Academy Awards

Best Actress


Facts & Trivia
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Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Sections

Best Actress - Facts & Trivia | Best Supporting Actress - Facts & Trivia | Winners Chart

The Best Actress Academy Awards
Facts and Trivia

The Best Actress award should actually be titled "the best performance by an actress in a leading role." The same rules that govern the Best Actor category apply to the Best Actress category.

The Top Best Actress Winner and Most Nominated Actress:

The most honored actress of all-time is Katharine Hepburn - with a total of twelve nominations and four wins - all in the Best Actress category - stretching over a period of 48 years (from Hepburn's Best Actress win for Morning Glory (1932/33) to her Best Actress win for On Golden Pond (1981)) - a record in itself for the greatest span between Oscar wins. Hepburn is the only actress to have won the Best Actress award four times.

Meryl Streep surpassed Hepburn's record of 12 acting nominations in 2002, with 13 career nominations (and then in 2006 with 14 career nominations, in 2008 with 15 career nominations, in 2009 with 16 career nominations, in 2011 with 17 career nominations, and in 2013 with 18 career nominations) - and became the most-nominated performer ever - over a period of only 24 years (from her Best Supporting Actress nomination for The Deer Hunter (1978) to her Best Supporting Actress nomination for Adaptation (2002)). Meryl Streep is the only performer to have 18 Oscar nominations, 15 as Best Actress (a record) and three as Best Supporting Actress, with two Best Actress wins and one Best Supporting Actress win.

Many other actresses have won the Best Actress award twice. See also below.

The Top Best Actress
Oscar Winners and Nominees
Best Actress Wins

Katharine Hepburn
12 career nominations
(12 B.A. noms),
4 wins
Morning Glory (1932/33)
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
The Lion in Winter (1968)
On Golden Pond (1981)

Meryl Streep
18 career nominations
(15 B.A. noms),
3 wins (2 B.A.)
Sophie's Choice (1982)
The Iron Lady (2011)

Other Top Best Actress
Oscar Winners
Best Actress Wins

Luise Rainer
2 career nominations
(2 B.A. noms),
2 wins
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
The Good Earth (1937)

Bette Davis
10 career nominations
(10 B.A. noms)
(plus an "unofficial" write-in
nomination in 1934),
2 wins
Dangerous (1935)
Jezebel (1938)

Olivia de Havilland
5 career nominations
(4 B.A. noms),
2 wins (both B.A.)
To Each His Own (1946)
The Heiress (1949)

Vivien Leigh
2 career nominations
(2 B.A. noms),
2 wins
Gone With The Wind (1939)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Ingrid Bergman
7 career nominations
(6 B.A. noms),
3 wins (2 B.A. wins)
Gaslight (1944)
Anastasia (1956)

Elizabeth Taylor
5 career nominations
(5 B.A. noms),
2 wins
Butterfield 8 (1960)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Glenda Jackson
4 career nominations
(4 B.A. noms),
2 wins
Women in Love (1970)
A Touch of Class (1973)

Jane Fonda
7 career nominations
(6 B.A. noms),
2 wins (both B.A.)
Klute (1971)
Coming Home (1978)

Sally Field
3 career nominations
(2 B.A. noms),
2 wins
Norma Rae (1979)
Places in the Heart (1984)


Jodie Foster
4 career nominations
(3 B.A. noms),
2 wins (both B.A.)

The Accused (1988)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Hilary Swank
2 career nominations
(2 B.A. noms),
2 wins
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Other Top Best Actress
Oscar Nominees/Winners
Best Actress Wins

Greer Garson
7 career nominations
(7 B.A. noms),
1 win
Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Norma Shearer
6 career nominations
(6 B.A. noms),
1 win
The Divorcee (1929/30)

Sissy Spacek
6 career nominations
(6 B.A. noms)
1 win
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

Kate Winslet
6 career nominations
(4 B.A. noms),
1 win
The Reader (2008)

The Only Best Actress Tie:

In the Best Actress category, an unusual tie (the only occurrence among female acting performances) occurred in 1968 between Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand, for their respective performances in The Lion in Winter (1968) and Funny Girl (1968).

[Note: With her subsequent win, Streisand became the only performer to win an Oscar for Best Actress (Funny Girl (1968)) and for Best Original Song ("Evergreen" from A Star Is Born (1976)) with lyrics by Paul Williams).]

The Most Best Actress Nominations (and Wins):

Only one actress has received four Best Actress Oscar wins, and no actress has yet received three Best Actress Oscars. There are twelve actresses who have received two Best Actress Oscars. The number of Best Actress nominations are in parentheses:

