The Best Oscar Performances of All Time



On our podcast over the weekend, we were discussing some of the best performances … ever. In 1982 Dustin Hoffman did Tootsie, Paul Newman did The Verdict, Ben Kingsley did Gandhi and Meryl Streep did Sophie’s Choice. While Streep’s stratospheric rise happened just before she reached the apex with Sophie’s Choice, journalists weren’t quite ready to surrender to the force that was and is Meryl Streep.

I personally think that Streep’s performance in Sophie’s Choice is the best performance by any actor ever, male or female. But that got me thinking and wondering what others I would add to the list. Off the top of my head I would say, in no particular order (but with an eye on transformation, becoming someone other than the actor) – obviously my own personal choices, this list of names:

[Note: a few of of these performance missed out on an Oscar nomination but we’re making up for the omission and including them anyway — Ryan].

Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice
Marlon Brando, A Streetcar Named Desire/On the Waterfront
Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor/Sandy Dennis/George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Mary Tyler Moore/Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People
Bette Davis, All About Eve/Now Voyager/The Letter
Jack Nicholson Carnal Knowledge/Five Easy Pieces/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Louise Fletcher, Cuckoo’s Nest
Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter
Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia/The Stuntman
Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind/A Streetcar Named Desire
Robert De Niro, Raging Bull
Judy Garland, A Star is Born
Frances McDormand/Steve Buscemi/William H. Macy, Fargo
Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast

Paul Newman/Piper Laurie, The Hustler
Holly Hunter, Raising Arizona
Anthony Perkins, Psycho
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen
Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy/Tootsie
Cloris Leachman/Ben Johnson/Jeff Bridges/Ellen Burstyn, The Last Picture Show
William Hurt, The Kiss of the Spider Woman
Denzel Washington, Malcolm X
Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind
Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski
Anjelica Huston/Annette Bening/John Cusack, The Grifters
Kevin Spacey, American Beauty
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein
Peter Sellers, Being There/Dr. Strangelove/Lolita
Liza Minnelli, Cabaret
Malcolm McDowell, Clockwork Orange
Sissy Spacek & Piper Laurie, Carrie
George C. Scott, Patton
Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard
Judy Holiday, Born Yesterday
Al Pacino, The Godfather II
Robert Walker, Strangers on a Train
Jessica Lange, Frances
Sally Field, Norma Rae
Angela Bassett, What’s Love Got to Do with It
Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Sean Penn, Milk
Diana Ross, Lady Sings the Blues
Glenn Close & Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune
Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump
Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List
Colin Firth, A Single Man/The King’s Speech
Emma Thompson, Sense & Sensibility
Anthony Hopkins, Silence of the Lambs
Kate Winslet, Heavenly Creatures
Holly Hunter, The Piano
Cicely Tyson/Paul Winfield, Sounder
Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple
Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver
Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive
Laura Dern, Inland Empire
Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth/I’m Not There
Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven
Diane Keaton, Reds/Annie Hall
Nicole Kidman, To Die For
Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Gene Hackman, The French Connection
Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Georgia
Peter Finch, Network
Faye Dunaway Network/Chinatown/Bonnie and Clyde
Charles Laughton, Hunchback of Notre Game
Sidney Poitier, To Sir with Love, Lilies of the Field
Meryl Streep, One True Thing/The Devil Wears Prada

What would be your list? Or more importantly, whom have I left off?

  • Ryan Adams

    NOTE: The original headline of this post omitted the word “Oscar” and it took us 3 days to clarify.

    But that’s ok. The mix-up helped prompt the discussion to expand the scope of the list to include outstanding performances from all around the world. Performances that the Oscars perversely overlook.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Maria Falconetti in THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC obliterates everything else ever into oblivion

  • Joseph

    Good list and obviously you can’t cover everything. If I have one problem it is that most of these performances are canonized which leaves very little room for newer performances or lesser-known performances. What about Watson in Breaking the Waves, the cast of In America and Closer, Ganz in Downfall?

  • Dan

    I would agree with Bryce on Falconetti. Also, you have to add Jane Fonda in both “Klute”, and “They Shoot Horses Don’t They”. Bitterness incarnate.

  • robertL

    A. Hepburn, The Nun’s Story
    K. Hepburn, Alice Adams
    M. Smith. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    J. Lemmon, Some Like It Hot
    G. Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird
    J. Dunn, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
    R. Bellamy, The Awful Truth
    C. Grant, Holiday

  • Titzapoppin’

    I would automatically include those that have won all major critics and other awards for their perf – NYSFC, LA, NSFC, NBR, Oscar, Globe, etc. like Sissy Spacek for Coal Miner’s Daughter and Forest Whitaker for Last King of Scotland.

  • Paddy Mulholland


    Why bother? And who are we to judge? And I haven’t seen nearly enough films to be able to anyway.

    John Cusack in The Grifters over Maria Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc? Give me a fucking break.

    This is also a comically English-language-centric list. Absurd,

  • Cameron

    Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
    Al Pacino – The Godfather Part II
    Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
    Leandro Firmino da Hoya – City of God
    Faye Dunaway – Chinatown
    James Dean – Rebel Without a Cause
    Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
    Aleksei Kravchenko – Come and See
    Peter Sellers – Being There

    Just some that come to mind

  • James

    Jeon-do Yeon for Secret Sunshine would be on there for me

  • Jamie

    For pure joy of great actors doing monologues and a film tribute to book lovers everywhere: Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins in 84 Charing Cross Road – Word pictures delivered perfectly.

  • Magically Delicious

    You could white balance a camera off of this list.

  • Evan Pasquali

    If I had to pick 10…

    Robert DeNiro – Raging Bull
    Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice
    Dustin Hoffman – Kramer vs Kramer
    Dustin Hoffman – Tootsie
    Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
    Marlon Brando – On the Waterfront
    Juliette Binoche – Blue
    Faye Dunaway – Chinatown
    Anthony Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs
    Peter O’Toole – Lawrence of Arabia

    Honorable Mention:
    Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Jimmy Stewart – Vertigo
    Gene Hackman – The Conversation
    Mia Farrow – Rosemary’s Baby
    Jack Nicholson – Chinatown
    Al Pacino – The Godfather Part II
    Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
    Daniel Day-Lewis – Gangs of New York

  • Richard B

    Giulietta Masina for La Strada and Juliet of the Spirits.
    Anthony Quinn for La Strada
    Romy Schneider for Christine
    Susan Hayward for I Want to Live
    Greer Garson for Mrs Miniver
    Claudette Colbert for It Happened One Night and Three Came Back
    Jon Voigt for Midnight Cowboy
    Micheline Lanctôt for La vraie nature de Bernadette
    Anne Bancroft for 84 Charing Cross Road
    Kim Novak for Vertigo

    and so many others.

  • Alec

    Javier Bardem- No Country for Old Men
    Robert DeNiro- Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy
    Samuel L. Jackson- Pulp Fiction
    Russell Crowe- The Insider

  • OLIN

    Marion Cotillard, LA VIE EN ROSE.

    also, thank you for including Meryl Streep’s DEVIL WEARS PRADA performance.

  • Alex

    I feel it’s necessary to include Marion Cotillard’s La Vie En Rose – easily one of the top five performances of the decade, at the very least; while we’re at it, I’d also add Trintigant for Amour, one of the most undeservingly underrated performances last year and in many years.

    For Kate Winslet, I’d add Eternal Sunshine to Heavenly Creatures for her best performances.

    I feel I’m double dipping too much, but for Hepburn I’d put in Bringing Up Baby next to Lion in Winter – this list is a little lacking in comedic performances any ways, which *can* be just as great. I’m also slightly surprised you put Taxi Driver over Silence of the Lambs for Foster, or even The Accused.

    Say what you will about Sound of Music, but Julie Andrews deserves to be on this list for that movie.

    Sean Penn in Mystic River, for that one scene alone where he finds his daughter, but for the whole movie as well.

    Helen Hunt for As Good as It Gets.
    Liza Minelli for Cabaret.
    Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain.

    YES to the cast performances for Last Picture Show and Virginia Woolf.

    Anne Bancroft for The Graduate.
    Peter Finch, Network.
    F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus.

    If we’re being adventurous, one of the best male performances in a long time (aside from DDL for Lincoln) would have to be George Clooney for The Descendants.

    I also have to agree: Sophie’s Choice is the best performance by any actor, male or female.

  • Daniel

    A great list. One thing is for sure – Meryl’s performance in Sophie’s Choice is the best ever. I’d add (some supporting performances too): Nicole Kidman – Moulin Rouge/The Hours/Birth; Diane Lane – Unfaithful; Julianne Moore – The Hours; Meryl Streep – The Hours; Annette Bening – American Beauty/Being Julia; Diane Weist – Bullets Over Broadway; Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight/Brokeback Mountain; Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds; Elisabeth Taylor – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird; Shirley McLaine – The Apartment; Marion Cottilard – La Vie En Rose; K. Hepburn – Bringing Up Baby; Kate Winslet – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Cecilia Roth – All About My Mother; Audrey Tautou – Amelie; Juliette Binoche-…everything she is in; Daniel Day Lewis – There Will Be Blood; Ellen Page – Juno; Imelda Staunton – Vera Drake; Julia Roberts – Erin Brockovich; Jamie Bell – Billy Elliot Corey Stall – Midnight in Paris; Glenn Clos/ Pfeiffer – Dangerous Liasons; Laura Linney – You Can Count On Me; Julie Christie – Away From Her

  • Manuel

    Cate Blanchett: Elizabeth, Im not There
    Daniel Day-Lewis: My Left Foot/ Lincoln
    Naomi Watts: Mulholland Drive
    Nicole Kidman: Dogville
    Meryl Streep: Sophies Choice
    Liv Ullmann: Persona/ Scenes from a marriage
    Al Pacino: The Godfather II
    Marlon Brando: A Streetcar Named Desire/ The Godfather
    Ralph Fiennes: Schindlers List
    Anthony Hopkins: The Silence of the Lambs
    Jodie Foster: The Silence of the Lambs
    Michelle Pfeiffer: Catwoman
    Heath Ledger: The Dark Knight/ Brokeback Mountain
    Montgomery Clift: A Place in the sun
    Charlie Chaplin: The Dictator
    Emily Watson: Breaking the waves
    Rooney Mara. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
    Tilda Swinton: Orlando
    Glenn Close: Dangerous Liaisons

  • tintin

    DiCaprio and Winslet in Revolutionary Road.

  • RCH

    Angela Lansbury, The Manchurian Candidate

  • Ryan B

    Charlize Theron, Monster
    Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
    Anthony Perkins, Psycho

  • Evelyn Garver

    Thank you for your mention of Clift. Monty and DDL, my all time favorite actors.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Every time Sasha or Ryan mention the podcast I go “that’s right…the podcast!”. May I suggest you get rid of the podcast section of the site and just post new episodes as regular posts in the main section? otherwise I’ll just keep forgetting about it, and I bet I’m not the only one.

  • Tobster

    Beatrice Straight, Network!!!

    Charlize Theron, Monster
    Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

  • MarkVH

    Humphrey Bogart in In a Lonely Place
    Cathy O’Donnell in They Live By Night
    James Mason in Bigger than Life

    (clearly I’m on a bit of a Nick Ray kick here)

    Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives
    Dana Andrews in Laura (criminally underrated actor)
    John Wayne in The Searchers
    Andy Griffith in A Face in the Crowd

  • Dinilesizwe

    Heath ledger in Brokeback Mountain is the single greatest performance ever

  • MarkVH

    Also, Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt and The Third Man.

    And, in the Powell & Pressburger category:

    Roger Livesy and Deborah Kerr in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
    Anton Walbrook in The Red Shoes
    Kathleen Byron in Black Narcissus

    Man, I could do this all day.

