Best Supporting Actress Oscar Winners: Most deserving to least deserving (that I've seen)

by Gwasgray | created - 21 Mar 2016 | updated - 9 months ago | Public

1. Mo'Nique

Actress | Precious

Monique received a standing ovation when she stepped on stage for the first time in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, giving her confidence to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. After numerous stand-up performances, she took a leap forward with one of the starring roles in The Parkers (1999)...

2. Angelina Jolie

Actress | Maleficent

Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award-winning actress who became popular after playing the title role in the "Lara Croft" blockbuster movies, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), Salt (2010) and Maleficent (2014). Off-screen, Jolie has become prominently involved in international ...

3. Viola Davis

Actress | Fences

Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), ...

4. Meryl Streep

Actress | Out of Africa

Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 21 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 ...

5. Anna Paquin

Actress | The Piano

Anna Paquin is the first millennial to have received an Academy Award nomination for acting, and the first to win.

She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1982, to Mary (Brophy), an English teacher from Wellington, New Zealand, and Brian Paquin, a Canadian phys-ed teacher. Anna moved to her ...

6. Lupita Nyong'o

Actress | 12 Years a Slave

Lupita Amondi Nyong'o was born March 1, 1983 in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents, Dorothy Ogada Buyu and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o. Her father, a senator, was then a visiting lecturer in political science. She was raised in Kenya. At age 16, her parents sent her back to Mexico for seven months to...

7. Ruth Gordon

Actress | Rosemary's Baby

When Ruth Gordon convinced her father, a sea captain, to let her pursue acting she came to New York and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She acted in a few silents made at Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1915. She made her Broadway debut in "Peter Pan" as Nibs the same year. The next 20 ...

8. Patricia Arquette

Actress | Boyhood

With her expressive blue eyes, soft, Southern-tinged voice and an acting range that can carry her from hysterically funny to terrifying in seconds, Patricia Arquette is one of the most underrated and talented actresses of her generation. Though she has been working for years, she's always stayed ...

9. Hattie McDaniel

Actress | Gone with the Wind

After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West (1932). Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest (1934) and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams (1935). In this one, directed by George ...

10. Brenda Fricker

Actress | My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown

Irish character actress Brenda Fricker was born in Dublin, and gained experience in Irish theatre and with the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Court Theatre Company in Great Britain. Brenda received great acclaim for her Oscar-winning supporting performance as the ...

11. Jane Darwell

Actress | The Grapes of Wrath

Missouri-born Jane Darwell was born Patti Woodard, the daughter of William Robert Woodard, president of the Louisville Southern Railroad, and Ellen (Booth) Woodard, in Palmyra, Missouri, where she grew up on a ranch . She nursed ambitions to be an opera singer, but put it off because of her ...

12. Renée Zellweger

Actress | Chicago

Renée Kathleen Zellweger was born on April 25, 1969, in Katy, Texas, USA. Her mother, Kjellfrid Irene (Andreassen), is a Norwegian-born former nurse and midwife, of Norwegian, Kven (Finnish), and Swedish descent. Her father, Emil Erich Zellweger, is a Swiss-born engineer. The two married in 1963. ...

13. Octavia Spencer

Actress | Hidden Figures

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, ...

14. Cloris Leachman

Actress | The Last Picture Show

The legendary actress set a record when at age 82, she appeared on Dancing with the Stars (2005). Cloris Leachman was born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa to Berkeley Claiborne "Buck" Leachman and the former Cloris Wallace. Her father's family owned a lumber company, Leachman Lumber Co. She ...

15. Rachel Weisz

Actress | The Constant Gardener

Rachel Hannah Weisz was born on 7 March, 1970, in London, U.K., to Edith Ruth (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her parents both came to England around 1938. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, from Vienna, was of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. ...

16. Penélope Cruz

Actress | Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Known outside her native country as the "Spanish enchantress", Penélope Cruz Sánchez was born in Madrid to Eduardo Cruz, a retailer, and Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser. As a toddler, she was already a compulsive performer, re-enacting TV commercials for her family's amusement, but she decided to ...

17. Mercedes Ruehl

Actress | The Fisher King

Ruehl received her first Academy Award nomination and win for her performance as Anne Napolitano, the emotionally driven girlfriend to fallen radio personality, (played by Jeff Bridges), in Terry Gilliam's masterpiece, The Fisher King (1991). In addition to an Oscar, and a Golden Globe, Ruehl's ...

18. Estelle Parsons

Actress | Bonnie and Clyde

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 ...

19. Kim Basinger

Actress | L.A. Confidential

Kim Basinger was born December 8, 1953, in Athens, Georgia, the third of five children. Both her parents had been in entertainment, her dad had played big-band jazz, and her mother had performed water ballet in several Esther Williams movies. Kim was introspective, from her father's side. As a ...