  • Katharine Hepburn (12); with four wins (Morning Glory (1932/33), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), On Golden Pond (1981)); two nominations were consecutive (from 1955-1956); two wins were consecutive (1967-1968)
  • Meryl Streep (15) - with two wins (Sophie's Choice (1982), The Iron Lady (2011)); three nominations were consecutive (from 1981-1983)
  • Bette Davis (10) - with two wins (Dangerous (1935), Jezebel (1938)); five nominations were consecutive (from 1938-1942)
  • Ingrid Bergman (6) - with two wins (Gaslight (1944), Anastasia (1956)); three nominations were consecutive (from 1943-1945)
  • Jane Fonda (6) - with two wins (Klute (1971), Coming Home (1978)); three nominations were consecutive (from 1977-1979)
  • Elizabeth Taylor (5) - with two wins (Butterfield 8 (1960), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)); four nominations were consecutive (from 1957-1960)
  • Olivia DeHavilland (4) - with two wins (To Each His Own (1946), The Heiress (1949))
  • Glenda Jackson (4) - with two wins (Women in Love (1970), A Touch of Class (1973))
  • Jodie Foster (3) - with two wins (The Accused (1988), The Silence of the Lambs (1991))
  • Sally Field (2) - with two wins (Norma Rae (1979), Places in the Heart (1984))
  • Luise Rainer (2) - with two wins (The Great Ziegfeld (1936), The Good Earth (1937)); two nominations and wins were consecutive
  • Vivien Leigh (2) - with two wins ( Gone With the Wind (1939), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951))
  • Hilary Swank (2) - with two wins (Boys Don't Cry (1999), Million Dollar Baby (2004))
  • Greer Garson (7) - with one win (Mrs. Miniver (1942)); five nominations were consecutive (from 1941-1945)
  • Norma Shearer (6) - with one win (The Divorcee (1929/30)); three nominations were consecutive (from 1929/30-1931)
  • Sissy Spacek (6) - with one win (Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)); nominations in 1976, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 2001
  • Audrey Hepburn (5) - with one win ( Roman Holiday (1953)); two nominations were consecutive (from 1953-1954)
  • Susan Hayward (5) - with one win (I Want to Live! (1958)); nominations in 1947, 1949, 1952, 1955, 1958
  • Anne Bancroft (5) - with one win (The Miracle Worker (1962)); nominations in 1962, 1964, 1967, 1977, 1985
  • Ellen Burstyn (5) - with one win (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)); nominations in 1971, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1980, 2000
  • Shirley MacLaine (5) - with one win (Terms of Endearment (1983)); nominations in 1958, 1960, 1963, 1977, and 1983
  • Jessica Lange (5) - with one win (Blue Sky (1994)); two nominations were consecutive (from 1984-1985)
  • Susan Sarandon (5) - with one win (Dead Man Walking (1995)); two nominations were consecutive twice (1991-1992, 1994-1995)
  • Jennifer Jones (4) - with one win (The Song of Bernadette (1943)); two other nominations were consecutive (1945, 1946)
  • Jane Wyman (4) - with one win (Johnny Belinda (1948)); nominations in 1946, 1948, 1951, and 1954
  • Joanne Woodward (4) - with one win (The Three Faces of Eve (1957)); nominations in 1957, 1968, 1973, and 1990
  • Julie Christie (4) - with one win (Darling (1965)); nominations in 1965, 1971, 1997, and 2007
  • Diane Keaton (4) - with one win ( Annie Hall (1977)); nominations in 1977, 1981, 1996, and 2003
  • Geraldine Page (4) - with one win (The Trip to Bountiful (1985)); nominations in 1961, 1962, 1978, 1985
  • Kate Winslet (4) - with one win (The Reader (2008)); nominations in 1997, 2004, 2006, and 2008
  • Jennifer Lawrence (2) - with one win (Silver Linings Playbook (2012)); nominations in 2010, 2012
  • Deborah Kerr (6) - with no wins; three nominations were consecutive (from 1956-1958) --
    the only 6-time Best Actress nominee who never won
  • Irene Dunne (5) - with no wins; two nominations were consecutive (from 1936-1937)
  • Judi Dench (5) - with no wins; two nominations were consecutive (from 2005-2006)
  • Marsha Mason (4) - with no wins
  • Vanessa Redgrave (4) - with no wins
  • Rosalind Russell (4) - with no wins; two nominations were consecutive (from 1946-1947)
  • Barbara Stanwyck (4) - with no wins
  • Glenn Close (3) - with no wins

Consecutive Best Actress-Winning Performers:

There are only two actors (Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks) who have received two consecutive Best Actor awards, as there are only two actresses who have received two consecutive Best Actress statuette wins:

  • Luise Rainer with her first win for The Great Ziegfeld (1936), and then her second - and back-to-back Best Actress Oscar win for her performance in The Good Earth (1937). She became the first multiple Oscar winner, and was the first to win an award two years in a row
  • Katharine Hepburn, two consecutive Best Actress Oscars in four wins, for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and The Lion in Winter (1968)

Stars to Win Two Best Actress Oscars Before the Age of 30:

  • Luise Rainer (at age 28) for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937) -- back-to-back wins, the first to accomplish this feat
  • Bette Davis (at age 29) for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938)
  • Jodie Foster (at age 29) for The Accused (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • Hilary Swank (at age 29) for Boys Don't Cry (1999) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Both Luise Rainer and Hilary Swank won their Oscars each time that they were nominated.

With Kate Winslet's sixth career nomination for The Reader (2008), she became the youngest individual (at age 33) to have six Oscar nominations. She was one year younger than Bette Davis who (at age 34) received her sixth for Now, Voyager (1942).

Young Stars To Be Nominated for Best Actress Oscars:

22 year-old Jennifer Lawrence became the youngest performer to receive two Best Actress nominations, upon receiving the nod for Silver Linings Playbook (2012) as a recovering, unemployed widow. [Note: She had previously been nominated for the first time for Winter's Bone (2010). With her first nomination at the age of 20 years and 163 days, she became the third-youngest actress ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She broke a record previously held by Teresa Wright (who was 24 when she received her third nomination in 1942).] With her supporting actress nomination for American Hustle (2013), Lawrence became the youngest three-time acting nominee of all-time.

Kate Winslet had also received two nominations by age 22, but one was for Best Supporting Actress.

Film Debut Nominees/Winners of Best Actress Oscars:

Four actresses have won the Best Actress Oscar for their first (substantial) screen roles or during the first year of their film careers (in a feature film), while others (a sampling) have received a nomination for their first screen role:

  • Katharine Hepburn in Morning Glory (1932/33) (she had previous bit roles in A Bill of Divorcement (1932) and Christopher Strong (1933))
  • Greer Garson in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) (nomination)
  • (1) Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)
  • Julie Harris in The Member of the Wedding (1952) (nomination)
  • Maggie McNamara in The Moon is Blue (1953) (nomination)
  • (2) Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins (1964)
  • (3) Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (1968)
  • Janet Suzman in Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) (nomination)
  • Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues (1972) (nomination)
  • Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) (she had a previous bit role in Thieves Like Us (1974))
  • Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple (1985) (nomination)
  • (4) Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God (1986) (Matlin was also the first deaf actress to win the Academy Award)
  • Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves (1996) (nomination)
  • Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider (2003) (nomination)
  • Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full of Grace (2004) (nomination)
  • Gabourey Sidibe in Precious (2009) (nomination)
  • Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild (nomination)

Post-Humous Best Actress Nominees and Winners:

Only actress Jeanne Eagels was nominated post-humously for her role in The Letter (1929). She was the first (and only) female to ever be nominated post-humously for any acting Oscar.