  • Mustafa

    Gena Rowlands – A Woman Under Influence
    Brenda Blethyn – Secrets and Lies
    Bette Davis – Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
    Glenn Close – Dangerous Liaisons
    Emily Watson – Breaking the Waves
    Judi Dench – Mrs Brown

  • Pete

    Geraldine Page, Sweet Bird of Youth
    Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
    Marcello Mastroianni, La Dolce Via, 8 1/2
    Simone Signoret, Room at the Top
    Richard Harris, This Sporting Life
    Isabelle Huppert, White Material
    Paul Giamatti, Sideways

  • Jordan Ruimy

    @ Sasha, only 1 Daniel Day Lewis Performance? I think his Daniel Plainview in THERE WILL BE BLOOD is a greater performance than LINCOLN. I’d even put Bill the Butcher in GANGS OF NEW YORK up there.

  • Stephen Holt

    And coming up! Cate Blanchett gives one of thee, if not THEE, performance of her incredible career in Woody Allen’s new “Blue Jamine.” It’s arguably the best part he’s ever written for an actress and Cate the Great totally rises to the occasion. Part Blance du Bois, part Ruth Madoff, Cate could very well win her second Oscar for this tour-de-force as the wounded, wandering Jasmine.

  • moviewatcher

    The podcast section should still be there for centralization but they should definitely do a new post for each new podcast. It’s not difficult at all (just copy the summary you used for the podcast) and it helps people remember.

  • citizenmilton


    Emily Watson – Breaking the Waves
    Marcello Mastroianni – 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita
    Toshiro Mifune – Seven Samurai, Rashomon
    Elliot Gould – The Long Goodbye, MASH
    F Murray Abraham – Amadeus
    Tom Hulce – Amadeus
    Maggie Cheung – In the Mood For Love
    Tony Leung – In the Mood For Love
    Frank Oz – The Empire Strikes Back
    Orson Welles – Citizen Kane, The Third Man
    Joseph Cotten – Citizen Kane, The Third Man
    Tim Robbins – The Player, Shawshank, Bob Roberts
    Morgan Freeman – Shawshank
    Gregory Peck – To Kill A Mockingbird
    James Broadbent – Topsy-Turvy
    Allan Corduner – Topsy-Turvy
    Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain

  • robertL

    What is interesting is that for most people the majority of there choices are post 1960. This may speak volumes about there age, viewing habits, availability of film, or for that matter prejudices of Hollywood history. Interesting.

  • GoOnNow

    fuck :( you’ve seen the film already???

  • Tommy Key

    Liv Ullman Persona

    I will keep thinking

  • Casey

    I could list literally hundreds!! But I’ll just do the top 10 that come to my head, in no order:

    – Bjork, Dancer in the Dark
    – Marilyn Monroe, The Misfits
    – Jessica Lange, Frances
    – Judy Garland, A Star is Born
    – Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
    – Charlize Theron, Monster
    – Bette Davis, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
    – Julianne Moore, Safe
    – Bette Midler, The Rose
    – Sharon Stone, Casino

  • hank skorpio

    Royal Tenenbaum
    John Goodman/John Turturro in Barton Fink

  • GoOnNow

    Maggie Smith – The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

  • citizenmilton

    This probably has more to do with the evolution of film acting than it does with age or recency bias.

    Prior to Elia Kazan’s films in the ’50s, film acting as we know it now, didn’t really exist. It was a more mannered, over-the-top “projecting from the stage” theatrical type of performance. And once you’ve experienced the post-Kazan approach, it’s hard to appreciate or grade-on-a-curve anything that preceded it.

    Anytime you watch a film from the 30s/40s (and quite frankly, most of the 50s too – Kazan and Brando’s impact didn’t seem to permeate the medium until the late 50s or the 1960s), you have to adjust your expectations.

  • Bob Burns

    singers and comedians

    awards-land is ruled by drama snobs.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    once you’ve experienced the post-Kazan approach, it’s hard to appreciate or grade-on-a-curve anything that preceded it.

    Speak for yourself

    I agree with robertL, it’s all about age, accessibility, availability, education, and culture (very few mention of foreign performances)

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Only Liv from PERSONA? Crazytalk

  • Bryce Forestieri


  • Mark Johnson

    Falconetti is incredible.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    I thought about making a mad-long list of mostly non-English speaking performances and silent performances (both ‘categories’ are underrepresented in the post and comments), but what the hell; as some of you already said, the task is too fucking daunting and unrealistic. So I’ll just add one male and one female performances, and since we’re at Awards Daily an added bonus awards context :)

    The nominees and rightful winners of Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars in 1981:

    Burt Lancaster as Lou Pascal and Susan Sarandon as Sally Matthews in Louis Malle’s masterpiece ATLANTIC CITY

  • robertL

    You give a great deal of credit to Kazan and Brando. Where does Garfield and Garbo fit in your thinking. Also how do you view “Gentlemen’s Agreement”. The Hay’s Office in your thinking also.
    A great film performance defies decade (see Davis in “Of Human Bondage” years before Brando). Also I wonder how much the perfection of sound by the late forties changed style.

  • Corvo

    John Hurt – The Elephant Man
    Theresa Russell, Debra Winger – Black Widow
    Dustin Hoffman – Straw Dogs

  • robertL

    Interesting not many foreign actor choice even when they are speaking English, let alone when they do not speak at all ( see La Strada – G. Masina. What a crime.

  • Kim

    Leonardo DiCaprio – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape/The Departed
    Jeremy Northam – The Winslow Boy
    Holly Hunter – The Piano
    José Ferrer – Cyrano de Bergerac
    Russell Crowe – LA Confidential
    Gary Oldman – Sid & Nancy

  • Mark

    I would add Meryl Strrep in Silkwood – brillant…

  • Me

    Strrep -Silwood – brillant…

  • David

    Andrew Garfield – Boy A
    Jane Fonda – They Shoot Horses Don’t They
    Donald Sutherland – Ordinary People
    Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain
    Ellen Burstyn – Resurrection
    Sissy Spacek/Piper Laurie – Carrie
    Al Pacino – Dog Day Afternoon
    Daniel Day Lewis – My Left Foot
    Marion Cotillard – La Vie En Rose/Rust and Bone
    Gena Rowlands – A Woman Under the Influence
    John Savage – The Deer Hunter

  • GoOnNow

    oh! and for sure:

    Olivia de Havilland – The Heiress

    A film I saw for the first time 3 weeks ago and am still thinking about, A LOT!

    Hate to say this, but she really was more talented than her sister!

  • Rob

    Everyone has got the great performances pretty much covered but Glenda Jackson needs to be mentioned for Women in Love & Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

  • Cristhian

    Who did you leave off? aside from Emanuelle Riva, ANYONE whose primary language wasn’t english. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when lists leave off international films like they’re lesser efforts. It seems like it’s such a narrow scope of what’s great and out there.

  • Watermelons

    I’d include Kate “The GREAT” Winslet’s (Little Children, Revolutionary Road) total filmography. This way you would see that each performance is not only a diamond on its own, but a piece of an even greater whole.


  • Bryce Forestieri

    No shit, but don’t worry it’s just a matter of time before someone calls Isabelle Huppert or Juliette Binoche, in that department, they’re the go-to names. Can’t blame anyone tho. The subject is fucking vast.

    Prior to Elia Kazan’s films in the ’50s, film acting as we know it now, didn’t really exist

    Now this^ is the tits. Reprehensible to say the least. So now Ruan Lingyu didn’t exist before A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.

  • AndyR

    Klaus Kinski – Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

    Maria Falconetti – La passion de Jeanne d’Arc

  • Matt Fischer

    Leonardo Dicaprio, Gilbert Grape/Basketball Diaries
    Kirstun Dunst, Melonchalia
    Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain/Blue Valentine
    Micheal Douglas, Wall Street
    Sean Penn, I am Sam/Mystic River
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote/Doubt

  • ferdi


    Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis in THELMA & LOUISE


    Julianne Moore in SAFE.

    Deborah Kerr in THE INNOCENTS

    Isabelle Adjani in ADELE H

    Louise Brooks in LULU

    Isabelle Huppert in THE PIANO TEACHER

    Bette Davis in THE LETTER

  • Lars

    My two personal favorites are from Lee Chang-Dong films:

    Do-yeon Jeon in “Secret Sunshine” and
    Jeong-hie Yung in “Poetry”

    Also, have to add the pairs of Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung in “In The Mood for Love and Andy Lau and Deanie Yip in Ann Hui’s “A Simple Life”

  • david

    Mickey Rourke the wrestler lets not forget Christian mckay me and Orson welles and I’m gonna include a recent one to James Franco springbreakers also tyrin turner menace to society

  • November3leven

    Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
    Montgomery Cliff – Judgment at Nuremberg
    Burt Lancaster – Sweet Smell of The Success
    Tom Hardy – Bronson
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Before The Devil Knows Your Dead
    Tom Cruise – Collateral
    Russell Crowe – The Insider
    Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator

  • citizenmilton

    I put five foreign-language performances on my list. That represents about a quarter of the items I did.

    Also, even though I say it’s harder to appreciate performances pre-Kazan, I do in fact include several on my list (Mifune, Cotten, etc.).

    It’s not impossible to appreciate those performances – but when you’re comparing the “GREATEST” of all-time, I just find that the very nature of the game being played changed around Kazan. When we’re talking about the elite among the elite, you have to start getting very choosy with your criteria.

  • Chico Fireman

    Where do I sign?

  • Deydou

    I’ll add Isabelle Adjani in One Deadly Summer ; Camille Claudel ; Queen Margot ; Adele H ; la journée de la jupe…

  • Devil’s Advocate

    Making every effort not to duplicate

    File these 12 Under: “Seriously…How Do You Pick? They’re pretty much always deliver great performances.”
    Vanessa Redgrave – (ie: Playing For Time – Arthur Miller Teleplay)
    Spencer Tracy – (ie: Bad Day At Black Rock)
    Alec Guinness – (ie: Kind Hearts and Coronets)
    Claude Rains – (ie: Mr Skeffington)
    Geraldine Page – (ie: Interiors)
    Morgan Freeman – (ie: Shawshank Redemption)
    Kathy Bates – (ie: About Schmidt)
    Tilda Swinton – (ie: I Am Love)
    Robert Duvall – (ie: The Apostle)
    James Earl Jones – (ie: Great White Hope)
    Gene Hackman – (ie: The Royal Tenenbaums)
    Maggie Smith – (ie: California Suite)

