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Stars Who Won the Oscar for Their Best Performance


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Obviously, the Oscars have always had a popularity/political aura around them, and stars have frequently been handed out makeup Oscars, or given the Oscar for an undeserving role, while being snubbed for better performances in the past or future.


So what are some Oscars that were handed out for a star's best performance? Here are some I came up with. I wanted to limit the list to classic stars, and ones that I felt confident were that star's best performance. Naturally, it's very subjective, but that's what makes it fun.



Marlon Brando - On the Waterfront

Elizabeth Taylor - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

George C. Scott - Patton

Vivien Leigh - Gone with the Wind

Grace Kelly - The Country Girl

Gary Cooper - High Noon

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Luise Rainer for "The Good Earth"



Robert Donat for "Goodbye Mr. Chips"



Barry Fitzgerald for "Going My Way"



Meryl Streep for "Sophie's Choice"



Charlton Heston for "Ben-Hur"



James Cagney for "Yankee Doodle Dandy"



Jane Darwell for "The Grapes of Wrath"



Barbra Streisand for "Funny Girl"



Anne Bancroft for "The Miracle Worker"



Patty Duke "The Miracle Worker"



Rita Moreno "West Side Story"



George Chakiris "West Side Story"



Rex Harrison "My Fair Lady"



Jo Van Fleet "East of Eden"



If I can think of any others, I'll post 'em later.









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More plausible choices.



Yul Brynner for "The King and I"



Maximilian Schell for "Judgment at Neurbemburg"



Lee Marvin for "Cat Ballou" (Yes, I wrote it, and I mean it!)



Paul Scofield for "A Man for All Seasons"



Rod Steiger for "In the Heat of the Night" (he's leagues better here than in the overrated "The Pawnbroker"



Robert DeNiro for "Raging Bull"



Ben Kingsley for "Ghandi"



Daniel Day Lewis for "My Left Foot"



F. Murray Aberaham for "Amadeus"



Anthony Hopkins for "Silence of the Lambs"



(wow, there are more of these than I thought there would be)



Janet Gaynor for "Sunrise"



Norma Shearer for "The Divorcee" (very close to her best performance, if not the best)



Marie Dressler for "Min and Bill"



Helen Hayes for "The Sin of Madelon Claudet"



Claudette Colbert for "It Happened One Night" (this film may also contains Gable's best performance)



Jane Wyman for "Johnny Belinda"



Olivia DeHavilland for "The Heiress"



Hattie McDaniel for "Gone with the Wind"



Shirley Booth for "Come Back, Little Sheba"



Susan Hayward for "I Want to Live!"



Sophia Loren for "Two Women"



Diane Keaton for "Annie Hall"



Beatrice Straight for "Network"



Sissy Spacek for "Coal Miner's Daughter"



Geraldine Page for "The Trip to Bountiful"



Cher for "Moonstruck"



Jessica Tandy for 'Drving Miss Daisy" ('cause, admit it, she didn't do so many films)










































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Wallace Beery, The Champ

Victor McLagen, The Informer

Robert Donat, Goodbye Mr. Chips

James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy

Broderick Crawford, All the King's Men

Jose Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergeac

Ernest Borgnine, Marty

Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird

Paul Scofield, A Man for all Seasons

Robert De Niro, Raging Bull

Ben Kinglsey, Gandhi

F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus

Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune

Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas

Adrian Brody, The Pianist

Sean Penn, Mystic River

Jamie Foxx, Ray

Daniel Day-Lewis, There will be Blood


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Hi, ValX--




That most certainly is your opinion, and you're entitled to it.




YDD remains my all-time favorite movie. The direction throughout by the Great Michael Curtiz is astounding. There are few finer examples of mis-en-scene and montage used to depict passage of time anywhere in American cinema. The photography by James Wong Howe is absolutely flawless; indeed there is not a single shot in the movie, in my judgment, in which the camera is not pefectly placed. I also love the way the film recreates the look and feel of old-time Vaudeville; no film I know of has done it any better. And I admit I love the music of George M. Cohan.