Oscar-Winning Actress Roles and Trends:

Biographies of remarkable, real-life individuals (showbiz figures and entertainers) and portrayals of the mentally ill are heavily represented among Oscar winners (and nominees), particularly in the acting awards. It helps an actress's chances of winning (or being nominated for) an Oscar if the character dies during the movie, or is alcoholic (or drug-addicted), or is a murderess. Also, first-time Oscar nominations are more often given to actresses below or around the age of thirty.

Against Type

It also helps to play a role against type (Julia Roberts as a crusading single mother in Erin Brockovich (2000) or Helen Hunt for a sex surrogate in The Sessions (2012), or Susan Sarandon as a death-row nun in Dead Man Walking (1995)), or for showing acting diversity (Kathy Bates as the horror villainess in Misery (1990), or singer Cher in Moonstruck (1987)).

Prostitutes

A large number of actresses have also won (or been nominated for) the top acting awards for portraying hookers (girls of the night, party girls, whores, call girls, madams, etc.) or loose women (mistresses, promiscuous ladies, etc.), for example:

  • Janet Gaynor won the Best Actress award for her role as Maria in Naples who escaped from imprisonment (on a prostitution charge after making a desperate try for money to help her ill mother) in Street Angel (1927/28), one of three films for which she was honored
  • Helen Hayes won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as the sacrificial, maternal streetwalker title character (Madelon Claudet) who had to give up her illegitimate son in The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931/32)
  • Judy Holliday won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as "dumb blonde"/bimbo mistress and kept woman Billie Dawn of corrupt, rude junk-man tycoon (Broderick Crawford) in Washington DC in Born Yesterday (1950)
  • Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as fragile, genteel, tarnished/fallen, desperate, and aging Southern belle Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Joanne Woodward won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as drab, plagued young housewife with multiple, tri-phasic personalities (Eve 'White', Eve 'Black' and 'Jane,' exhibiting characteristics of a housewife, sluttish flirt, and sophisticate) in The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
  • Susan Hayward won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as deceitful party-girl prostitute/thief Barbara Graham, suspected as a murderess, convicted and sent to the gas chamber in San Quentin prison in 1953 after appeals and a long fight to spare her life in I Want to Live! (1958)
  • Elizabeth Taylor won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as high-class, part-time model and wanton, fast-living, disturbed New York call girl Gloria Wandrous who wanted to straighten out her life in Butterfield 8 (1960)
  • Melina Mercouri was nominated for Best Actress for her role as uneducated, fun-loving Greek prostitute Ilya who didn't work one day of the week in Never On Sunday (1960)
  • Shirley MacLaine was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Fran Kubelik, the insurance company's depressed, quirky elevator girl who was seduced to be the mistress of Jack Lemmon's callous, married boss and business executive (Fred MacMurray) in The Apartment (1960)
  • Shirley MacLaine was nominated for Best Actress for her role as the title character - French Parisian prostitute in Irma La Douce (1963)
  • Julie Christie won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Diana Scott - an ambitious, vain, irresponsible, ruthless, promiscuous, and selfish hip, mini-skirted London model in Darling (1965)
  • Jane Fonda won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Bree Daniels, a classy, highly-paid, cynical, fearful, sexually-disturbed and threatened call-girl/streetwalker stalking victim in Klute (1971)
  • Julia Roberts was nominated as Best Actress for her role as wheeler-dealer Richard Gere's fantasy Los Angeles prostitute Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman (1990)
  • Sharon Stone was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Las Vegas casino boss Robert DeNiro's ex-hooker wife - the hedonistic and alluring Ginger McKenna in Casino (1995)
  • Elisabeth Shue was nominated as Best Actress for her role as lonely, soft-hearted prostitute Sera in Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
  • Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as emotionally-damaged and abused real-life prostitute-turned-serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003)

Mute or Non-Speaking

And a few Best Actress (and Supporting Actress) winners acquired acting Oscars for characters that were essentially mute:

  • Jane Wyman won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Belinda McDonald, a deaf-mute in Johnny Belinda (1948)
  • Patty Duke won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for portraying blind and deaf Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962) who spoke only one triumphant word of dialogue: "Wa-wa" (or water)
  • Note: Marlee Matlin (truly hearing impaired) won the Best Actress Oscar for her mostly silent, realistic performance as deaf school pupil Sarah Norman in director Randa Haines' Children of a Lesser God (1986)
  • Holly Hunter won the Best Actress Oscar for her non-speaking role (although she did voice-over narration) as 19th century pianist mute Ada McGrath in director Jane Campion's The Piano (1993, NZ)
  • Two other actresses were nominated for Best Supporting Actress for non-speaking roles: Samantha Morton as shy, waifish, mute laundress Hattie in Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and Rinko Kikuchi as isolated, depressed and troubled 16 year-old deaf-mute Tokyo teenaged girl Chieko in Babel (2006)

Disabled

Another group of actresses have won awards (or were nominated) for portraying characters that were performers, or handicapped with disabilities (or other physical afflictions, including serious alcoholism and drug use), for example:

  • Bette Davis won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Joyce Heath - a self-centered, willful, alcoholic, neurotic, self-destructive ex-Broadway actress in Dangerous (1935)
  • Susan Hayward nominated as Best Actress for three films with alcoholic roles: as alcoholic Angie Evans in Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947), as as unmarried mother Eloise Winters in My Foolish Heart (1949) and as star-crossed alcoholic Broadway/Hollywood actress and singer Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
  • Deborah Kerr was nominated as Best Actress for her role as unhappy, heavy drinking Evelyn Boult in Edward, My Son (1949)
  • Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as mentally-fallen Southern belle Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Ingrid Bergman won the Best Actress Oscar for her amnesiac role as Paris derelict Anastasia saved by three White Russians and trained to pose as the missing, but surviving daughter of the last czar of Russia in Anastasia (1956)
  • Joanne Woodward won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as multi-personality plagued Eve in The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
  • Piper Laurie was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Sarah Packard, Paul Newman's crippled, alcoholic girlfriend/lover in The Hustler (1961)
  • Patty Duke won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as deaf/mute Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962)
  • Simone Signoret was nominated as Best Actress for her role as La Condesa - Oskar Werner's drug-addicted countess/mistress in Ship of Fools (1965)
  • Elizabeth Hartman was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Selina D'Arcey - a blind white girl involved in a racial romance (with Sidney Poitier) in A Patch of Blue (1965)
  • Elizabeth Taylor won Best Actress for her role as verbally-abusive, graying, foul-mouthed, troubled, sloppy and overweight, and shrewish wife Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  • Audrey Hepburn was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Susy Hendrix - a blind, terrorized woman in Wait Until Dark (1967)
  • Julie Christie was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Mrs. Constance Miller - an opium-smoking brothel madam and chief prostitute in McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
  • Diana Ross was nominated as Best Actress for her role as drug-addicted singing great Billie Holliday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
  • Bette Midler was nominated as Best Actress for her role as 'Rose' - a tragic, self-destructive, Janis Joplin-like rock star in The Rose (1979)
  • Marsha Mason was nominated as Best Actress for her role as brilliant, self-destructive, divorced alcoholic Broadway actress Georgia in Only When I Laugh (1981)
  • Jessica Lange won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Julie, 'Dorothy's' (Dustin Hoffman) unknowing, submissive best girlfriend in Tootsie (1982) and the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Carly Marshall, the unstable, manic-depressive, out-of-control, sexually-promiscuous wife of a military nuclear engineer/officer (Tommy Lee Jones) at a 1960s Nevada test site in Blue Sky (1994); she was also dual nominated as Best Actress for her role as tragic, ill-fated, self-destructive, mentally-ill starlet Frances Farmer in Frances (1982)
  • Jane Fonda was nominated as Best Actress for her role as alcoholic heroine-victim Alex Sternbergen who woke up next to a dead man in The Morning After (1986)
  • Angelina Jolie won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Lisa, a disturbed and rebellious mental hospital patient in Girl, Interrupted (1999)
  • Halle Berry won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as African-American Leticia Musgrove, an executed killer's (Sean Combs) grief-stricken widow in a town poisoned with Southern racism in Monster's Ball (2001)
  • Nicole Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Virginia Woolf, the troubled and depressed author of Mrs. Dalloway in The Hours (2002)
  • Cate Blanchett won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as legendary, four-time Oscar winning actress Katharine Hepburn who had an affair with billionaire Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004) - the only instance of a performer winning an Academy Award for playing a real-life Oscar winner (Katharine Hepburn)
  • Hilary Swank won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as headstrong Maggie Fitzgerald, a working-class waitress who aspired to be a professional women's boxer - and then suffered a terminal illness in Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  • Marion Cotillard won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as famed tempestuous singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007, Fr.)
  • Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as hallucinatory ballerina Nina Sayers, playing the Black Swan in a production of Swan Lake in Black Swan (2010)

Fictional Actresses

And a few actresses have received Best Actress nominations for playing fictional actresses (performers/stars) who were Best Actress winners:

  • Janet Gaynor, nominated for her role as rising star Vicki Lester in A Star is Born (1937)
  • Bette Davis, nominated for her role as former Oscar-winning actress Margaret Elliot in pathetic decline in The Star (1952)
  • Judy Garland, nominated for her role as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester, the wife of an alcoholic (James Mason) in the remake A Star is Born (1954)
  • Maggie Smith, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Diana Barrie - a neurotic, bitchy, hard-drinking and fussy Oscar-nominated British actress waiting for the Oscar awards night in Hollywood in California Suite (1978) (win)

Faye Dunaway was the only performer who won an Academy Award Oscar of her own (Best Actress for Network (1976)) and then went on to portray in the film Mommie Dearest (1981) a real-life star, Joan Crawford, who won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Mildred Pierce (1945). Cate Blanchett's Best Supporting Actress Oscar win for The Aviator (2004) in her role as Katharine Hepburn marked the first time a performer won an Oscar for playing an Oscar-winning actress.

Country Singers

The only two actresses to win Best Actress Oscars (their sole wins) for playing real-life country singers:

  • Sissy Spacek won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
  • Reese Witherspoon won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line (2005)

Nuns

Actress who portrayed nuns found that it was a mostly non-winning category for its many nominees in lead and supporting roles:

  • Gladys Cooper was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as doubting Sister Vauzous in The Song of Bernadette (1943)
  • Jennifer Jones won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as 14 year-old, 19th century saintly French peasant girl Bernadette of Lourdes who claimed she had a vision of the Virgin Mary in The Song of Bernadette (1943)
  • Ingrid Bergman was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Mother Superior Sister Benedict in The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
  • Loretta Young (nominated as Best Actress for her role as French nun Sister Margaret who raised funds to build a children's hospital in New England) and Celeste Holm (nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as tennis-playing French nun Sister Scolastica) in Come to the Stable (1949)
  • Deborah Kerr was nominated as Best Actress for her role as nun Sister Angela - ship-wrecked and stranded on a Pacific island with Marine corporal Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
  • Audrey Hepburn was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Sister Luke who eventually renounced her vows in The Nun's Story (1959)
  • Lilia Skala was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mother Maria - the Mother Superior of the nunnery in Lilies of the Field (1963)
  • Peggy Wood (nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as the Mother Abbess) and some count Julie Andrews (nominated for Best Actress for her role as postulant nun Maria turned cheerful governess to seven Von Trapp children in Austria) in The Sound of Music (1965)
  • Anne Bancroft (nominated as Best Actress for her role as Sister Miriam Ruth - a Quebec convent's mother superior) and Meg Tilly (nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as the childlike, beatific Sister Agnes) for Agnes of God (1985)
  • Susan Sarandon won the Best Actress Oscar as anti-death penalty, real-life Catholic nun - Sister Helen Prejean, who spiritually advised a condemned, death-row murderer (Sean Penn) in Dead Man Walking (1995)
  • Meryl Streep (nominated as Best Actress for her role as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the suspicious, domineering strict head of a Bronx Catholic school in New York City) and Amy Adams (nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as sensitive and innocent novitiate Sister James) for Doubt (2008)

Mediocre or Compensatory Oscar Wins:

Oscar victories for Best Actress haven't always been for the stars' best work, either, but retroactively for an entire body of work - or for sympathy:

Also, elderly nominees seem to fare better, such as 72 year-old Ruth Gordon winning the Best Supporting Actress award for Rosemary's Baby (1968), or Best Actress winners Katharine Hepburn (after her first win at age 27), Geraldine Page (finally winning with her eighth nomination), Jessica Tandy and Ellen Burstyn for On Golden Pond (1981), The Trip to Bountiful (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and Requiem for a Dream (2000). Young nominees also do well, such as Patty Duke (in 1962), Tatum O'Neal (in 1973), and Anna Paquin (in 1993).