    Cary Grant/Rosiland Russell – His Girl Friday
    Barbara Stanwyck – Stella Dallas, The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity
    Ingrid Bergman – Notorious, Anastasia, Autumn Sonata
    Gilietta Massina – Nights of Cabiria
    Mo’Nique – Precious
    Rosiland Russell – Auntie Mame, Picnic
    Linda Hunt – The Year of Living Dangerously
    Bette Davis – (adding) Private Lives of Elizabeth & Essex, The Little Foxes, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
    Joe Pesci – Goodfellas
    Burt Reynolds – Boogie Nights
    Deborah Kerr – Black Narcissus, From Here To Eternity
    Gena Rowlands – A Woman Under The Influence, Another Woman
    Fernanda Montenegro – Central Station
    Joan Crawford – Mildred Pierce, Humoresque
    Kirk Douglas – Champion
    Claire Trevor – Key Largo
    Walter Houston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Judi Dench – Mrs Brown, Notes on a Scandal
    Rock Hudson – Seconds
    Penelope Cruz – Volver
    Valentina Cortese – Day for Night
    Helen Mirren – (adding) Cal, Gosford Park
    Kenneth Branagh – Henry V
    Katherine Hepburn – (adding) Woman of the Year, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, A Delicate Balance
    Meryl Streep – (adding) Bridges of Madison County, Julie & Julia, Adaptation
    Chris Cooper – Adaptation
    Nicholas Cage – Vampire’s Kiss, Adaptaion
    Jeremy Irons – Dead Ringers
    Julie Christie – (adding) Darling, McCabe & Mrs Miller
    Pam Grier – Jackie Brown
    Richard Farnsworth – The Straight Story
    Olivia de Haviland – The Heiress, The Snake Pit
    Diane Keaton – (adding) Something’s Gotta Give
    Max von Sydow – Pelle the Conqueror
    Mary Astor – The Maltese Falcon, The Palm Beach Story
    Irene Jacob – Red
    Anthony Hopkins – (adding) The Remains of the Day
    Brenda Blethen – Secrets & Lies
    Martin Landau – Ed Wood
    Takashi Shimura – Ikiru
    Mia Farrow – Rosemary’s Baby, Alice
    Toni Collette – Muriel’s Wedding, Japanese Story, Velvet Goldmine
    Jennifer Coolidge – Best In Show
    John Gielgud – Arthur
    Hattie McDaniel – Gone With The Wind
    Rod Steiger – The Pawn Broker, The Loved One
    Zero Mostel – The Producers
    Madeline Kahn – What’s Up Doc?, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankentstein
    Albert Finney – Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express
    Catherine Deneuve – Belle du Jour, The Last Metro
    Gerard Depardieu – Cyrano de Bergerac
    Beah Richards – Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
    Judy Davis – Husbands and Wives
    Michelle Yeoh – Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
    Burt Lancaster – Elmer Gantry, Birdman of Alcatraz, The Swimmer, Atlantic City
    Rita Moreno – West Side Story
    Paul Newman – (adding) Nobody’s Fool
    Stockard Channing – Six Degrees of Separation
    Viola Davis – Doubt, The Help
    Anna Magnani – The Rose Tattoo
    Sophia Loren – Two Women
    George Sanders – All About Eve
    Thelma Ritter – The Mating Season
    George Clooney – Michael Clayton
    Jean Hagen – Singin’ In The Rain
    Jennifer Jones – The Song of Bernadette
    Uma Thurman – Kill Bill, Vol 1 & 2
    Jeffrey Wright – Basquiat
    Paul Muni – The Life of Emile Zola
    Louise Rainer – The Good Earth
    Jerry Lewis/Eddie Murphy – The Nutty Professor
    Karen Black – Five Easy Pieces, Nashville
    Maximillian Schell – Judgement at Nuremberg
    Marlene Dietrich – Witness for the Prosecution
    Melissa McCarthy – Bridemaids

  • drake

    de niro in raging bull, brando in on the waterfront, i also like emily watson in breaking the waves

  • Bill_the_Bear

    A few that I haven’t seen mentioned above:

    Linda Hunt – The Year of Living Dangerously
    Kristin Scott Thomas – Il y a longtemps que je t’aime
    Tilda Swinton – I Am Love

  • mikeyone

    Ulriche Muhe – The Lives of Others.
    Toni Collette – Japanese Story.
    Tom Hanks – Big.
    Jean Hugues-Anglade – La Femme Nikita.
    Eric Bana – Munich.
    Sharto Copley – District 9.
    Tahar Rahim -A Prophet.
    Romain Duris – The Beat that My Heart Skipped / Heartbreakers.
    Virginia Madsen -Sideways.
    The cast – Tootsie.
    Francois Cluzet – Tell No One.
    The Cast – Silence of the Lambs.
    Kare Hedebrant – Let the Right One In.

  • Trucker13

    Okay, people. It’s time to get real: Who keeps a list of the 100 all-time greatest performances by actors and actresses as well as greatest movies? Am I the only geek or are there a bunch of us?

  • Chris Price

    I’ll try to stick to stuff that isn’t on Sasha’s list, although some of these have already been mentioned in the comments:

    Daniel Day Lewis – There Will Be Blood
    Ulrich Muhe – The Lives Of Others
    Bill Murray – Groundhog Day/Ghostbusters
    Hanna Schygulla – The Edge Of Heaven
    Christopher Guest – This Is Spinal Tap
    Robert Downey Jr. – Chaplin
    Tom Cruise – Magnolia
    F. Murray Abraham – Amadeus
    Tahar Rahim – A Prophet
    Denis Lavant – Holy Motors
    Natalie Portman – Black Swan
    Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight/Brokeback Mountain
    Kate Winslet/Jackie Earl Haley – Little Children
    Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy – The Before series
    Tom Hanks – Cast Away/Saving Private Ryan/Philadelphia
    Hilary Swank – Boys Don’t Cry
    Jim Carrey – The Truman Show
    Johnny Depp – Ed Wood
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Happiness/Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
    Billy Bob Thornton – A Simple Plan
    Jeff Bridges – Fearless
    Harvey Keitel – Bad Lieutenant
    Robert De Niro – The King Of Comedy
    Steve Martin – The Jerk

  • steve50

    **Vanessa Redgrave (body of work)- Isadora/The Bostonians/Wetherby/etc

    Maria Falconetti – Passion of Joan of Arc (best single perf., male of female, bar none)

    Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice/Adaptation
    Simone Signoret – Room at the Top
    Ingrid Bergman – Notorious
    K Hepburn – Long Day’s Journey Into Night
    Robin Wright – House of Cards (yup, she’s that good, imo)

    **Peter O’Toole (BOW) – Lawrence of Arabia/The Ruling Class /etc
    Michael Fassbender (close second)- Hunger/Fish Tank/Shame

    Marlon Brando – Last Tango In Paris/Streetcar
    Frederic March – The Iceman Cometh
    Robert DeNiro – Raging Bull
    Paul Muni – I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
    Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mtn / Dark Knight /

    Cast – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

  • Soeren Langelund

    Great choices, but mostly typical American/Hollywood picks.

    As a huge admirer of Bergman’s films, I’d like to make a special mention for Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow in so many differrent and equally fantastic parts, it’s hard to pick from them.

    But you could easily make a case for the 7-8 – mostly FEMALE (!) – Bergman regulars, like Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bibi Andersson, Erland Josephson and Ingrid Thulin.

    And if I have to pick an American, it would be Charlie Chaplin – for instance in The Great Dictator, which have to be one of the all time funniest AND most touching movies.

  • trek

    Denis Lavant – Holy Motors
    Jim Carrey – The Truman Show
    Sareh Bayat – A Separation
    Zbigniew Zamachoski – Trois Couleurs: Blanc
    Al Pacino – Scarface, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, The Godfather I and II
    Ulrich Muhe – The Lives of Others
    Jack Lemmon – Some Like it Hot
    Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight
    Matt Damon – The Talented Mr. Ripley
    Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier – Sleuth
    Fernanda Montenegro – Central Station
    Dustin Hoffman – Midnight Cowboys
    Glenn Close – Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons
    Michael Fassbender – Fish Tank, Shame
    Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
    Daniel Day Lewis – My Left Foot

  • robertL

    Here here for Chaplin. Right on!

  • Alboone

    Great list, but I would add some amendments…

    Pacino — Dog Day Afternoon
    Hoffman — RainMan(c’mon that should’ve been a default choice)
    Denzel — Man on Fire(on his obit that film will supersede a pretty stellar body of work)
    Day Lewis — There Will Be Blood, In the name of the Father
    Streep — you have to include this movie if you’re a genuine admirer of her work, the movie is formulaic but there is nothing in her performance that is, she takes this common archetype and makes it her own… DEVIL WEARS PRADA.

  • Alboone

    And how about some love for Stallone — Rocky and First Blood.

  • david

    Nicholas cage bad lieutenant port of call new Orleans

  • John Oliver

    Sophia LorenTwo Women
    Linda Fiorentino-The Last Seduction
    Claudia McNeil-A Raisin in the Sun
    Susan Hayward-I’ll Cry Tomorrow, I Want to Live
    Natalie Wood-Splendor in the Grass
    Gena Rowlands-A Woman under the Influence
    Hye-ja Kim-Mother
    Elizabeth Taylor-Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    Katherine Hepburn-The Lion in Winter, Suddenly Last Summer
    Barbara Stanwyck-Stella Dallas
    Joan Crawford-Mildred Pierce
    Kathy Bates-Misery
    Louise Fletcher-One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Debbi Morgan-Eve’s Bayou
    Bette Davis-Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, All About Eve

  • Alboone

    The Dragon Slayer performance to rule all of cinema………….

    G E N A R O W L A N D S

    A Woman Under the Influence

  • Mirko

    Also Emma Thompson, great in Howards End, Margaret Schlegel.

  • rAr

    Jeanne Moreau, Jules and Jim
    Jack Lemmon, The Apartment
    Marlon Brando, Reflections in a Golden Eye
    Audrey Hepburn, Two for the Road
    Bjork, Dancer in the Dark
    Carole Lombard and William Powell, My Man Godfrey

  • keifer

    These come to mind:

    Katharine Hepburn – Long Day’s Journey into Night / The Lion in Winter

    Peter Finch – Network

    Audrey Hepburn – The Nun’s Story

    Peter O’toole – Becket / The Ruling Class / The Lion in Winter

    Faye Dunaway – Chinatown

    Bette Davis – All About Eve

    Alan Bates – Butley

    Susan Sarandon – Dead Man Walking

    Jane Fonda – They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? / Julia

    Alastair Sims – A Christmas Carol

    Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin

    Javier Bardem – The Sea Inside / Biutiful

  • apart

    Your lists need more “Liv Ullmann” 😉

  • keifer

    m so glad you included this performance. It is a heart-breaking, absolutely terrific performance by Maggie Smith. I love the ending of this movie. For my money, she’s never been better than in this film.

  • keifer

    I, too, loved Deborah Kerr in The Innocents.

    She was equally as good in Black Narcissus. If you haven’t seen it, check it out sometime.

    It’s a real shame that she never received Oscars for these movies. Not even a nomination for The Innocents!

  • keifer

    And now that I can’t get this topic out of my head, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t include:

    Jack Lemmon – Some Like it Hot / Days of Wine and Roses

    Joan Crawford – Sudden Fear

    Omar Shariff – Doctor Zhivago

    Eleanor Parker – Caged

    Judy Davis – The Ref

    Kathy Bates – Dolores Claiborne

    Daniel Day-Lewis – The Ballad of Jack and Rose (personal favorite)

  • julian the emperor

    Exactly, Paddy.

    This is a missed opportunity to raise awareness about the medium of film. It is quite simply a travesty that you manage to only include ONE foreign language performance!!!!! (and that’s the most recent obvious one!).

    You have always been severely America-centric in your film tastes, Sasha, but this is downright absurd. I have seen literally thousand of American films in my life, but I don’t think English-speaking actors would constitute more than 25-30% of my Top 100 best performances of all time. It’s hard to fathom how a true film fan could make up a list where 99% are in the same language!

  • ricardo

    Al Pacino – Dog Day Afternoon/Goodfather II
    Marlon Brando – Goodfather
    Roberto De Niro – Taxi Driver/Raging Bull
    Meryl Streep – the bridges of madison county
    Hilary Swank – Boys Dont Cry
    Kevin Spacey – American Beauty
    Russell Crowe – A Beautiful Mind
    Heath Ledger – Batman
    Malcolm Macdowell – A Clockwork Orange
    Elizabeth Taylor – Virginia Woolf
    Billy Bob Thornton – The Man who wasnot there
    Kate Winslet – The Eternal Sunshine Of Spotless Mind
    Fernanda Montenegro – Central do Brasil

  • julian the emperor

    Soeren Langelund…a Danish compatriot?

    I COMPLETELY agree with your mention of the 7-8 regular Bergman actors. They stand out for me as well. It is a subjective thing, for sure, but Bergman’s actors have a special place in my heart. Particularly the women (Harriet Anderson and Liv Ullmann, first and foremost). Ingrid Thulin is just devastatingly good in Tystnaden, though.

