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Academy Award for Best Actress facts for kids

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Academy Award For Best Actress
The 2023 recipient: Michelle Yeoh
Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
Country United States
First awarded Janet Gaynor, (1929)
  • 7th Heaven
  • Street Angel
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Currently held by Michelle Yeoh, (2023)

The Academy Award For Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given to an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role in a film released that year. The award is traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actor winner.

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with Janet Gaynor receiving the award for her roles in 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Currently, nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the actors branch of AMPAS; winners are selected by a plurality vote from the entire eligible voting members of the Academy. In the first three years of the awards, actresses were nominated as the best in their categories. At that time, all of their work during the qualifying period (as many as three films, in some cases) was listed after the award. However, during the 3rd ceremony held in 1930, only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award, even though each of the acting winners had two films following their names on the ballots. The following year, the current system was introduced in which an actress is nominated for a specific performance in a single film. Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year.

Since its inception, the award has been given to 79 different actresses. Katharine Hepburn has won the most awards in this category with four, followed by Frances McDormand with three. (Hepburn holds the record for most wins among all actors.) With 17 nominations, Meryl Streep is the most nominated in this category, resulting in two wins. Jeanne Eagels is the only actress thus far to be posthumously nominated in the category for The Letter, at the 2nd Academy Awards. In 1962, Italian actress Sophia Loren was the first winner for a non-English language performance in Two Women. Since then, the only other non-English speaking performance to win in this category was Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose in 2008.

At age 21, Marlee Matlin became the youngest actress to win this award for Children of a Lesser God in 1987; and at age 80, Jessica Tandy became the oldest winner in this category for Driving Miss Daisy in 1990. Halle Berry is the first woman of color to win in this category, for Monster's Ball, in 2002. Jodie Foster is the only openly LGBT woman to win in this category, for The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs, although she was not publicly out until after both wins. Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh is the first Asian and the second woman of color to win in this category for her role as Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Winners and nominees

In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, and generally correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County; the ceremonies are always held the following year. For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned twelve months, from August 1 to July 31. For the 6th ceremony held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933. Since the 7th ceremony held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.