The only instance of a Best Actress nomination for a science-fiction film role was Sigourney Weaver for Aliens (1986).

Best Actresses with New Screen Names: Two actresses won the Best Actress Oscar with new screen names:

  • Jennifer Jones (real-name and original screen name Phylis Lee Isley), Best Actress winner for The Song of Bernadette (1943)
  • Ellen Burstyn (real-name Edna Rae Gillooly, and first appearing with screen name Ellen McRae), Best Actress winner for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)

Reprising an Acclaimed Stage Role:

Four Best Actress winners won the Oscar for an acclaimed stage role that they reprised on the screen:

  • Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday (1950)
  • Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)
  • Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker (1962)
  • Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968)

Longest Time Period Between First and Last Nomination/Win:

  • 48 years - Katharine Hepburn was first nominated and won Best Actress for Morning Glory (1932/33) and then 48 years later was nominated and won Best Actress for On Golden Pond (1981) - her fourth (and last) Oscar win!
  • 46 years - Alan Arkin was nominated as Best Actor for The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming! (1966) and then two years later as Best Actor for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968). Then, there was a long gap - 38 years later, after which he won Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine (2006). He topped that with another six year wait for another Best Supporting Actor nomination for Argo (2012).
  • 41 years - Henry Fonda was first nominated in 1940 as Best Actor for The Grapes Of Wrath (1940), and wasn't nominated again until 41 years later - when he won his sole Oscar (Best Actor) for On Golden Pond (1981)
  • 40 years - Mickey Rooney was first nominated as Best Actor for Babes in Arms (1939), then as Best Actor for The Human Comedy (1943), then as Best Supporting Actor for The Bold and the Brave (1956), and then as Best Supporting Actor for The Black Stallion (1979), 40 years later, but he didn't ever win!
  • 39 years - Jack Palance was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for Sudden Fear (1952) and then as Best Supporting Actor for Shane (1953) - it was a time span of 39 years from his first nomination to his eventual victory as Best Supporting Actor for City Slickers (1991)
  • 38 years - Helen Hayes had to wait 38 years between her only Oscar nominations (both wins), Best Actress for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931/32), and Best Supporting Actress for Airport (1970)
  • 37 years - Albert Finney was first nominated as Best Actor for Tom Jones (1963) and then received three more nominations for Best Actor: for Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984) -- 37 years after his first nomination, he received his fifth and final Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Erin Brockovich (2000) - he never won!

Longest Gap Between First Nomination and First Winning Film:

  • 41 years - Henry Fonda was first nominated in 1940 as Best Actor for The Grapes Of Wrath (1940), and didn't win an acting award (Best Actor) until 41 years later for On Golden Pond (1981), and these were his only two career acting nominations (Note: Fonda did receive a producing Best Picture nomination for 12 Angry Men (1957))
  • 32 years - Geraldine Page was first nominated in 1953 as Best Supporting Actress for Hondo (1953), and won Best Actress for A Trip to Bountiful (1985), 32 years later; she was the only actress with seven unsuccessful nominations (in both categories) before finally winning Best Actress with nomination # 8
  • 28 years - Paul Newman was first nominated in 1958 as Best Actor for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), and won Best Actor for The Color of Money (1986), 28 years later; he was the only actor with six unsuccessful Best Actor nominations before finally winning Best Actor with nomination # 7 - and he later added another nomination as Best Actor for Nobody's Fool (1994), and his first Best Supporting Actor nomination also came later for Road to Perdition (2002)
  • 25 years - Shirley MacLaine was first nominated in 1958 as Best Actress for Some Came Running (1958), and won Best Actress for Terms of Endearment (1983), 25 years later
  • 20 years - Al Pacino was first nominated in 1972 as Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather (1972), and won Best Actor for Scent of a Woman (1992), 20 years later
  • 20 years - John Wayne was first nominated in 1949 as Best Actor for Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), and won Best Actor for True Grit (1969), 20 years later
  • 18 years - Ronald Colman was first nominated in 1929/30 as Best Actor for Bulldog Drummond (1929/30), and won Best Actor for A Double Life (1947), 18 years later
  • 17 years - Gregory Peck was first nominated in 1945 as Best Actor for The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), and won Best Actor for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), 17 years later
  • 14 years - Susan Sarandon was first nominated in 1981 as Best Actress for Atlantic City (1981), and won Best Actress for Dead Man Walking (1995), 14 years later
  • 13 years - Rod Steiger was first nominated in 1954 as Best Supporting Actor for On the Waterfront (1954), and won Best Actor for In the Heat of the Night (1967), 13 years later

Best Actress Winners For Their Only Nominations:

  • Luise Rainer (2 career nominations and wins): The Great Ziegfeld (1936), The Good Earth (1937)
  • Vivien Leigh (2 career nominations and wins): Gone With The Wind (1939), and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Hilary Swank (2 career nominations and wins): Boys Don't Cry (1999), Million Dollar Baby (2004)
    also
  • Helen Hayes (2 career nominations and wins): Best Actress for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931/32), and Best Supporting Actress for Airport (1970)

Female Performers with Oscars in Both Lead and Supporting Categories: (in order of accomplishment)

  • Helen Hayes, Best Actress (The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931/32)), Best Supporting Actress (Airport (1970))
  • Ingrid Bergman, Best Actress (Gaslight (1944) and Anastasia (1956)), Best Supporting Actress (Murder on the Orient Express (1974))
  • Maggie Smith, Best Actress (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)), Best Supporting Actress (California Suite (1978))
  • Meryl Streep, Best Supporting Actress (Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)), Best Actress (Sophie's Choice (1982), The Iron Lady (2011))
  • Jessica Lange, Best Supporting Actress (Tootsie (1982)), Best Actress (Blue Sky (1994))

Three Films With the Most Oscars for Acting:

To date, no film has won all four of the Academy Awards for acting.