20. Melissa Leo

Actress | The Fighter

Melissa Chessington Leo is an American actress. She is known for her Academy Award-winning performance in the 2010 film The Fighter (2010). She was born on September 14, 1960, in New York City. Leo starred as the mother of boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film The Fighter, also starring Mark Wahlberg. ...

21. Anne Hathaway

Actress | Les Misérables

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 ...

22. Kim Hunter

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

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 ...

23. Tilda Swinton

Actress | We Need to Talk About Kevin

The iconoclastic gifts of the visually striking and fiercely talented actress Tilda Swinton have been appreciated by a more international audience of late.

She was born Katherine Mathilda Swinton on November 5, 1960, in London, England. Her mother, Judith Balfour, Lady Swinton (née Killen), was ...

24. Sandy Dennis

Actress | Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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 ...

25. Cate Blanchett

Actress | Carol

Cate Blanchett was born on May 14, 1969 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to June (Gamble), an Australian teacher and property developer, and Robert DeWitt Blanchett, Jr., an American advertising executive, originally from Texas. She has an older brother and a younger sister. When she was ten ...

26. Dianne Wiest

Actress | Hannah and Her Sisters

One of three children (she has two brothers, Greg and Don), Dianne Wiest was born in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Her mother, Anne Stewart (Keddie), was a nurse from Auchtermuchty, Scotland, and her father, Bernard John Wiest, was a college dean and social worker who was born in Pennsylvania, of ...

27. Josephine Hull

Actress | Harvey

Josephine Sherwood changed her name after marrying stage actor Shelly Hull in 1910. She studied drama at Radcliffe College -- much to the dismay of her parents -- and first worked on the stage in a stock company in Boston. Her husband died in 1919, aged 35, of Spanish influenza. Josephine left the ...

28. Maureen Stapleton

Actress | Reds

Academy Award-winner Maureen Stapleton was born June 21, 1925 in Troy, New York, to Irene (née Walsh) and John P. Stapleton. Her family was of Irish descent. Maureen moved to New York City at the age of eighteen and did modeling to pay the bills. Already a Tony Award-winner, she made her Academy ...

29. Alicia Vikander

Actress | Ex Machina

Alicia Vikander is a Swedish actress, dancer and producer. She was born and raised in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden, to Maria Fahl-Vikander, an actress of stage and screen, and Svante Vikander, a psychiatrist. She is of Swedish and one quarter Finnish descent. Alicia began acting as a ...

30. Jennifer Connelly

Actress | A Beautiful Mind

Jennifer Connelly was born in the Catskill Mountains, New York, to Ilene (Schuman), a dealer of antiques, and Gerard Connelly, a clothing manufacturer. Her father had Irish and Norwegian ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish immigrant family. Jennifer grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across ...

31. Marisa Tomei

Actress | My Cousin Vinny

Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patricia "Addie" (Bianchi), a teacher of English, and Gary Tomei, a lawyer, both of Italian descent. Marisa has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy ...

32. Anjelica Huston

Actress | The Witches

Anjelica Huston was born on July 8, 1951 in Santa Monica, California, to prima ballerina Enrica "Ricki" (Soma) and director and actor John Huston. Her mother, who was from New York, was of Italian descent, and her father had English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry. Huston spent most of her ...

33. Jo Van Fleet

Actress | East of Eden

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 ...

34. Eva Marie Saint

Actress | On the Waterfront

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 (1954), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). Her film career also includes ...

35. Jessica Lange

Actress | Tootsie

Jessica Lange was born in 1949, in Cloquet, Minnesota, USA, where her father worked as a traveling salesman. She obtained a scholarship to study art at the University of Minnesota, but instead went to Paris to study drama. She moved to New York, working as a model, until producer Dino De Laurentiis...

36. Marcia Gay Harden

Actress | Mystic River

Marcia Gay Harden was born on August 14, 1959, in La Jolla, California, the third of five children. Her mother, Beverly (Bushfield), was a homemaker, and her father, Thad Harold Harden, was in the military. The family relocated often -- she first became interested in the theatre when the family was...

37. Beatrice Straight

Actress | Network

In her long career, Beatrice Straight actually did very little work in the movies, plying her trade mostly onstage. But when she did grace the silver screen, she did it with great skill. Her first love was theater, having debuted on Broadway in the 1935 "Bitter Oleander". Her work garnered her much...

38. Mira Sorvino

Actress | Mighty Aphrodite

Mira Katherine Sorvino was born on September 28, 1967 in Manhattan. She is the daughter of Lorraine Davis, an actress turned drama therapist, and veteran character actor Paul Sorvino. Her father's family were Italian immigrants. The young Sorvino was intelligent, an avid reader and an exceptional ...

39. Judi Dench

Actress | Skyfall

Dame Judi Dench was born Judith Olivia Dench in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with the ...



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