As for Cagney, its a tour-de-force performance, which has everything. Comedy, romance, pathos, and, of course the singing and dancing, both of which continue to astound with their playfulness, inventiveness and extraordinary technical prowess.




Yankee Doodle Dandy is a great movie. Although I believe the Academy correctly judged Mrs. Miniver as the Best Picture of 1942 (because it is a deeper film, and reaches a higher plain of transcendance in its final scene), there is no way that Curtiz should have lost the directing oscar to William Wyler.




Sorry to disagree, but I do so cordially,






Edited by: DuryeaForHollywood on Feb 25, 2012 7:20 PM

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> {quote:title=finance you wrote:

> }{quote}YANKEE DOODLE DANDY was hardly Cagney's best work. He liked it because it gave him one of his few opportunities to dance. How about WHITE HEAT, LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME, THE ROARING TWENTIES, etc., etc.?

I agree with you on the other choices. Jimmy Cagney's win for "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was something of a sentimental affair, reflecting upon the popularity and legacy of George M. Cohan to show business. My choice for Jimmy Cagney winning would have been his performance in "City For Conquest." The entire cast of the film was first rate! I've always taken a fancy to that famous scene, when Jimmy says to Ann Sheridan, asking her to marry him: "All you got to do is Say The Word Peg . . . Just say the word . . ." This motion picture was close to his heart, stemming from his childhood in New York City. It was the type of film he could totally understand its content and characters; probably based on real ones he knew growing up. He also co-produced the movie!

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Holden|William Holden*A few close calls....


*[Victor McLaglen|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_McLaglen|Victor McLaglen]* *[The Informer|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Informer_%281935_film%29|The Informer (1935 film)]*


*[Fredric March|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredric_March|Fredric March]* *[The Best Years of Our Lives|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_Years_of_Our_Lives|The Best Years of Our Lives]*


*[broderick Crawford|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broderick_Crawford|Broderick Crawford]* *[All the King's Men|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_the_King%27s_Men_%281949_film%29|All the King's Men (1949 film)]*


*[William Holden|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Holden|William Holden]* *[stalag 17|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag_17|Stalag 17]*


*[Marlon Brando|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlon_Brando|Marlon Brando]* *[On the Waterfront|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Waterfront|On the Waterfront]*


*[Ernest Borgnine|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Borgnine|Ernest Borgnine]* *[Marty|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_%28film%29|Marty (film)]*


*[burt Lancaster|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Lancaster|Burt Lancaster]* *[Elmer Gantry|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_Gantry_%28film%29|Elmer Gantry (film)]*


*[Maximilian Schell|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_Schell|Maximilian Schell]* *[Judgment at Nuremberg|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_at_Nuremberg|Judgment at Nuremberg]*


*[Rex Harrison|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_Harrison|Rex Harrison]* *[My Fair Lady|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Fair_Lady_%28film%29|My Fair Lady (film)]*


*[Robert De Niro|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_De_Niro|Robert De Niro]* *[Raging Bull|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raging_Bull|Raging Bull]*


*[Michael Douglas|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Douglas|Michael Douglas]* *[Wall Street|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_%281987_film%29|Wall Street (1987 film)]*


*[Forest Whitaker|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Whitaker|Forest Whitaker]* *[The Last King of Scotland|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_King_of_Scotland_%28film%29|The Last King of Scotland (film)]*


*[Daniel Day-Lewis|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Day-Lewis|Daniel Day-Lewis]* *[There Will Be Blood|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_Will_Be_Blood|There Will Be Blood]*


*[Janet Gaynor|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Gaynor|Janet Gaynor]* *[sunrise|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunrise_%28film%29|Sunrise (film)]*


*[Vivien Leigh|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivien_Leigh|Vivien Leigh]* *[Gone with the Wind|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_with_the_Wind_%28film%29|Gone with the Wind (film)]*


*[Ginger Rogers|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger_Rogers|Ginger Rogers]* *[Kitty Foyle|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitty_Foyle_%28film%29|Kitty Foyle (film)]*