    I would have to agree with a lot of other commenters on Falconetti, though. That would be my number one (and not just because Dreyer is Danish…)

  • Andor Katona

    I love these names, these lists so much. You made me want to watch and re-watch all these performances.
    I would add Monica Bellucci to this list with her peformance in Malena. That was the most desirable femme fatale peformance I’ve ever seen.
    And maybe it sounds weird but I also think that Vanessa Redgrave’s short appereance in Atonement was one of the most impressive performances of all time. I will never forget those final minutes of the film because of her.

  • Victor Garcia

    Edward Norton – American History X
    Jim Carrey – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Adrien Brody – The Pianist
    Ewan Mcgregor – Moulin Rouge
    Audrey Tatou – Amelie
    Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby

  • Clayton Davis

    Good list.

    For me, (in no particular order)

    Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
    James Stewart in “Rear Window”
    James Cagney in “Angels with Dirty Faces”
    Kate Winslet in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
    Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia”
    Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump”
    Sean Penn in “Dead Man Walking”
    Rosemarie DeWitt in “Rachel Getting Married”
    Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in “The Odd Couple”
    Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
    Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”
    Charlize Theron in “Monster”
    Mary Tyler Moore in “Ordinary People”
    Michael Keaton in “My Life”
    Nicole Kidman in “The Hours”

    Can’t cover them all.

  • Stephen Holt

    Yes, I have seen it! It’s NOT a light comedy, by any means. It’s surprising. And it’s going to be an iconic role for Blanchett. Everything she’s ever done and everything she’s going to do in the future will be compared to her beautiful, damaged, heart-breaking Jasmine. And Woody has 86’ed having a nebbishly stand-in for him (like Owen Wilson in “Midnight in Paris” or John Cusack in “Bullets Over Broadway.”) and has wrtten a full-blooded complex woman who we all have a stake in because of the Madoff scandal. Ruth Madoff as a tragic figure? Well, it’s Woody’s version of it all. He throws in a HUGE dash of Tennessee Williams’ Blanche du Bois, too. And Sally Hawkins is the stalwart, down-to-earth, working class sister(like Stella in “Streetcar”) who Blanche returns to live with. And Bobby Cannavale AND Andrew Dice Clay both combine to be the Stanley Kowalski figures, though, as you see, by dividing that part, the film really is about the tragic (and of course comic, too, being Woody) interaction between the Xanax-popping Jasmine of Cate. It has Oscar written all over it. Specifically Blanchett for Best Actress. However SPC has got to do a HELL of campaign to beat Meryl in “August:Osage County”. We already know who the two main contenders will be – ALREADY! And it’s July!

    If you click on my name you can go to my full review on my blog.

  • David

    Jane Fonda, Klute
    Liv Ullmann, Face to Face
    Liv Ullmann, Cries and Whispers
    Ingrid Bergman, Autumn Sonata
    Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard

  • Melbornboy

    Yeah, open it out a bit…everyone worships perfs by Brando, Streep, Bette, Clift, De Niro, Nicholson etc etc. I concur Sophie’s Choice has to be one of the greatest ever.

    Juliette Binoche – Lovers on the Bridge/Blue
    Emily Watson – Breaking the Waves
    Ingrid Thulin/Liv Ullmann/Bibi Andersen/Max Von Sydow – 60s & 70s Bergman
    Samantha Morton
    Judy Davis
    Marisa Paredes – All about my Mother

    Geoffrey Rush – Shine
    Leslie Cheung – Farewell my concubine
    Klaus Kinski
    Toshiro Mifune
    Peter Sellers

    And the silent era – Chaplin & Keaton!

  • Dee

    Posting as many as I could remember off the top of my head that have received little to no mention so far.

    Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
    Gena Rowland – A Woman Under the Influence
    Lily Tomlin – Nashville
    Buster Keaton – Sherlock Jr
    Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time In the West
    Daniel Day Lewis – There Will Be Blood
    Toshiro Mifune – Yojimbo
    Klaus Kinski – Fitzcarraldo
    Joan Crawford – Johnny Guitar
    Liv Ullman – Persona
    Harry Dean Stanton – Paris Texas
    Robert DeNiro – King of Comedy
    Juliette Binoche – Trois Couleur Bleu
    Setsuko Hara – Late Spring
    Jack Nicholson – The Shining
    Julie Christie – McCabe and Mrs Miller
    Jimmy Stewart – Vertigo
    Max Von Sydow – The Virgin Spring
    Marcello Mastroianni – 8 1/2
    Jon Voight – Midnight Cowboy
    Dustin Hoffman – The Graduate
    Peter Lorre – M
    Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu – Spoorloos
    Vincent D’Onofrio – Full Metal Jacket
    Brigitte Mira – Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
    Delphine Seyrig – Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
    Anatoli Solonitsyn – Andrei Rublyov
    Sissy Spaceck – Badlands
    Bill Murray – Lost In Translation
    Gene Hackman – The Conversation
    Giulietta Masina – Nights of Cabiria
    Steve McQueen – Papillon
    Humphrey Bogart – Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Alain Delon – Le Samourai
    Michael Fassbender – Shame
    Barbara Stanwyck – Double Indemnity
    Liam Neeson – Schindler’s List
    Martin Landau – Ed Wood
    Gary Cooper – High Noon
    Walter Brennan – Rio Bravo
    Julie Delpy – Before Series

  • Casey

    Because I am bored – I took all of Sasha’s choices and I ranked the ones I’ve seen. Here they are in order of how I liked them:

    Judy Garland – A Star Is Born
    Ellen Burstyn – Requiem for a Dream
    Bette Davis – All About Eve
    Jessica Lange – Frances
    Robert DeNiro – Raging Bull
    Liza Minnelli – Cabaret
    Elizabeth Taylor – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe
    Al Pacino – The Godfather Part II
    Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
    Malcolm Macdonald – Clockwork Orange
    Gloria Swanson – Sunset Boulevard
    Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Dustin Hoffman – Tootsie
    Nicole Kidman – To Die For
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
    Sissy Spacek – Carrie
    Anthony Perkins – Psycho
    Laura Dern – Inland Empire
    Louise Fletcher – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Bette Davis – Now, Voyager
    Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice
    Frances McDormand – Fargo
    Gene Wilder – Young Frankenstein
    Dennis Hopper – Blue Velvet
    Jack Nicholson – Five Easy Pieces
    Mary Tyler Moore – Ordinary People
    Anthony Hopkins – Silence of the Lambs
    Kevin Spacey – American Beauty
    Piper Laurie – Carrie
    Marlon Brando – Streetcar Named Desire
    Vivian Leigh – Streetcar Named Desire
    Holly Hunter – The Piano
    Julianne Moore – Far From Heaven
    Ralph Fiennes – Schindler’s List
    Shirley McClaine – Terms of Endearment
    Whoopi Goldberg – The Color Purple
    Naomi Watts – Mulholland Drive
    Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth
    Faye Dunaway – Chinatown
    Helen Mirren – The Queen
    Kate Winslet – Heavenly Creatures
    Jodi Foster – Taxi Driver
    Christoper Walken – The Deer Hunter
    George C Scott – Patton
    Bette Davis – The Letter
    Angelica Huston – The Grifters
    Richard Burton – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe
    Glen Close – Reversal of Fortune
    Timothy Hutton – Ordinary People
    Vivian Leigh – Gone with the Wind
    Peter O’Toole – Lawrence of Arabia
    Faye Dunaway – Bonnie and Clyde
    Steve Buschemi – Fargo
    Sandy Dennis – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe
    Katherine Hepburn – The Lion in Winter
    Denzel Washington – Malcolm X
    Angela Basset – What’s Love Got to Do With It
    Diana Ross – Lady Sings the Blues
    Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
    William H. Macy – Fargo
    Jeff Bridges – The Big Lebowski
    Annette Benning – The Grifters
    George Segal – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe
    Jennifer Jason Leigh – Georgia
    Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There
    Sean Penn – Milk
    Holly Hunter – Raising Arizona
    Emma Thompson – Sense and Sensibility
    Jeremy Irons – Reversal of Fortune
    Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump
    Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada
    John Cusak – The Grifters
    Sally Field – Norma Rae
    Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
    Meryl Streep – One Trye Thing
    Russell Crowe – A Beautiful Mind

  • Jack




  • keifer

    Max Von Sydow – Pelle the Conqueror

    The late Roger Ebert claimed it “a titanic performance” at the time and, I believe, it was his choice for Best Actor.

    Ebert was right. Von Sydow should have won the Oscar in 1988. They gave it to Dustin Hoffman for what I still feel is a rather one-note performance in a predictable film that has not aged all that well in 20 years. I still don’t understand how “Rain Man” even won the Oscar for Best Picture. It’s such a safe, plain choice by the Academy. Grrrrrrr.

  • keifer

    Oh boy, sorry about this, but I just have to also include:

    Mary Tyler Moore – Ordinary People

    Albert Finney – Saturday Night and Sunday Morning / The Dresser

    Maggie Smith – The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

    Ralph Fiennes – Coriolanus

    Sissy Spacek – Missing

    Harrison Ford – Frantic

    Cate Blanchett – Oscar and Lucinda

    Richard Burton – Anne of the Thousand Days

  • keifer

    OMG – I forgot about Jessica Lange in “Frances”.

    That is one of the best performances on film ever!

    It’s unfortunate that Lange was up against Streep in “Sophie’s Choice” that year. Lange could have become the only actress to win both BA and BSA in the same year.

  • Arlo

    It’s probably an unpopular opinion, but I don’t see why everyone is so entranced with Falconetti. Her performance was created in post-production editing. The entire movie just consists of her rolling her head and looking sad, I never got it.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Her performance was created in post-production editing

    Please get informed before exposing yourself like that. But why didn’t you contribute a few of your favorite performances, let’s see which of those were helped by the most cinematic element of the medium, montage. Unless you’re talking about specific scenes which consist of long unbroken shots as in Steve McQueen’s HUNGER or Hitchcock’s ROPE, and those are far from the norm. . Why don’t you contribute a few of your all-time faves? Are they all in that vein?

    Or you can just say that you don’t like THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC which would make more sense.

  • Joao Mattos

    This is both too cool and to difficult to answer. Maybe if the focus was more restrictive, let’s say the best perfomances with less than ten minutes of screen time.

  • steve50


  • rufussondheim

    Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson. Unless you’re a crack addict, you wouldn’t understand.

  • tom

    Please don’t shortchange Geraldine page, the foremost interpretor of the repressed Tennessee Williams heroine (sweet bird of youth, summer and smoke), as well as Trip to Bountiful, and everything else she ever did.
    And, also, the sublime Vanessa redgrave (again, everything she ever did, and keeps on doing).

  • tom

    and Judy Davis, Isabelle Huppert, Miranda Richardson….
    (again, in everything they’ve done)!!!
    ……surely, tilda swinton, too.

  • Kent

    Total agreement about Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice. Also unforgettable are Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful and Shirley Booth in Come Back Little Sheba. Best actor I think is Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • billybob

    Great lists everyone!