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - 12 nominations total, 4 acting nominations, 3 acting wins: Vivien Leigh (Best Actress), Karl Malden (Best Supporting Actor), Kim Hunter (Best Supporting Actress)
  • Network (1976) - 10 nominations total, 5 acting nominations, 3 acting wins: Peter Finch (Best Actor), Faye Dunaway (Best Actress), Beatrice Straight (Best Supporting Actress)

Winning Co-Stars: Best Actor and Best Actress in the Same Film

Seven films have won in both the leading actor and leading actress categories:

Films With Two Best Actress Nominations:

Multiple Nominations:

No single performer has ever won two performing awards in the same year. There have been a total of eleven performers who are double nominees - that means that they have received two acting nominations in the same year. Three were actors and eight were actresses (wins are marked with *). (See the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress pages for further information on double nominees.) Of the 11 performers (actors and actresses) who've been recognized with nods for two performances in the same year, seven of them ended up winning one of the trophies.

Double nominees usually win in one category. Often, actresses have been nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for different films in the same year. In 1938, Fay Bainter received the first simultaneous nominations of any performer in lead and supporting categories (wins are marked with *). Three of the eight actresses won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and only one (Holly Hunter) of the eight won the Best Actress Oscar, while Sigourney Weaver, Emma Thompson, Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett lost both bids.

  • Fay Bainter (Best Actress for White Banners (1938) and Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938)*)
  • Teresa Wright (Best Actress for The Pride of the Yankees (1942) and Best Supporting Actress for Mrs. Miniver (1942)*)
  • Jessica Lange (Best Actress for Frances (1982) and Best Supporting Actress for Tootsie (1982)*)
  • Sigourney Weaver (Best Actress for Gorillas in the Mist (1987) and Best Supporting Actress for Working Girl (1987))
  • Holly Hunter (Best Actress for The Piano (1993)* and Best Supporting Actress for The Firm (1993))
  • Emma Thompson (Best Actress for The Remains of the Day (1993) and Best Supporting Actress for In the Name of the Father (1993))
  • Julianne Moore (Best Actress for Far From Heaven (2002) and Best Supporting Actress for The Hours (2002))
  • Cate Blanchett (Best Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) and Best Supporting Actress for I'm Not There (2007))

Multiple Nominations for the Same Character:

Two sets of actresses have been nominated for Best Actress for the same role in different films, in different years:

  • Janet Gaynor and Judy Garland as Vicki Lester in A Star is Born (1937) and A Star is Born (1954)
  • Jeanne Eagels (nominated post-humously) and Bette Davis as Leslie Crosbie in The Letter (1929) and The Letter (1940)

Both groups of actresses playing the same character in the same film lost their races:

  • Kate Winslet (as Best Actress) and Gloria Stuart (as Best Supporting Actress) for playing young Rose DeWitt Bukater and an older Rose DeWitt Bukater respectively, in Titanic (1997)
  • Kate Winslet (as Best Supporting Actress) and Judi Dench (as Best Actress) for playing young Iris Murdoch and an older Irish Murdoch, respectively, in Iris (2001)

Cate Blanchett was the only actress to be nominated twice for playing the same character role in two different films:

  • Cate Blanchett (as Best Actress) for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998)
  • Cate Blanchett (as Best Actress) for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

The only time two female performers were nominated for the same character (Queen Elizabeth I) in different films in the same year was:

  • Cate Blanchett (as Best Actress) for Elizabeth (1998)
  • Judi Dench (as Best Supporting Actress) for Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Related Winners and Nominees: Husbands-Wives, etc.

Frances McDormand won the Best Actress Oscar for Fargo (1996), thereby becoming the first star to win in a film directed by a spouse, husband Joel Coen. Her brother-in-law, Ethan Coen, was the film's producer.

Other wives nominated for films made by their director husbands:

  • Melina Mercouri, nominated for Best Actress for Never on Sunday (1960), was directed by husband Jules Dassin
  • Joanne Woodward, nominated as Best Actress for Rachel, Rachel (1968), was directed by husband Paul Newman
  • Gena Rowlands, nominated for Best Actress for A Woman Under the Influence (1974), was directed by husband John Cassavetes
  • Julie Andrews, nominated for Best Actress for Victor/Victoria (1982), was directed by husband Blake Edwards

To date, no female directors have had their starring husbands receive an Oscar nod. The only married couples who acted together in the same film with each spouse being nominated for an award were:

  • Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, nominated as Best Actor and Best Actress for The Guardsman (1932) - both lost
  • Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester, nominated as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress for Witness for the Prosecution (1957) - both lost
  • Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (win), nominated as Best Actor and Best Actress for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

The only divorced couple to co-star in a film with each receiving an Oscar nomination:

Sisterly Oscar Competition:

Twice in Academy Awards history, two sisters have been nominated for the same category during the same year:

  • Joan Fontaine (Best Actress winner for Suspicion (1941)) and sister Olivia de Havilland (Best Actress nominee for Hold Back the Dawn (1941))
  • Lynn Redgrave (Best Actress nominee for Georgy Girl (1966)), and sister Vanessa Redgrave (Best Actress nominee for Morgan! (1966)) - this time, neither of the sisters won.

Joan Fontaine (Best Actress winner for Suspicion (1941)) and double-winner sister Olivia de Havilland (for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949)) are the only sisters to win "Best Actress" Oscars.