Janet Gaynor Argentinean Magazine AD (newly cropped)
Janet Gaynor was the inaugural winner, for three films: 7th Heaven (1927), Street Angel (1928), & Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927).
Norma Shearer Stars of the Photoplay
Norma Shearer won for The Divorcée (1930).
Marie Dressler - 1930 (cropped)
Marie Dressler won for Min and Bill (1930).
Katharine Hepburn publicity photograph
Katharine Hepburn won 4 times (the most of any actor), for: Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), & On Golden Pond (1981).
Claudette colbert
Claudette Colbert won for It Happened One Night (1934).
Bette Davis - Publicity still (1939)
Bette Davis won twice, for Dangerous (1935) & Jezebel (1938).
Luise Rainer - 1941
Luise Rainer was the first to win twice consecutively, for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) & The Good Earth (1937).
Vivien Leigh Scarlet
Vivien Leigh won twice, for Gone with the Wind (1939) & A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
Joan Fontaine 1942
Joan Fontaine won for Suspicion (1941).
Greer Garson-publicity
Greer Garson won for Mrs. Miniver (1942).
JENNIFERjonesz (cropped)
Jennifer Jones won for The Song of Bernadette (1943).
Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight 1944
Ingrid Bergman won 2 of her 3 Oscars here, for Gaslight (1944) & Anastasia (1956).
Olivia DeHavilland-2
Olivia de Havilland won twice, for To Each His Own (1946) & The Heiress (1949).
JAneWyman (nu*cropped)
Jane Wyman won for Johnny Belinda (1948); first to utilize ASL.
Shirley Booth 1950
Shirley Booth won for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)—won Tony for the same role.
Audrey Hepburn 1956
Audrey Hepburn won for Roman Holiday (1953).
Susan Hayward - 1940s
Susan Hayward won for I Want to Live! (1958).
Signoret Harcourt 1947
Simone Signoret won for Room at the Top (1959).
Elizabeth Taylor, late 1950s
Elizabeth Taylor won twice, for BUtterfield 8 (1960) & Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
Sophia Loren - 1959
Sophia Loren won for Two Women (1960); the first for a non-English (Italian) performance.
Anne Bancroft 1952
Anne Bancroft won for The Miracle Worker (1962).
Julie Andrews 1970
Julie Andrews won for Mary Poppins (1964).
Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson won twice, for Women in Love (1970) & A Touch of Class (1973).
Jane Fonda - Sunday - 1963
Jane Fonda won twice, for Klute (1971) & Coming Home (1978).
Liza Minnelli Publicity 1973
Liza Minnelli won for Cabaret (1972).
Ellen Burstyn at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Ellen Burstyn won for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974).
LouiseFletcherOscar (cropped)
Louise Fletcher won for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
Faye Dunaway - Festiwal Gwiazd in Gdańsk
Faye Dunaway won for Network (1976).
Diane Keaton 2012-1 (cropped)
Diane Keaton won for Annie Hall (1977).
Sally Field (11205) (cropped)
Sally Field won twice, for Norma Rae (1979) & Places in the Heart (1984).
Sissy Spacek by David Shankbone (cropped)
Sissy Spacek won for Coal Miner's Daughter (1980).
Meryl Streep December 2018
Meryl Streep won 2 of her 3 Oscars here, for Sophie's Choice (1982) & The Iron Lady (2011).
Shirley MacLaine - 1960
Shirley MacLaine won for Terms of Endearment (1983).
Geraldine Page 1950s
Geraldine Page won for The Trip to Bountiful (1985).
Marlee Matlin won for Children of a Lesser God (1986); first deaf, and at age 21, this category's youngest winner.
Jodie Foster Césars 2011 2 (cropped)
Jodie Foster won twice, for The Accused (1988) & The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Jessica Tandy Publicity Photo
Jessica Tandy won for Driving Miss Daisy (1989); this category's oldest winner, at age 80.
SDCC 2015 - Kathy Bates (19551149449) (cropped)
Kathy Bates won for Misery (1990).
Emma Thompson at 2013 TIFF 1 (cropped) (cropped)
Emma Thompson won her 1st Oscar for Howards End (1992).
Holly Hunter won for The Piano (1993).
Jessica Lange (Cropped)
Jessica Lange won her 2nd Oscar for Blue Sky (1994).
Susan Sarandon 3 by David Shankbone
Susan Sarandon won for Dead Man Walking (1995).
Frances McDormand 2015 (cropped)
Frances McDormand won thrice, for Fargo (1996), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), & Nomadland (2020).
Hilary Swank at 28th Tokyo International Film Festival
Hilary Swank won twice, for Boys Don't Cry (1999) & Million Dollar Baby (2004); the former, first for a trans role.
Halle Berry (46604499724) (newly cropped)
Halle Berry won for Monster's Ball (2001); first black actress to win this category.
Nicole kidman3cropped
Nicole Kidman won for The Hours (2002).
Charlize-theron-IMG 6045x (cropped)
Charlize Theron won for Monster (2003).
Helen Mirren won for The Queen (2006).
Marion Cotillard at 2019 Cannes
Marion Cotillard won for La Vie en Rose (2007); first French-language performance winner.
Kate Winslet at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (cropped)
Kate Winslet won for The Reader (2008).
Natalie Portman won for Black Swan (2010).
Cate Blanchett 2011
Cate Blanchett won her 2nd Oscar for Blue Jasmine (2013).
Julianne Moore (15011443428) (2)
Julianne Moore won for Still Alice (2014).
Emma Stone 2011 (cropped)
Emma Stone won for La La Land (2016).
Olivia Colman at Moet BIFA 2014 (cropped) (cropped)
Olivia Colman won for The Favourite (2018).
Jessica Chastain Cannes 2016 4 (cropped)
Jessica Chastain won for The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021).
Table key
Indicates the winner
Indicates a posthumous nominee


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Janet Gaynor Award winner Diane 7th Heaven
Angela Street Angel
The Wife Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Louise Dresser Mrs. Pleznik A Ship Comes In
Gloria Swanson Sadie Thompson Sadie Thompson
Mary Pickford Award winner Norma Besant Coquette
Ruth Chatterton Jacqueline Floriot Madame X
Betty Compson Carrie The Barker
Jeanne Eagels Leslie Crosbie The Letter
Corinne Griffith Emma Hamilton The Divine Lady
Bessie Love Hank Mahoney The Broadway Melody