    Two that I love that I haven’t seen mentioned:

    Holly Hunter in “Broadcast News”
    Jim Carrey in “Man on the Moon”

  • Duke

    I´m not saying these are the best performances ever, but I believe they are my favorites:

    Female Top 10:
    Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice (1982)
    Vivien Leigh – A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
    Elizabeth Taylor – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
    Bette Davis – Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
    Marion Cotillard – La Vie en Rose (2007)
    Bjork – Dancer in the Dark (2000)
    Isabelle Huppert – The Piano Teacher (2001)
    Fernanda Montenegro – Central Station (1998)
    Liv Ullmann – Autumn Sonata (1978)
    Gloria Swanson – Sunset Blvd (1950)

    Male Top 10:
    Robert De Niro – Raging Bull (1980)
    Marlon Brando – On the Waterfront (1954)
    Dustin Hoffman – Midnight Cowboy (1969)
    Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood (2007)
    Richard Burton – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
    Michael Fassbender – Shame (2011)
    Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
    Joaquin Phoenix – The Master (2012)
    Daniel Auteil – Caché (2005)
    Jack Lemmon – Some Like It Hot (1959)

  • Aaron

    GENA ROWLANDS in A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE…one of the most towering, committed, and heartbreaking performances ever. And her sister companion–Tilda Swinton in Julia–is aces as well.

    Disappointed that there were hardly any foreign language performances mentioned…at least make room for some Bergman regulars, like some have mentioned–Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman in Persona definitely come to mind. Fucking incredible performances from both of them. And also Gunnar Bjornstrand in Winter Light…his performance as a disillusioned pastor facing doubts about his faith has stayed with me for a long time. Monica Vitti in L’Avventurra is pretty damn great as well.

  • manrico1967

    Here’s my list:

    Top 10 Male (No specific order)

    Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
    Jean-Louis Barrault (Children of Paradise)
    Laurence Olivier (Carrie)
    Marlon Brando (On The Waterfront)
    James Mason (Lolita)
    George C. Scott (Patton)
    Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
    Richard Burton (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
    Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs)
    Dustin Hoffman (Tootsie)

    Top 10 Female:

    Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire)
    Bette Davis (All About Eve)
    Olivia de Havilland (The Heiress)
    Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose)
    Norma Aleandro (The Official Story)
    Katharine Hepburn (Alice Adams)
    Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl)
    Isabelle Adjani (The Story of Adele H.)
    Katina Paxinou (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
    Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard)

  • david

    i cant believe nobody mention this performance leo fitzpatrick and justin pierce kids

  • christiannnw

    My personal favorites, by gender.

    1) Holly Hunter (Broadcast News)
    2) Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire)
    3) Vivien Leigh (Gone with the Wind)
    4) Irene Jacob (Three Colors: Red)
    5) Holly Hunter (The Piano)
    6) Setsuko Hara (Late Spring)
    7) Liv Ullmann (Scenes from a Marriage/Saraband)
    8) Meryl Streep (A Cry in the Dark)
    9) Frances McDormand (Fargo)
    10) Maria Falconetti (The Passion of Joan of Arc)

    1) Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II)
    2) Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot)
    3) Peter O’Toole (Lawrence of Arabia)
    4) Jeanne-Pierre Leaud (The 400 Blows)
    5) Marlon Brando (Last Tango in Paris)
    6) Klaus Kinski (Aguirre: the Wrath of God)
    7) Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver)
    8) Dustin Hoffman (Tootsie)
    9) John Hawkes (The Sessions)
    10) Jean-Louis Trintignant (Z)

  • Miles Ridding

    My favourite performances that immediately come to mind are:-

    Genevieve Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days
    Sissy Spacek in Carrie
    Olivia De Havilland in The Snake Pit
    Bette Davis in All About Eve
    Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
    Susan Hayward in I’ll Cry Tomorrow
    James Dean in East of Eden
    Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot
    Peter O’toole in Lawrence of Arabia
    Peter O’toole in The Lion in Winter
    Kim Stanley in Seance on a wet afternoon
    Richard Burton in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days
    Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    Liza Minelli in Cabaret
    Jack Nicholson in One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
    Louise Fletcher in One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
    Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver
    Sissy Spacek in Coal miner’s Daughter
    Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie
    Jessica Lange in Frances
    Shirley Maclaine in Terms of Endearment
    Meryl Streep in Out of Africa
    Holly Hunter in Broadcast News
    Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot
    Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the day
    Madonna in Evita
    Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven
    Heath Ledger in Broke back Mountain
    Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People

  • Bryan

    OMG you read my mind, thank you for mentioning Adjani’s brilliant work in cinema, her performances in Camille Claudel, The Story of Adel H and Le Journee de la Joupe were nothing less of an achievement than any of Streep’s performances. She certainly deserved all 5 of her Cesar wins.

  • Andrew Sidhom

    Names I don’t think have been mentioned so far:

    Harry Dean Stanton – Paris, Texas
    Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator
    Tim Curry & Madeline Kahn – Clue
    Al Pacino – Scarface (haters can hate)
    Joe Pesci – Goodfellas
    Ralph Fiennes – In Bruges
    Ben Kingsley – Gandhi

    Also, I absolutely second …

    Bruno Ganz – Downfall (absolute tour-de force)
    Christophe Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

  • Bryan

    Susan Sarandon/Geena Davis – Thelma & Louise
    Edward Norton – Primal Fear/American History X
    Isabelle Adjani – The Story of Adele H/Camille Claudel
    Albert Finney – The Dresser/Murder on the Oriental Express
    Sissy Spacek – Crimes of the Hearts/In the Bedroom
    F Murray Abraham – Amadeous
    Charlize Theron – Monster
    Holly Hunter – The Piano
    Hilary Swank – Boys don’t Cry
    Judy Davis – A Passage to India/Husbands & Wives
    Julianne Moore – Far from Heaven
    Dustin Hoffman – Tootsie
    Meryl Streep – The Bridges of Madison County
    Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain
    Michael Fassbender – Shame
    Mia Wakikowska – Jane Eyre

  • dinasztie

    JANE FONDA in Klute: My favorite performance ever.

  • julian the emperor

    indeed. one of the best performances in an American indie film of the last 10 years. Gosling’s intuitive skills as an actor gets its best showcase ever in Half Nelson

  • DialMForMovies

    Don’t forget Gena Rowlands’ performance in ‘Opening Night’.
    As brilliant as anything before or after.

    (also special reference to Carey Mulligan in ‘An Education’)

  • Pedro

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love.


  • Paul Voorhies

    God Bless You for including Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven. Hers was an absolutely brilliant performance, sweeping the vast majority of the critics’ awards. She should have won that year!!!

  • Mattoc

    That’ was my first thought.

  • Zilko

    My PERSONAL favorites:

    Robert De Niro- Raging Bull, Taxi Driver,The Godfather part 2
    Al Pacino- The Godfather part 2, Scarface, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico
    Mickey Rourke- The Wrestler, Rumble Fish
    Daniel Day-Lewis- There Will Be Blood, Lincoln
    Leonardo DiCaprio- Shutter Island
    Marlon Brando- On The Waterfront
    James Dean- Rebel Without A Cause
    Naomi Watts- Mulholland Drive
    Bill Murray- Lost in Translation
    Johnny Depp- Ed Wood, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    Denzel Washington- Malcolm X
    Edward Norton- American History X, 25th Hour, Fight Club
    Choi Min-sik- Oldboy
    John Hurt- The Elephant Man
    Malcolm McDowell- A Clockwork Orange
    Tom Hardy- Bronson
    Heath Ledger- The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain
    Michael Fassbender- Shame, Hunger
    Ryan Gosling- Drive, The Place Beyond The Pines, Blue Valentine
    Michelle Williams- Blue Valentine
    Jack Nicholson- The Shining, One Flew
    Matthias Schoenaerts- Rundskop
    Marion Cotillard- La Vie En Rose
    Tom Berenger- Platoon
    Terence Howard- Hustle & Flow
    Benicio Del Toro- The Usual Suspects
    Viggo Mortensen- Eastern Promises
    Mads Mikkelsen- The Hunt
    Rooney Mara/Noomi Rapace- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (equally strong IMO)
    Kate Winslet- Eternal Sunshine

  • Patricia Scarpin

    As for Gosling, I think “Lars and the Real Girl” deserved the spot more than “Blue Valentine”.

  • Igor

    There you go. You’ve lost a reader. Everything is about English-language pictures. You’re stupid and call yourself a cinephile?!

  • steve50

    Fantastic lists and only one negative comment.

    Love these pre-award season posts.

  • caleb roth



  • Mike

    Amen. That performance was emotionally drowning in every level.

  • Mike

    Male: James Dean in East of Eden and Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon
    Female: Vivian Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire and Maria Falconetti in Passion of Joan of Arc.

  • alfie

    why not? that was a beautiful performance. if Frances McDormand’s performance in Fargo is, by consensus, one of the best ever than Paltrow at least deserves not to be ridiculed. I like both of them in a similar way – they both played fictional characters (which I always prefer to real people in biopics when it comes to Oscar), they were charming, and both played in a very witty and interesting movies. still, none of those roles were particularly showy. also McDormand was supporting.

  • Arlo

    I never said I didn’t like it, I just don’t see why it is praised so heavily.

    Dreyer took many, many differing shots and meticulously edited them together to get much of the nuances of Falconetti’s performance in the film. I’m not saying it was a bad performance, I’m just not gaga over it.

  • Reno

    These are actual lists I have (among several), they’re not just off the top of my head.

    1. Marlon Brando — A Streetcar Named Desire [1951]
    2. Humphrey Bogart — Casablanca [1942]
    3. William Holden — Sunset Blvd. [1950]
    4. Robert De Niro — Raging Bull [1980]
    5. Peter Sellers — Dr. Strangelove [1964]
    6. Charlton Heston — Ben-Hur [1959]
    7. Peter O’Toole — Lawrence of Arabia [1962]
    8. Gregory Peck — To Kill a Mockingbird [1962]
    9. Gary Cooper — High Noon [1952]
    10. Daniel Day-Lewis — My Left Foot [1989]

    1. Gloria Swanson — Sunset Blvd. [1950]
    2. Vivien Leigh — Gone with the Wind [1939]
    3. Katharine Hepburn — The Philadelphia Story [1940]
    4. Bette Davis — What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? [1962]
    5. Ingrid Bergman — Casablanca [1942]
    6. Meryl Streep — Sophie’s Choice [1982]
    7. Celia Johnson — Brief Encounter [1945]
    8. Elizabeth Taylor — Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [1966]
    9. Arletty — Children of Paradise [1945]
    10. Barbara Stanwyck — Double Indemnity [1944]

    1. Laurence Olivier — Marathon Man [1976]
    2. Robert De Niro — The Godfather Part II [1974]
    3. Claude Rains — Casablanca [1942]
    4. Al Pacino — The Godfather [1972]
    5. Christopher Walken — The Deer Hunter [1978]
    6. Martin Landau — Ed Wood [1994]
    7. Ralph Fiennes — Schindler’s List [1993]
    8. Alec Guinness — Kind Hearts and Coronets [1949]
    9. Kevin Spacey — The Usual Suspects [1995]
    10. Walter Huston — The Treasure of the Sierra Madre [1948]

    1. Angela Lansbury — The Manchurian Candidate [1962]
    2. Patty Duke — The Miracle Worker [1962]
    3. Lillian Gish — The Night of the Hunter [1955]
    4. Marie Dressler — Dinner at Eight [1933]
    5. Eva Marie Saint — On the Waterfront [1954]
    6. Katie Johnson — The Ladykillers [1956]
    7. Janet Leigh — Psycho [1960]
    8. Jean Hagen — Singin’ in the Rain [1952]
    9. Lynn Redgrave — Gods and Monsters [1998]
    10. Mercedes Ruehl — The Fisher King [1991]

  • Phil

    Not yet made a list of male performances, but did start female a bit. Not really complete, but these stick out most in my mind as of now

    Barbara Stanwyck – Double Indemnity/Ball Of Fire
    Joan Fontaine – Letter from an Unknown Woman
    Maggie Smith – Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie
    Gloria Swanson – Sunset Boulevard
    Katharine Hepburn – The Philadelphia Story
    Greta Garbo – Ninotchka/Anna Karenina
    Julie Christie – Darling / Doctor Zhivago
    Ingred Bergman – Autumn Sonata
    Imelda Staunton – Vera Drake
    Kate Winslet – Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
    Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice/Deer Hunter/ pretty much everything really
    Audrey Hepburn – A Nun’s Story
    Ellen Burstyn – Requiem For A Dream
    Ava Gardner – Mogambo
    Jane Fonda – Klute
    Emma Thompson – The Remains Of The Day
    Kristen Scott Thomas – English Patient
    Emily Watson – Hilary And Jackie
    Marion Cotillard – La Vie En Rose
    Glen Close – Fatal Attraction
    Naomi Watts – 21 Grams

  • Pedro

    It’s one of my favourites. Not joking.