Liza Minnelli, who won Best Actress for Cabaret (1972), was the only Oscar winner to have parents who both received Oscars:

  • Judy Garland (mother) received an Honorary miniature "Juvenile" Oscar in 1939 for The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Vincente Minnelli (father) won Best Director for Gigi (1958)

African-American (or Black) Notables:

There have been only ten African-American actresses nominated for Best Actress (and only one win, in 2001). All nominees were nominated only once:

#
Best Actress Nominee
Film
1
Dorothy Dandridge Carmen Jones (1954)
2
Diana Ross Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
3
Cicely Tyson Sounder (1972)
4
Diahann Carroll Claudine (1974)
5
Whoopi Goldberg The Color Purple (1985)
6
Angela Bassett What's Love Got to Do With It (1993)
7
Halle Berry Monster's Ball (2001) (win)
8
Gabourey Sidibe Precious (2009)
9
Viola Davis The Help (2011)
10 Quvenzhané Wallis Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

In total, there have only been 23 different African-American (or black) performers nominated for the top award (either Best Actor or Best Actress). Only fourteen awards have been won by African-Americans (or blacks) in both lead and supporting categories (four Best Actor, one Best Actress, four Best Supporting Actor, and five Best Supporting Actress). Only five black performers have won the Oscar in the lead category (four Best Actor, one Best Actress).

Only one African-American actress has ever won the Best Actress Oscar:

  • Halle Berry (with her first nomination) for Monster's Ball (2001)

Five of the 20 acting nominations in 2004 and 2006 were African-American nominees. This bested the record of three nominated blacks that occurred in three different years (2001, 1985, and 1972):

2006
2004
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Djimon Honsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Jamie Foxx, Ray
Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Jamie Foxx, Collateral
Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
  • 2001: Halle Berry for Monster's Ball, Denzel Washington for Training Day, and Will Smith for Ali
  • 1985: Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey for The Color Purple
  • 1972: Diana Ross for Lady Sings the Blues, and Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield for Sounder

In three instances, African-Americans have won two of the four acting prizes:

  • 2006: Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland, Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls
  • 2004: Morgan Freeman for Million Dollar Baby, Jamie Foxx for Ray
  • 2001: Halle Berry for Monster's Ball, Denzel Washington for Training Day

The only Caucasians who portrayed black characters and were nominated (but didn't win) for Academy Awards:

  • Jeanne Crain, Best Actress for Pinky (1949)
  • Flora Robson, Best Supporting Actress for Saratoga Trunk (1946)
  • Susan Kohner, Best Supporting Actress for Imitation of Life (1959)

Latino, Asian and Other Minority (or Non-English) Performers or Nationalities:

Note: In 1985, all ten of the Best Actor/Actress nominees were American-born - the first time in Oscar history. Also, in 1964 and in 2007, all four winners of the performance/acting Oscars were non-Americans.

There have been very few nominations/wins of ethnic/minority female performers (or non-English) in the Best Actress category:

  • 85 year old French actress Emmanuelle Riva was nominated as Best Actress for her role as ailing stroke victim Anne in Amour (2012, Austria)
  • French actress Marion Cotillard was nominated (and won) as Best Actress for her role as famed tempestuous singer Edith Piaf (Piaf's recordings were lip-synched by Cotillard) in La Vie en Rose (2007, Fr.) - she became the second French actress to win in the category
  • Spanish actress Penelope Cruz was nominated as Best Actress for her role as single mother Raimunda in Volver (2006) - she became the first Spanish woman to be nominated for a best actress Academy Award for a non-English speaking role
    [Note: Penelope Cruz won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)]
  • Colombian-born Spanish actress Catalina Sandino Moreno was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Maria, a pregnant 17-year-old Colombian girl who agreed to be a 'drug mule', in director Joshua Marston's Maria Full of Grace (2004)
  • 13 year-old New Zealand/Maori teen Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated as Best Actress for Whale Rider (2003) - she became the youngest nominee in the category
  • Mexican-born Salma Hayek was nominated as Best Actress for the lead role in Frida (2002)
  • Portuguese/Brazilian Fernanda Montenegro was nominated as Best Actress for Central Station (1998) - the first Latin American actress ever nominated
  • Helena Bonham Carter (with a Spanish mother) was nominated as Best Actress for The Wings of the Dove (1997)
  • French actress Catherine Deneuve was nominated as Best Actress for Indochine (1992)
  • French actress Isabelle Adjani was nominated as Best Actress for Camille Claudel (1989)
  • American Sign Language actress Marlee Matlin was nominated (and won) as Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God (1986)
  • Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman was nominated as Best Actress for Autumn Sonata (1978)
  • Swedish actress Liv Ullmann was nominated as Best Actress for Face to Face (1976)
  • French actress Marie-Christine Barrault was nominated as Best Actress for Cousin, Cousine (1976)
  • French actress Isabelle Adjani was nominated as Best Actress for The Story of Adele H. (1975)
  • Swedish actress Liv Ullmann was nominated as Best Actress for The Emigrants (1972)
  • Ukrainian-born actress Ida Kaminska was nominated as Best Actress for The Shop on Main Street (1966, Czech.)
  • French actress Anouk Aimee was nominated as Best Actress for A Man and a Woman (1966)
  • Italian actress Sophia Loren was nominated as Best Actress for Marriage Italian Style (1964, It.)
  • Italian actress Sophia Loren was nominated (and won) as Best Actress for Two Women (1960, It.)
  • French actress Simone Signoret was nominated (and won) as Best Actress for Room at the Top (1959) - she became the first French actress to win the top award

Only two female Asian-Americans have been nominated for the lead acting Oscar. The only Asian actress to win the Best Actress Oscar (twice, in 1939 and 1951) was Vivien Leigh, whose mother had an Irish and Indian background. Indian-born British actress Merle Oberon (although her origins have been clouded and disputed) was also nominated as Best Actress for The Dark Angel (1935).

White, Austrian performer Luise Rainer won a Best Actress Oscar for playing an Asian role in The Good Earth (1937).

Some notable Canadian-born Best Actress nominees and winners should also be noted: Mary Pickford winning for Coquette (1928/29), Norma Shearer winning for The Divorcee (1929/30), Marie Dressler winning for Min and Bill (1930/31), Genevieve Bujold nominated for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), and Ellen Page nominated for Juno (2007).

Nicole Kidman was the only Australian actress (although US born) to win the Best Actress Oscar award, for The Hours (2002). Kidman was also nominated as Best Actress for her roles in Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Rabbit Hole (2010). Other Australian actresses nominated for Best Actress include May Robson for Lady For a Day (1933), Judy Davis for A Passage to India (1984), Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and Naomi Watts for 21 Grams (2004).