*[Joan Crawford|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Crawford|Joan Crawford]* *[Mildred Pierce|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mildred_Pierce_%28film%29|Mildred Pierce (film)]*


*[Judy Holliday|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Holliday|Judy Holliday]* *[born Yesterday|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_Yesterday_%281950_film%29|Born Yesterday (1950 film)]*


*[Joanne Woodward|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanne_Woodward|Joanne Woodward]* *[The Three Faces of Eve|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Faces_of_Eve|The Three Faces of Eve]*


*[susan Hayward|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Hayward|Susan Hayward]* *[i Want to Live!|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Want_to_Live%21|I Want to Live!]*


*[sophia Loren|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_Loren|Sophia Loren]* *[Two Women|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Women|Two Women]*


*[Julie Christie|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Christie|Julie Christie]* *[Darling|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darling_%281965_film%29|Darling (1965 film)]*


*[Elizabeth Taylor|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Taylor|Elizabeth Taylor]* **


*[Liza Minnelli|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liza_Minnelli|Liza Minnelli]* *[Cabaret|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabaret_%28film%29|Cabaret (film)]*


*[Louise Fletcher|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Fletcher|Louise Fletcher]* **


*[Faye Dunaway|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faye_Dunaway|Faye Dunaway]* *[Network|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_%28film%29|Network (film)]*


*[Diane Keaton|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Keaton|Diane Keaton]* *[Annie Hall|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Hall|Annie Hall]*


*[sally Field|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Field|Sally Field]* *[Norma Rae|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norma_Rae|Norma Rae]*


*[sissy Spacek|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sissy_Spacek|Sissy Spacek]* **


*[Emma Thompson|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Thompson|Emma Thompson]* *[Howards End|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howards_End_%28film%29|Howards End (film)]*


*[Julia Roberts|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Roberts|Julia Roberts]* *[Erin Brockovich|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Brockovich_%28film%29|Erin Brockovich (film)]*


*[Hilary Swank|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilary_Swank|Hilary Swank]* *[Million Dollar Baby|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Dollar_Baby|Million Dollar Baby]*


*[Meryl Streep|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meryl_Streep|Meryl Streep]* *[The Iron Lady|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Lady_%28film%29|The Iron Lady (film)]*

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TCM isn't too copy-and-paste friendly sometimes. I'll try again for the ones they cut out the titles:


*[broderick Crawford|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broderick_Crawford|Broderick Crawford]* - All The King's Men


*[Elizabeth Taylor|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Taylor|Elizabeth Taylor]* - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


*[Louise Fletcher|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Fletcher|Louise Fletcher]* - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


*[sissy Spacek|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sissy_Spacek|Sissy Spacek]* - Coal Miner's Daughter




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> {quote:title=DuryeaForHollywood wrote:}{quote}Hi, ValX--








> As for Cagney, its a tour-de-force performance, which has everything. Comedy, romance, pathos, and, of course the singing and dancing, both of which continue to astound with their playfulness, inventiveness and extraordinary technical prowess.

I agree-- I think Cagney's Yankee Doodle was a great performance because of the range he was able to show. And the stuff he did in Yankee Doodle is much harder to do than all that evil stuff in White Heat (which was great, don't get me wrong). Mostly it's great when actor breaks his persona successfully. The academy certainly thinks so, as history has shown.


Another actor (sorry if previously mentioned) who won for their best performance was Robert Donat for MR CHIPS-- never seen him better, but then I've only seen him in a few films.

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Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven/Sunrise

Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind/A Streetcare Named Desire

Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce

Olivia De Havailand, The Heiress

Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker

Elizabeth Taylor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl

Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Liza Minnelli, Cabaret

Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn't live Here Anymore

Louise Fletcher, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

Diane Keaton, Annie Hall

Sally Field, Norma Rae

Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God

Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs

Emma Thompson, Howard's End

Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking

Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love

Hillary Swank, Boys Don't Cry

Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich,

Charlize Theron, Monster

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

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