  • JMGaul_FM

    On the opposite side, it frustrates me when a lot of us film snobs refuse to believe any American film can include a great performance just because its American. Falconetti? Yeah..amazing. But while she shows power through her face and wordless acting, people like Streep have to do it through words, too AND have to do it while there are thousands of films premiering at the same time. They rise above a drop in the ocean. Why can’t we respect that?

    Yeah…the list is American-centric. Who gives a shit?? We America do have millions or shitty actors, but we did produce a shitload of legends, too.

  • Simon Warrasch

    My Heart says:

    For Male: Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain”

    For Female: Emily Watson in “Breaking the Waves”

  • Simon Warrasch

    I totally agree with you Simon! : )

  • Simon Warrasch

    But also there are soooooo many remarkable performances and it doesn’t matter if it is a Lead or a Support Performance from an Actor or an Actress wich i couldn’t find in any comment! For Example:

    Susanne Lothar “Funny Games”
    Goldie Hawn “Overboard”
    Ursula Werner “Wolke 9”
    Milan Peschel und Steffie Kühnert “Halt auf freier Strecke”
    Emilie Dequenne “A Perdre la Raison”
    Oksana Akinshina “Lilja 4-ever”
    Charlotte Gainsbourg “Antichrist”
    Don Cheadle “Hotel Rwanda”
    Javier Bardem “Biutiful”
    Michael Nyqvist “Sa som i himmelen”
    William Hurt and Elizabeth Perkins “The Doctor”
    Cameron Diaz “There’s something about Mary”
    Birgit Minichmayer “Alle Anderen”
    Sibel Kekilli und Birol Ünel “Gegen die Wand”
    Monica Bleibtreu und Nina Kunzendorf “Marias letzte Reise”
    Edward Norton “25th Hour”
    Bill Murray “Grundhog Day”
    Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus “What about Bob?”
    Bill Murray “Rushmore”
    Emily Blunt “The Devil wears Prada”
    Naomi Watts “The Impossible”

    The List goes on and on…

  • julian the emperor

    Jesus? Who said that? But 99 out of 100…even if you’re an American patriot (or downright ignoramus) wouldn’t you say that is probably stretching it!?

    I’m really surprised, frankly, that there hasn’t been more commenters taking a firm stand against the incredible bias of Sasha’s list.

    Mattoc, Paddy and me the only opposition? Really?

    I find Sasha’s list ok if it was branded as “best AMERICAN performances of all time”. For that, it would be quite a good selection (even though I would have gone for Meryl in Silkwood instead of the three mentioned and with The Insider for Crowe to name a few disagreements)

  • Simon Warrasch

    And not to forget:

    Maggie Gyllenhaal “Secretary” and “Sherrybaby”
    Adepero Oduye “Pariah”

    As you can see, the list goes on and on …

  • Simon Warrasch

    I knew it, if i will start i can not stop! :)

    Robin Williams “Dead Poets Society”
    Robin Williams “Good Will Hunting”
    Robin Williams “Patch Adams”
    Robin Williams “Mrs Doubtfire”
    Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renee Zellweger “Jerry Maguire”
    Peter Saarsgard “Boys don’t cry”
    Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo “You can count on me”
    The whole cast of “The Decent”
    Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick “The Woodsman”
    Sam Rockwell “Moon”
    Claire Danes “Rome and Julia”

    So now i have to stop! : )

  • Alessandro

    James Stewart – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

  • Soeren Langelund

    Oh – I forgot one, who no-one has yet mentioned, as far as I can tell:

    JIM CAVIEZEL in The Passion of the Christ!

    Love or hate the movie, his underrated performance is among the strongest I can recall from this millinium – he deeply touched me in a Falconetti’ish way.

  • keifer

    Back in the ’70s, there was an organization formed by Ely Landau called American Film Theater Wing. There were some stunning performances in the movies produced on this “subscription only” basis:

    Paul Scofield and Katharine Hepburn – A Delicate Balance

    Glenda Jackson and Susannah York – The Maids

    Alan Bates – Butley

    Stacy Keach – Luther

    Maximilian Schell – The Man in the Glass Booth

    James Whitmore – Give em Hell Harry

    Absolutely stunning work by these actors in “stagy” productions, but worth preserving on film. Definitely.

    I believe James Whitmore holds a unique place in Academy Award history. He is the only actor to appear in a film to be nominated for Best Actor as the lone credit. It’s his performance alone that you are watching throughout.

  • Phil

    Jack Lemmon – Some Like It Hot / The Apartment
    George C. Scott – Patton
    John Hurt – The Elephant Man
    Marlon Brando – On The Waterfront
    William Holden – Sunset Boulevard
    Martin Sheen – Apocalypse Now
    Peter Sellers – Dr. Strangelove
    Laurence Olivier – Henry V / Rebecca
    Edward Norton – American History X
    Orson Welles – The Third Man
    Cary Grant – The Philadelphia Story
    James Stewart – Vertigo
    Clark Gable – Gone With The Wind
    Henry Fonda – Grapes Of Wrath / 12 Angry Men
    Daniel Day Lewis – My Left Foot / There Will Be Blood
    Richard Burton – Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? / Becket
    Alan Rickman – Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
    Michael Caine – Hannah And Her Sisters
    Robert De Niro – Raging Bull
    Gregory Peck – To Kill A Mockingbird
    Rex Harrison – My Fair Lady
    Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

  • TOM

    The only performance, male or female, better than Meryl’s Streep/Sophie’s Choice is, of course, Anne Hathaway’s in Les Miserables.

  • Roel

    Dustin Hoffman–Rainman/Tootsie
    Viola Davis–The Help
    Angela Bassett–What’s Love Got to Do with It
    Glenn Close-Fatal Attraction/The World According to Garp
    Jennifer Hudson–Dreamgirls
    Octavia Spencer–The Help
    Barbra Striesand–The Way We Were
    Julianne Moore-The Hours/Far From Heaven/Magnolia/Boogie Nights
    Nicole Kidman–The Others/The Hours
    Catherine Zeta Jones—Chicago
    Meryl Streep–The Hours/Doubt/Devil Wears Prada
    Lynn Redgrave–Gods and Monsters
    Charlize Theron–Monster
    Javier Bardem–Biutiful/No Country for Old Men
    Jake Gyllenhaal–Brokeback Mountain
    Cate Blanchett–Notes on a Scandal
    Dame Judi Dench–Notes on a Scandal
    Debra Winger–Terms of Endearment/Urban Cowboy
    Tom Cruise–Magnolia/Rainman/Born on the Fourth of July

  • keifer

    If I had to pick just one performance to send into outer space to another planet or people to view, then it would be Gregory Peck’s performance in “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

    The right actor in the right role at the right time.

    I saw him on stage once, and he said that it was his personal favorite.

    Peck was seamlessly at ease with the character of Atticus Finch and embodied that character in heart and soul and mind.

    What more could you ask for?

  • FilmFan

    Helen Hunt?!? Are you serious?!? In my opinion that is the worst Best Actress Oscar win in history.

  • RJ

    For me, these are the best performances of these late years

    Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves
    Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive
    Björk, Dancer in the Dark
    Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher
    Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
    Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation
    Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom
    Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom
    Meryl Streep, Adaptation./The Hours/Devil Wears Prada/Doubt
    Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
    Nicole Kidman, The Others/The Hours/Dogville/Birth
    Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist/Melancholia
    Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson/Lars and the Real Girl/Blue Valentine/Drive
    Rinko Kikuchi, Babel
    Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind/Little Children/Revolutionary Road
    Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
    Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal/I’m Not There
    Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
    Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
    Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton/I Am Love/We Need to Talk about Kevin
    Joaquin Phoenix, Two Lovers/The Master
    Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy
    Colin Firth, A Single Man
    Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
    Penélope Cruz, Volver/Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls/No Country for Old Men/Biutiful
    Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven/The Hours/A Single Man
    Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
    Natalie Portman, Black Swan
    Barbara Hershey, Black Swan
    Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
    Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
    Michael Fassbender, Shame
    Carey Mulligan, Shame
    Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
    Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
    Charlize Theron, Monster/Young Adult
    Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose/Inception/Rust and Bone
    Jessica Chastain, Tree of Life/Zero Dark Thirty
    Anna Paquin, Margaret
    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour

  • RJ

    Forgot to include

    Saoirse Ronan, Atonement

  • Q Mark

    * Seen only a couple of Orson Welles mentions here, which is a shame yet kind of understandable. It’s like the guy was such a filmmaking icon that you almost kind of forget that (oh by the way) he was also a supremely gifted actor. If another person had written/directed/produced Citizen Kane and Welles had only acted, he would still have become an instant icon in that role. Let’s also not overlook Welles in The Third Man or Touch Of Evil.

    * Takashi Shimura in Ikiru, a performance that makes me cry every single time.

  • Chance

    YES, to Michelle as Catwoman. Absolutely. First time I saw her in an interview and realized she wasn’t any of the three versions of Selina that she played in Batman Returns, I was in shock.

  • Sato

    Rinko KIKUCHI – Babel

    Audrey HEPBURN – Wait Until Dark

    Michael FASSBENDER – Shame

    Nora AUNOR – Himala

    Li GONG – Raise the Red Lantern

    Gloria SWANSON – Sunset Boulevard

    Martin LANDAU – Ed Wood

  • Miles Ridding

    Unbelievbly I didn’t include Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter. Also I would include Michael Fassbender in Shame.
    Looking at everyone’s lists I’m just reminded of so many other wonderful performances.
    My favourite performance of all time, however, is Sissy Spacek in Carrie.

  • Simon Warrasch

    OK one more! : )

    Because i can not stop without mentionining Performances which have blown me away.

    Cher, Eric Stoltz “Mask” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Nicole Kidman, Patrica Clarkson “Dogville”
    Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt, Hunter McCracken “The Tree of Life”
    Jessica Chastain, Michael Shannon “Take Shelter”
    Emile Hirsch, Catherine Keener, Hal Hoolbrok “Into the Wild”!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sharlto Copley “District 9”
    Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale “I’m not there”
    Rosie Perez, Jeff Bridges “Fearless”
    Rosie Perez “It could happen to you”
    Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett “My Best Friends Wedding”
    Cameron Diaz “Vanilla Sky”
    Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins “The Shawshank Redemption”
    Sigorney Weaver “Aliens” “Gorillas in the Mist”
    Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey “7”
    Guy Pearce, Carie Ann Moss “Memento”
    Markus Krojer ” Wer früher stirbt ist länger tot”
    Anna Chlumsky “My Girl” (Every time i watch that little girl, i cry my eyes out!)

