at the University of Chicago and make her stage debut in 1936. Her Broadway debut came when she was 19. She appeared in many successful plays, including "The Women"...
“ Gentleman's Agreement (1947) ” - elephant999
 
13.
Fay Bainter
Fay Bainter's career began as a child performer in 1898. For some time, she was a member of the traveling cast of the Morosco Stock Company in Los Angeles. In 1912, she made her Broadway debut in 'The Rose of Panama', but this and her subsequent play 'The Bridal Path' (1913), were conspicuous failures...
“ Jezebel (1938) ” - elephant999
 
14.
Anne Revere
Veteran character actress Anne Revere became another in the long line of talented artists whose careers would crash under the weight of the "Red Scare" hysteria that tore through Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Manhattan and a direct descendant of Revolutionary War figure Paul Revere, Anne graduated from Wellesley College, then trained for the stage at the American Laboratory Theatre...
“ National Velvet (1944) ” - elephant999
 
15.
Anne Hathaway
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series Get Real...
“ Les Miserables (2012) ” - elephant999
 
16.
Teresa Wright
A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to earn Hollywood stardom on her own unglamorized terms...
“ Mrs. Miniver (1942) ” - elephant999
 
17.
Sandy Dennis
It would not be easy for anyone to out-do one of American theater's finest thespians, but somehow actress Sandy Dennis managed to even out-quirk the legendary Geraldine Page when it came to affecting nervous ticks and offbeat mannerisms on stage and in film. She and Page had few peers when it came to the neurotic-dispensing department...
“ Who's Afraid of Virginia Woof? (1966) ” - elephant999
 
18.
Jo Van Fleet
Jo Van Fleet was born on December 30, 1914 in Oakland, California. She established herself as a notable dramatic actress on Broadway over several years, winning a Tony Award in 1954 for her skill in a difficult role, playing an unsympathetic, even abusive character, in Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful" with Lillian Gish and Eva Marie Saint...
“ East of Eden (1955) ” - elephant999
 
19.
Meryl Streep
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 20 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...
“ Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) ” - elephant999
 
20.
Jennifer Hudson
Actress, Dreamgirls
Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author. Bright and booming talent Hudson is a perfect example of how NOT winning the title of American Idol can actually be a boon to your career and not necessarily the end of a childhood dream...
“ Dreamgirls (2006) ” - elephant999
 
21.
Octavia Spencer
Actress, The Help
Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, which she claims is the proverbial buckle of the Bible belt. She's the sixth of seven siblings and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. A "closet" lover of acting, this practical Alabamian knew that she'd someday work in the film industry, but never dreamed it would be in front of the camera...
“ The Help (2011) ” - elephant999
 
22.
Estelle Parsons
The charming, witty, and immeasurably gifted Estelle Parsons was born November 20, 1927 in Lynn, Massachusetts, to Elinor and Eben Parsons. She attended the Oak Grove School for Girls in Maine, and later graduated from Connecticut College in 1949. She worked as a singer with a band before she became the first Women's Editor on Today...
“ Bonnie and Clyde (1967) ” - elephant999
 
23.
Alice Brady
Alice Brady was born in New York City on November 2, 1892. She was interested in the stage from childhood, as her father was famed Broadway producer William A. Brady. After a few stage productions, Alice was discovered by movie producers in New York, since this was the film capital at the time. Her first film was at the age of 22 when she starred in As Ye Sow...
“ In Old Chicago (1938) ” - elephant999
 
24.
Miyoshi Umeki
Although she projected the typical Japanese female stereotype of humbleness, delicacy and subservience in most of her prime film and stage roles, beguiling, tiny-framed Miyoshi Umeki was nevertheless an assertive scene-stealer. This docile and deceptive-looking talent with the cropped hair and heart-shaped face radiated charm and innocence so effortlessly...
“ Sayonara (1957) ” - elephant999
 
25.
Gloria Grahame
Gloria Hallward, an acting pupil of her mother (stage actress and teacher Jean Grahame), acted professionally while still in high school. In 1944 Louis B. Mayer saw her on Broadway and gave her an MGM contract under the name Gloria Grahame. Her debut in the title role of Blonde Fever was auspicious...
“ The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) ” - elephant999