Foreign-Language Performances to Win Major Oscars:

Only two actresses have won the Best Actress Oscar for a foreign-language performance:

  • Sophia Loren was the first foreign-language performing actress to win an Oscar (Best Actress) for a foreign-language film, Two Women (1960, It.)
  • French actress Marion Cotillard also won Best Actress for the French film La Vie en Rose (2007, Fr.) - it was the first acting Oscar awarded to a French-language film
    [
    Note: Some lists also include Marlee Matlin for using American Sign Language (ASL) for her Oscar-winning role in Children of a Lesser God (1986)]

The first acting Oscar winner from South Africa was Charlize Theron as Best Actress for Monster (2003). [She was also nominated for Best Actress for North Country (2005).] In the same year of 2003, Theron and Djimon Hounsou were the first African-born performers to be nominated for an Oscar. Benin native Djimon Hounsou was nominated (and lost) twice: for roles in In America (2003), and Blood Diamond (2006).

Other Notables:

Curiously, in the decade of the 1950s, none of the Best Actress Oscar winners appeared in a Best Picture winning film!

The only stars to win a Best Actress Oscar in a musical film were:

  • Julie Andrews for her role as the title character in Mary Poppins (1964)
  • Barbra Streisand for her role as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1968)
  • Liza Minnelli for her role as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972)

Winning Performances Portraying Royalty:

  • Charles Laughton, Best Actor as King Henry VIII in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1932/33)
  • Yul Brynner, Best Actor as King Mongkut of Siam in The King and I (1956)
  • Ingrid Bergman, Best Actress as Anastasia (possibly daughter of murdered Russian czar Nicholas II) in Anastasia (1956)
  • Katharine Hepburn, Best Actress as Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter (1968)
  • Helen Mirren, Best Actress as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006)

Silent Film Oscar Winners:

The only two performers to win Oscars (although the awards weren't officially called "Oscars" yet) for silent film performances were:

  • Emil Jannings: Best Actor Oscar winner for The Last Command (1927/28) and The Way of All Flesh (1927/28)
  • Janet Gaynor: Best Actress Oscar winner for Sunrise (1927/28), Seventh Heaven (1927/28), and Street Angel (1927/28) - she was also the only star to win the Best Actress Oscar honoring performances in three films in the same year

Youngest and Oldest Best Actresses: Nominees and Winners

Note: The calculated time is from date of birth to the date of either (1) the nominations announcement, or (2) the date of the awards ceremony.

Youngest Best Actress Nominee
Youngest Best Actress Winner
Oldest Best Actress Nominee
Oldest Best Actress Winner
       
9 years (and 135 days)
Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
21 years (and 218 days)
Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God (1986)
85 years (and 321 days)
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)
80 years (and 292 days)
Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Runner-Ups:
13 years (and 309 days)
Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider (2003)

20 years (and 163 days)
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone (2010)

20 years (and 235 days)
Isabelle Adjani for The Story of Adele H. (1975)

20 years (and 311 days)
Keira Knightley for Pride & Prejudice (2005)

20 years (and 335 days)
Ellen Page for Juno (2007)

21 years (and 171 days)
Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God (1986)

[Note: Matlin was the first under-21 American actress to be nominated.]

22 years (and 60 days)
Elizabeth Hartman for A Patch of Blue (1965)

22 years (and 128 days)
Kate Winslet for Titanic (1997)

22 years (and 134 days)
Janet Gaynor for 7th Heaven (1927/28), Street Angel (1927/28), and Sunrise (1927/28)

Runner-Ups:
22 years (and 193 days)
Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

22 years (and 222 days)
Janet Gaynor for 3 films ( Sunrise (1927/28), Street Angel (1927/28) and Seventh Heaven (1927/28)) - she won for Seventh Heaven


24 years (and 127 days)
Joan Fontaine for Suspicion (1941)

24 years (and 325 days)
Audrey Hepburn for Roman Holiday (1953)

25 years (and 0 days)
Jennifer Jones for Song of Bernadette (1943)

25 years (and 4 days)
Julie Christie for Darling (1965)

25 years (and 138 days)
Grace Kelly for The Country Girl (1954)

25 years (and 240 days)
Hilary Swank for Boys Don't Cry (1999)

26 years (and 116 days)
Vivien Leigh for Gone With the Wind (1939)

26 years (and 130 days)
Jodie Foster for The Accused (1988)

Runner-Ups:
80 years (and 252 days)
Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (1989)


80 years (and 11 days)
Dame Edith Evans for The Whisperers (1967)

75 years (and 313 days)
May Robson for Lady for a Day (1932/33)
[Note: Robson also has the earliest birth date of all performers ever nominated for an Oscar. She was born on April 19, 1858.]

74 years (and 275 days)
Katharine Hepburn for On Golden Pond (1981)

72 years (and 45 days)
Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal (2006)

71 years (and 53 days)
Judi Dench for Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

69 years (and 116 days)
Fernanda Montenegro for Central Station (1998)

68 years (and 68 days)
Ellen Burstyn for Requiem for a Dream (2000)

67 years (and 169 days)
Ida Kaminska for The Shop on Main Street (1966)

Runner-Ups:
74 years (and 321 days)
Katharine Hepburn for On Golden Pond (1981)

63 years (and 1 day)
Marie Dressler for Min and Bill (1930/31)


62 years (and 249 days)
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)

61 years (and 337 days)
Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter (1968)

61 years (and 214 days)
Helen Mirren for The Queen (2006)

61 years (and 122 days)
Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful (1985)

60 years (and 334 days)
Katharine Hepburn for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)


54 years (and 201 days)
Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)
[Note: To date, Booth is the only Best Actress Oscar winner who was in her 50s when she won.]

49 years (and 351 days)
Shirley MacLaine for Terms of Endearment (1983)

Six years (and 310 days) Shirley Temple was the youngest performer to win an Academy Award when she won an unofficial honorary 'juvenile' Academy Award statuette in 1934, presented on February 27, 1935.

94 years (and 341 days) Eli Wallach was the oldest male performer to receive an honorary statuette in 2010, presented on November 13, 2010.

85 years (and 215 days) Myrna Loy was the oldest female performer to receive an honorary statuette in 1990, presented on March 25, 1991.



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