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    Just some favorites. Great, actually…
    All having achieved the gold standard:

    Diane Keaton — “Shoot the Moon” “Reds”
    Jane Fonda — “Julia”
    Vanessa Redgrave — “Camelot”
    Albert Finney — “Tom Jones” “Scrooge”
    Jack Lemmon — “Glengarry Glen Ross”
    Mimi Rogers — “The Rapture”
    John Cazale — “The Godfather I and II”
    Daniel Day Lewis — “The Crucible”
    Lawrence Olivier — “Richard III”
    Deborah Kerr — “The King and I”
    Giulietta Masina — “La Strada”
    Agnes Moorehead — “Magnificent Ambersons”
    Ed Harris — “The Right Stuff”
    Merle Oberon — “Wuthering Heights”
    Spencer Tracy — “Inherit the Wind”
    Joan Allen — “The Crucible”
    Winona Ryder — “The Crucible”
    Paul Scofield — “The Crucible”
    Kirk Douglas — “Spartacus”
    Donald Sutherland — “JFK” “Ordinary People”
    Howard Rollins Jr. — “Ragtime”
    Clark Gable — “Gone With the Wind”
    Mildred Natwick — “Barefoot in the Park”
    Lawrence Olivier — “Carrie”
    Gary Cooper — “Pride of the Yankees” “Meet John Doe”
    Sissy Spacek — “‘night Mother”
    Jennifer Jones — “Song of Bernadette”
    Anthony Perkins — “Psycho”
    Anthony Quinn — “Lawrence of Arabia”
    Rita Moreno — “West Side Story”
    Ron Moody — “Oliver”
    Treat Williams — “HAIR”
    Jeffrey Jones — “Amadeus”
    Steve Martin — “All of Me”
    Richard Burton — “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”
    Lawrence Harvey — “Manchurian Candidate”
    Fred Ward — “The Right Stuff”
    Veronica Cartwright — “The Right Stuff”
    Jeff Daniels — “The Purple Rose of Cairo”
    Mia Farrow — “The Purple Rose of Cairo”
    Peter O’Toole — “My Favorite Year” “Lion in Winter”
    Sophia Loren — “Man of La Mancha”
    Meryl Streep — “A Cry in the Dark”
    Alistaire Sim — “A Christmas Carol”
    Diane Weist — “Bullets Over Broadway”
    Jimmy Stewart — “Vertigo”

  • Dan

    Some that come to mind as the best ever: Not in order and certainly not the full list

    Martin Sheen/Marlon Brando “Apocalypse Now”
    Sigourney Weaver “Aliens”
    Gary Oldman “Leon- The Professional”
    Heath Ledger “Dark Knight”
    Al Pacino “Godfather 2”
    Robert DeNiro “Raging Bull”
    Daniel Day Lewis “There Will Be Blood”
    Jack Nicholson “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
    Paul Newman “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
    Ralph Fiennes “The English Patient”
    Tommy Lee Jones “The Fugitive” and “No Country For Old Men”
    Clint Eastwood “The Good the Bad and the Ugly” and “Million Dollar Baby”
    Hilary Swank “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby”
    Morgan Freeman “Shawshank Redemption”
    Naomi Watts “Mulholland Drive”

  • Simon Warrasch

    I can not believe that i have forgotten

    Natalie Portman in “Leon – The Professional”
    Natalie Portman and Clive Owen – Closer

    Sorry Natalie!

  • Uncle Jay

    I agree with MANY choices both Sasha and others made, so I’m going to name some of my own that I haven’t seen mentioned yet.

    Kathy Bates, “Misery”
    Sandra Bernhard, “The King of Comedy”
    David Carradine, “Kill Bill Vol. 2”
    Sean Connery, “The Untouchables”
    Dominic Cooper, “The Devil’s Double”
    Kevin Costner, “A Perfect World”
    Russell Crowe, “The Insider”
    Tom Cruise, “Magnolia”
    Robert Downey Jr., “Natural Born Killers” & “Tropic Thunder”
    Clint Eastwood, “Heartbreak Ridge” & “Unforgiven”
    Harrison Ford, “The Mosquito Coast”
    Robert Forster, “Jackie Brown”
    Paul Giamatti, “Private Parts”
    Jeff Goldblum, “The Fly”
    Ed Harris, “Pollock”
    Michael Keaton, “Beetlejuice” & “Clean and Sober”
    Val Kilmer, “The Doors” & “Tombstone”
    Jason Lee, “Chasing Amy”
    Michael Lerner, “Barton Fink”
    Jerry Lewis, “The King of Comedy”
    Juliette Lewis, “Natural Born Killers”
    Ray Liotta, “Something Wild” & “Narc”
    John Lithgow, “The World According to Garp”
    Steve Martin, “Little Shop of Horrors”
    Nick Nolte, “Q&A” & “Affliction”
    Gary Oldman, “State of Grace”
    Alan Rickman, “Die Hard”
    Mickey Rourke, “Sin City”
    Kurt Russell, “Dark Blue”, “Miracle” & “Death Proof”
    George C. Scott, “Dr. Strangelove”
    Robert Shaw, “Jaws”
    Jon Voight, “Runaway Train”
    Kate Winslet, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

  • TC

    Just about everything Gong Li was in …

  • Luis

    You’re right. Dangerous Laisions was the BEST movie that year, and the best performances were Von Sydow and Close!

  • Lucas Prata

    I don’t know how to list best performances I’ve ever seen, but I would definitly include Mo’Nique in Precious and Meryl Streep in Doubt.

    I still think her performance in Doubt was better than in Sophie’s Choice.

  • Mac

    Olivia de Havilland’s character arc in The Heiress should have been impossible to pull off, but it wasn’t.

    Marlon Brando’s performance in On the Waterfront is a revelation.

    Bette Davis delivers her lines to perfection in All About Eve.

    Maria Falconetti is radiant in The Passion of Joan of Arc.

    Al Pacino’s desperation in Dog Day Afternoon put me on edge.

    Walter Huston, as a steadfast husband in Dodsworth, was incredibly dignified and incredibly honest.

    Mo’nique may only have one performance worth raving about, but Precious will hold up for years to come because of it.

    Mary Tyler Moore’s grieving, icy mother in Ordinary People broke my heart.

    Gene Kelly was effortless joy in Singin’ in the Rain.

    And Viktor Sjostrom’s vivid dreams and heartfelt memories underline his magnificent work in Wild Strawberries.

  • tom


  • tom


  • tom

    …and rosie perez for do the right thing.

  • tom

    entire cast of THE HOURS: kidman, streep, moore, richardson, harris, reilly, dillane, janney, collette

  • tom

    beatty/dunaway,hackman/parsons in bonnie & clyde.
    Hoffman and Bancroft in the graduate.
    Karen black in 5 easy pieces and day of the locust.
    shelley duvall in three women.

  • tom

    DEBORAH KERR in from here to eternity, separate tables, night of the iguana.

  • tom

    GLENDA JACKSON in women in love, sunday bloody sunday, etc

  • AJ Wright

    Can everyone just chill the f**k out and be respectful to Sasha?! She said before the list that this was HER opinion and AwardsDaily is her blog, not the AFI. If you disagree with her, add some performances to the comments section, but to spew a bunch of negativity chastising her for not picking enough foreign performances…how is that beneficial!? Start your own blog if you want to champion what you want to champion. And stop reading hers if you think she’s so awful.

  • Simon Warrasch

    And also not to forget:

    Richard Farnsworth in “The Straight Story”
    (He should have won the Oscar in 2000!)
    Maricel Alvarez “Biutiful”
    Tilda Swinton “The Deep End”
    Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck “The Assasination of Jasse James by …”
    Tommy Lee Jones “In the Valley of Elah”
    Johnny Depp , Dianne Wiest, Winona Ryder “Edward Scissorhands”
    Winona Ryder, Cher, Christina Ricci “Mermaids”
    The whole Cast of “Girl Interrupted”

  • Silencio

    I second In America. DH and SM especially.

  • Silencio

    Can’t forget her, ever.

  • alex

    liv ullman in face to face…amazing…

  • Kate

    Diane Lane, Unfaithful

  • Ryan Adams

    Late to the party.

    Let’s look at the obvious clue that’s key to this list

    The only foreign language performance named on Sasha’s list was “Oscar darling, Emmanuelle Riva.”

    Hey how about that. Does it occur to anyone that Sasha’s is listing her favorite OSCAR-NOMINATED PERFORMANCES?

    I know the original headline didn’t say so. A good Assistant Editor would have adjusted that headline right away to reflect what I know Sasha intended.

    But I was away from the desk all day long and by the time I got back home it was already too late to step in to prevent 100 stab wounds from readers with their knives out.

    We’ve added ‘Oscar’ to the headline now.

    Look at that list again. Virtually every name on it was an Oscar Nominee. Very few exceptions.

    I should have stepped up days ago to clarify that obvious fact — but actually the discussion was humming along just fine with all the pitchforks and flaring torches lighting up the night sky.


    One sure-fire way to kill the discussion is if we somehow manage to construct a post that is so airtight and comprehensive it leaves no room for anybody to argue or add anything.

    Whenever I build a list for a poll I usually just sketch in the basic framework. It’s far more fun for me and readers if we leave gaps in lists so that people are motivated to help us out.

    Sasha’s list of favorite performances was almost exclusively
    The Best Oscar Performances of All Time

    I would have expected somebody to see that sooner, and point it out in Sasha’s defense. But since nobody did, I’m doing it now.

  • Devil’s Advocate

    I agree with you, Pedro. “Shakespeare In Love” is one of my favorite films of the past 15 years and I love Gwyneth in it. It’s a much trickier role than people are willing to admit and she made it look effortless.

  • steve50

    Great! Title Change – now most of us look like we are grads of The Rex Reed Academy of Film Facts ‘n Stuff

    At least the title of the post now isn’t Film Characters I Consult Before I Get Dressed in the Morning

  • Ryan Adams

    ha, I know. It’s bad to redefine the parameters at this late date but I feel sure this is more what Sasha had in mind. (I didn’t ask).

    Anybody who reads this far will understand what happened.

    I can insert a note at the top of the comment column too.

  • steve50

    Actually, you should switch it up on us sometimes. Could make for some riotous reading.

    e.g. Who gave the best supporting performance of all time becomes My secret fantasy is with…

    (trying to be light – zimmergate has me down)

  • Logan Smith


    TOM HANKS, PHILADELPHIA (maybe this was on the list)

  • julian the emperor

    Hmm…the editor-in-chief should have pointed that out in the accompanying text (she had every opportunity to do so).
    What does it mean…with a few exceptions?? Why a few exceptions? Didn’t she bother to check the facts or are there so few good performances outside of the Oscar realm that she just couldn’t bother?

    I appreciate you trying to clarify this, Ryan, but I still think this looks weird. There have been LOTS of foreign language performances nominated for Oscars through the years, so even if that was the criteria it is still a very curious omission to leave out every single global star of cinema.

    And were there really hundreds of knives and pitchforks going for Sasha’s throat afterwards? Hardly, if the commenters’ section is anything to go by. I counted three. Me, Paddy and Mattoc.

    The real surprise for me was that 95% of the commenters couldn’t bother to voice a complaint about an America-centric list like this and/or only had the urge to mention other American performances to go with Sasha’s.

  • Ryan Adams

    What does it mean…with a few exceptions?? Why a few exceptions? Didn’t she bother to check the facts or are there so few good performances outside of the Oscar realm that she just couldn’t bother?

    The note about “a few exceptions” is my note and I’ll initial it to make that clear.

    This is a casual personal off-the-cuff list Sasha made to spark discussion. It was never intended to be all-inclusive comprehensive exhaustive PhD thesis. It ends with an invitation to join the fun: “What would be your list? Or more importantly, whom have I left off?”

    The most cursory glance should have told anyone that the list is Oscar-centric. If you need another clue, look around — you’re on an Oscar-centric blog.

    Another glance would find a few exceptions that slipped through the Oscar cracks. Can we not assume that these would be performances that would have been on the cusp of Oscar conversations those years but just missed making the cut? Or do we want to play gotcha and try to make this into some sort of trap to catch Sasha playing fast and loose.

    Good grief. Are we really going to spend another 4 hours trying to negotiate the terms and specific scope of what was simply intended to be a happy tribute to personal favorites before it got dragged down to scorn and finger-pointing recriminations.

