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The Top 25 Best Actress Winners So Far

The penultimate installment of this series is here, folks. As a reminder, this is a tradition I’ve been keen on for years. Yes, I’m ranking the new crop of Academy Award winners. For nearly all of the Oscar categories, you’ll see me list the top 25 recipients of that prize. Sometimes, our newest winner will appear. Other times, they’ll be relegated to the Honorable Mention category. Who knows, maybe one or two won’t even make the cut? It’s a list series that I’ll do each and every single year, in the weeks after the ceremony concludes. So, while this is a fun way to think about the Oscars in the aftermath of the latest telecast, it’s also a beginning for another column here on the site. Of course, definitely show us your own lists as well, in the comments section below. We’re definitely keen to know what you think!

Today brings the Best Actress category into focus. As you might imagine, there’s an embarrassment of riches here, and whomever you’re partial to, you won’t be alone. Hell, just with Frances McDormand, our most recent winner in Actress, she has three separate Oscars to choose from, all of which are high quality. You’ll be able to see where her win for Nomadland ranks below, but for me, tops in this category is Diane Keaton for Annie Hall, with Jodie Foster for The Silence of the Lambs and Hilary Swank for Boys Don’t Cry not far behind. Ironically, both Foster and Swank have other Academy Award wins in this category that rank highly for me, as you’ll see next…

Here now are what I consider to be the 25 best winners of the Oscar for Best Actress, to date:

25. Brie Larson – Room
24. Shirley MacLane – Terms of Endearment
23. Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
22. Kathy Bates – Misery
21. Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
20. Helen Hunt – As Good As It Gets
19. Julie Andrews – Mary Poppins
18. Ingrid Bergman – Gaslight
17. Emma Stone – La La Land
16. Vivien Leigh – A Streetcar Named Desire
15. Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
14. Ellen Burstyn – Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
13. Olivia Colman – The Favourite
12. Jodie Foster – The Accused
11. Frances McDormand – Fargo
10. Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby
9. Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice
8. Louise Fletcher – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
7. Vivien Leigh – Gone With the Wind
6. Natalie Portman – Black Swan
5. Elizabeth Taylor – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
4. Charlize Theron – Monster
3. Jodie Foster – The Silence of the Lambs
2. Hilary Swank – Boys Don’t Cry
1. Diane Keaton – Annie Hall

Honorable Mentions: Cher – Moonstruck, Anne Bancroft – The Miracle Worker, Katharine Hepburn – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Frances McDormand – Nomadland, Julia Roberts – Erin Brockovich, and Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

Stay tuned for the final category early on next week!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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