    Yes yes yes yes so Sophia Loren got left off this list. The illustrious Roberto Benigni is also MIA. So? Maybe those names did not spring to Sasha’s mind that afternoon.

    I’m glad we didn’t carve this list in granite because the jackhammer required for you to bust it up would give me a headache.

    Sasha asks: “What would be your list? Or more importantly, whom have I left off?”

    I thought that was a nice invitation for reader interaction and collaboration.

  • Ryan Adams

    “so even if that was the criteria it is still a very curious omission to leave out every single global star of cinema.”

    Marcello Mastroianni and Anna Magnani relegated the VIP anteroom with Jimmy Stewart and Joan Crawford. I really don’t see what’s so tragic or outrageous about a list Oscar winners of that’s 95% American. It reflects the reality of the Oscars.

    pauvre Michel Hazanavicius

  • Ryan Adams

    There have been LOTS of foreign language performances nominated for Oscars through the years,

    Maybe it would be therapeutic if you want to list them so we can see how they compare to Nicholson, Brando, Meryl Streep and Vivien Leigh.

  • Henry Z.

    I strongly disagree with Mary Tyler Moore. It didn’t feel like any extraordinary performance. If anything, Donald Sutherland should’ve been nominated and not her.

    Timothy Hutton, however, was impeccable in his performance that was more of a lead.

  • julian the emperor

    Ryan, I don’t even understand your agenda at this point. Never mind. You clarify in your note at the top of the page, that many more foreign actors should have been Oscar-nominated and now you want me to name you some…? There is an inconsistency there that is a bit beyond me…

    But to answer your question: Liv Ullmann has been nominated twice. I would definitely rank her performances over Nicholson and Streep at least. She should have been nominated 18 times, though (if the Streep precedent is anything to go by). Sophia Loren is a no-brainer. Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimee, Isabelle Adjani, Ingrid Bergman (for Autumn Sonata), Max Von Sydow (Pelle the Conqueror), Fernanda Montenegro (Central Station). Just to name some actual nominees, but leaving out all those that should have been in contention (which, after all, was the original premise: what’s the best performance ever, not the best oscar performance)

  • Ryan Adams

    You clarify in your note at the top of the page, that many more foreign actors should have been Oscar-nominated and now you want me to name you some…?

    That’s not quite right. It would be interesting if the Oscars had been nominating one or two foreign actors per year for the last half century, but they don’t because the Oscars were never about honoring more than a few token foreign performances outside the ‘ghetto’ they’ve created specifically to corral foreign talent.

    I never suggested more foreign actors should have been nominated. I say that the Oscars have chosen not to do so (perversely) — just as Sasha chose not to do so (innocently).

    Good call on Liv Ullmann. It’s possible that Liv Ullmann slipped Sasha’s mind when she put her list together — or, who knows, maybe some people don’t think as highly as Liv Ullmann as you do. Is that ok with you?

    I don’t have any agenda. All I’m saying is this: If you think any of us are forgetting to name the foreign actors that the Oscars have seen fit to nominate, then here’s your chance to just Name Them Yourself.

    Nobody else seems to be so hung up about what the rest of us have neglected to omit. Readers just dive right in and fill in the gaps. Why can’t you just do that instead of turning this into a finger-wagging lesson about what Sasha chose not to do?

    My agenda? My agenda is to try to gently steer you away from trying to tell us what we should be writing about.

    And if you feel the site is missing something, then I invite you pitch in and help fill the gaps that bug you. Like everybody else does. Without battling and nagging about it. ok?

  • Sonja

    Excellent choices so far. Sophie’s Choice still haunts me… Ugh.
    I would include Crissy Rock for “Ladybird, Ladybird” because it was so heartbreaking.
    And Mia Farrow for “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The purple Rose of Cairo”.

  • Patryk

    Dame Edith Evans in “The Whisperers,” 1967

  • Mac

    I’m just wondering, then, why does she leave off some very obvious winners/nominees? Such as: Thelma Ritter (Pickup on South Street), Olivia de Havilland (The Heiress), Joan Fontaine (Rebecca), Walter Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre), Angela Lansbury (The Manchurian Candidate), George Sanders (All About Eve), Joan Crawford (Mildred Pierce), or Judith Anderson (Rebecca)? Truly, her list skews post 1960’s nominees, except for an obvious few.

    I’ve always thought that Sasha was a feminist, but I rarely see her acknowledge some of the most actress-friendly directors ever in George Cuckor or William Wyler. They have no counterparts today, which is a shame because the melodrama and comedies those two offered would be a welcome addition to the current movie landscape. Alexander Payne, Jason Reitman, and David O. Russell come close to respecting their actresses enough to provide them with parts that are more than just the wife/girlfriend, but their female protagonists are still few and far between. The Coens gave Hailee Steinfeld a shot and it wielded fantastic results… Frances MacDormand, too. I just wish they would do it more often.

  • Nic V

    Simone Signoret Diabolique/Madame Rosa
    Sophia Loren Marriage Italian Style/Two Women/Blood Feud
    Anna Magnani Open City
    Marcello Mastroianni A Special Day
    Toshiro Mifune Ran
    Isabelle Huppert The Story of Women
    Daniel Day Lewis Lincoln
    Katharine Hepburn Long Day’s Journey Into Night
    Olivia de Havilland The Heiress/The Snake Pit
    Paulette Goddard Hold Back the Dawn
    Agnes Moorehead The Magnificent Ambersons
    Spencer Tracy Captains Courageous
    Richard Burton Becket/Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
    Elizabeth Taylor Cat on a Hot Tin Roof/Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
    Peter O’Toole Becket/The Stunt Man
    Shelley Winters A Patch of Blue
    Imelda Staunton Vera Drake
    Isabelle Adjani The Story of Adele H
    Virna Lisi Queen Margot
    Dirk Bogarde Death in Venice
    Giancarlo Gianninni Seven Beauties
    Gary Cooper Friendly Persuasion
    Gregory Peck Gentleman’s Agreement/To Kill a Mockingbird
    Meryl Streep Ironweed
    Glenn Close Dangerous Liasions
    Holly Hunter The Piano
    Deborah Kerr The Sundowners
    Betty Field The Southerner
    Zachary Scott The Southerner
    Henry Fonda Twelve Angry Men
    Robert De Niro Raging Bull
    Julianne Moore Far From Heaven
    Kate Winslet The Reader
    Jane Fonda Klute

  • Patrick

    Strongly concur on the inclusion of the cast of In America. Shatteringly good performances.

  • Patrick

    You’ll never think of her as Jessica Fletcher or Mrs. Potts again. Brilliantly evil.

  • Danilo

    Marion Cotillard in LA VIE EN ROSE. Best performance ever for me.

  • Patrick

    My additions for consideration

    The cast of A Separation
    Holly Hunter in Broadcast News
    Catherine O’Hara in A Mighty Wind
    Joan Allen in Searching for Bobby Fisher
    Mekhi Phifer in Clockers
    Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy and Pruitt Taylor Vince in Nobody’s Fool
    Natalie Portman in The Professional
    Patricia Clarkson in The Station Agent
    Chris Cooper in Lone Star
    Brendan Gleeson in The Guard
    Kenneth Branagh in Henry V

  • Felipe Mejia

    Sasha, you forgot 3 great ones:

    Hillary Swank – Boys don’t cry
    Charlitze -Theron-Monster and one of the very best for me:
    Marion Cotillard – La vie en rose

  • Felipe Mejia

    Sasha, you forgot 3 great ones:

    Hillary Swank – Boys don’t cry
    Charlitze Theron – Monster
    and one of the very best for me:
    Marion Cotillard – La vie en rose

  • efe

    I’m so glad you included Louise Fletcher my fav performance of all time

  • tom

    wow, nic: some great additions! I especially like s.winters for “patch” (e.hartman, too), and i.staunton for v.drake. BRAVO!!!

  • menyc

    Totally agree. Devastating performance.

  • menyc

    I really do not know why you have to be so bitter and mean spirited. Instead of being a complete bitch, why can’t you share the amazing non-English speaking roles with everyone. That’s the reason I have enjoyed AD (and preAD) for a decade: to learn. Once any of us know everything, it’s time to just give up. Ugh.

  • kevin

    OMG!!!!! how could they forget Marion Cotillards amazing performance. Probably the best I have ever seen next to Meryl’s in Sophie’s Choice

  • kevin

    I absolutely agree! That seen when she is running down the hall looking for her lover still gives me chills

  • Danilo

    It’s a role with so many layers and it has all the ingredients needed for a great performance, but it had to have a great actress doing it. I hadn’t heard about Marion until that and the I became a big fan of her. I cryed and shouted like a crazy person when she won that Oscar. Hope she continue accomplishing great performances as she’s been doing.

  • Cinememoire

    Great acting (part One)
    Holger Löwenadle Lacombe, Lucien
    Marília Pêra in Pixote
    Tsilla Chelton in Tatie Danielle
    Anna Magnani in Roma, citta aperta
    Michel Serreault in La cage aux folles
    Hattie McDaniel in Gone with the wind (First black actress to win an oscar)
    Butterfly McQueen in Gone with the wind
    Carmen Maura in Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios
    Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy
    Vanessa Redgrave in The Bostonians, Isadora, The Trojan Women
    Adrian Brody in The Pianist
    Anouk Aimée Un homme et une femme
    Liv Ullman for The Emigrants and Unto a Good Land
    Marie-Josee Croze for Les invasions barbares
    Jean-Louis Trintignant for Il Conformista and Amour
    Maribel Verdú for El laberinto del fauno
    Ivana Baquero for El laberinto del fauno
    Victoire Thivisol for Ponette
    Ida Kaminska for Obchod na korze (The Shop on the Main Street)
    Peter O’toole for the Stunt Man
    Forest Whitaker for The Crying Game and The Last King of Scotland
    Imelda Staunton for Vera Drake
    Luis Tosar for Celda 211
    Norma Aleandro for La Historia oficial
    Gerard Depardieu for Danton, Novecento, Cyrano de Bergerac
    Ingrid Bergman for Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata)
    Miou-Miou for Dites-lui que je l’aime, Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000, La dérobade (Great french actress)
    Debra Winger (Terms of endearment)
    Glenda Jackson for Women in Love, Sunday, Bloody Sunday
    Chunibala Devi for Pather Panchali (haunting performance)
    Al Pacino for The Godfather
    Jeanne Moreau for Jules et Jim
    Marie-France Pisier for Cousin, Cousine
    Holly Hunter for The Firm

    Alain Vezina

  • Karl

    Marion Cotillard: La Vie en Rose/Nine/Rust and Bone

  • FrankieJ

    Jane Fonda–KLUTE
    Jane Fonda–COMING HOME

  • JonA

    Marion Cotillard: La Vie en Rose
    Kirsten Dunst: Interview With The Vampire/Melancholia
    Natalie Portman: The Professional/Closer
    Charlize Theron: Monster/Young Adult
    Alicia Silverstone: Clueless
    Imelda Staunton: Vera Drake
    Michelle Pfeiffer: Batman Returns/The Fabulous Baker Boys
    Rooney Mara: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

  • soryaya

    Way late cuz I just came back from vaycay but two performances that are constantly overlooked but understandable considering the roles and not mentioned too much here These performancces are in a different galaxy:

    Dame Judith Ander Anderson / Rebecca
    Charlize Theron / Monster

  • CoderNolan

    Top 5

    Random Order

    Renée Jeanne Falconetti – The Passin of Joan of Arc
    Lamberto Maggiorani & Enzo Staiola – Bicycle Thives
    Vanessa Redgrave – Isadora
    Robert Mitchum – The Night of the Hunter
    Marion Cotillard- La Vie en Rose

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