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Norma Shearer Award winner Jerry Bernard Martin The Divorcee
Nancy Carroll Hallie Hobart The Devil's Holiday
Ruth Chatterton Sarah Storm Sarah and Son
Greta Garbo Anna Christie Anna Christie
Madame Rita Cavallini Romance
Norma Shearer Lucia Marlett Their Own Desire
Gloria Swanson Marion Donnell The Trespasser
Marie Dressler Award winner Min Divot Min and Bill
Marlene Dietrich Mademoiselle Amy Jolly Morocco
Irene Dunne Sabra Cravat Cimarron
Ann Harding Linda Seton Holiday
Norma Shearer Jan Ashe A Free Soul
Helen Hayes Award winner Madelon Claudet The Sin of Madelon Claudet
Marie Dressler Emma Thatcher Smith Emma
Lynn Fontanne The Actress The Guardsman
Katharine Hepburn Award winner Eva Lovelace Morning Glory
May Robson Apple Annie Lady for a Day
Diana Wynyard Jane Marryot Cavalcade
Claudette Colbert Award winner Ellie Andrews It Happened One Night
Grace Moore Mary Barrett One Night of Love
Norma Shearer Elizabeth Barrett The Barretts of Wimpole Street
Bette Davis (Write-in) Mildred Rogers Of Human Bondage
Bette Davis Award winner Joyce Heath Dangerous
Elisabeth Bergner Gemma Jones Escape Me Never
Claudette Colbert Jane Everest Private Worlds
Katharine Hepburn Alice Adams Alice Adams
Miriam Hopkins Becky Sharp Becky Sharp
Merle Oberon Kitty Vane The Dark Angel
Luise Rainer Award winner Anna Held The Great Ziegfeld
Irene Dunne Theodora Lynn / Caroline Adams Theodora Goes Wild
Gladys George Carrie Snyder Valiant Is the Word for Carrie
Carole Lombard Irene Bullock My Man Godfrey
Norma Shearer Juliet Capulet Romeo and Juliet
Luise Rainer Award winner O-Lan The Good Earth
Irene Dunne Lucy Warriner The Awful Truth
Greta Garbo Marguerite Gautier Camille
Janet Gaynor Esther Victoria Blodgett / Vicki Lester A Star Is Born
Barbara Stanwyck Stella Martin Dallas Stella Dallas
Bette Davis Award winner Julie Marsden Jezebel
Fay Bainter Hannah Parmalee White Banners
Wendy Hiller Eliza Doolittle Pygmalion
Norma Shearer Marie Antoinette Marie Antoinette
Margaret Sullavan Patricia "Pat" Hollmann Three Comrades
Vivien Leigh Award winner Scarlett O'Hara Gone with the Wind
Bette Davis Judith Traherne Dark Victory
Irene Dunne Terry McKay Love Affair
Greta Garbo Nina Yakushova "Ninotchka" Ivanoff Ninotchka
Greer Garson Katherine Bridges Goodbye, Mr. Chips


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Ginger Rogers Award winner Kitty Foyle Kitty Foyle
Bette Davis Leslie Crosbie The Letter
Joan Fontaine The Second Mrs. de Winter Rebecca
Katharine Hepburn Tracy Lord The Philadelphia Story
Martha Scott Emily Webb Our Town
Joan Fontaine Award winner Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth Suspicion
Bette Davis Regina Giddens The Little Foxes
Olivia de Havilland Emmy Brown Hold Back the Dawn
Greer Garson Edna Gladney Blossoms in the Dust
Barbara Stanwyck Katherine "Sugarpuss" O'Shea Ball of Fire
Greer Garson Award winner Kay Miniver Mrs. Miniver
Bette Davis Charlotte Vale Now, Voyager
Katharine Hepburn Tess Harding Woman of the Year
Rosalind Russell Ruth Sherwood My Sister Eileen
Teresa Wright Eleanor Twitchell Gehrig The Pride of the Yankees
Jennifer Jones Award winner Bernadette Soubirous The Song of Bernadette
Jean Arthur Constance "Connie" Milligan The More the Merrier
Ingrid Bergman María For Whom the Bell Tolls
Joan Fontaine Tessa Sanger The Constant Nymph
Greer Garson Marie Curie Madame Curie
Ingrid Bergman Award winner Paula Alquist Anton Gaslight
Claudette Colbert Anne Hilton Since You Went Away
Bette Davis Fanny Trellis Mr. Skeffington
Greer Garson Susie "Sparrow" Parkington Mrs. Parkington
Barbara Stanwyck Phyllis Dietrichson Double Indemnity
Joan Crawford Award winner Mildred Pierce Beragon Mildred Pierce
Ingrid Bergman Mary Benedict The Bells of St. Mary's
Greer Garson Mary Rafferty The Valley of Decision
Jennifer Jones Singleton / Victoria Morland Love Letters
Gene Tierney Ellen Berent Harland Leave Her to Heaven
Olivia de Havilland Award winner Josephine "Jody" Norris To Each His Own
Celia Johnson Laura Jesson Brief Encounter
Jennifer Jones Pearl Chavez Duel in the Sun
Rosalind Russell Elizabeth Kenny Sister Kenny
Jane Wyman Orry Baxter The Yearling
Loretta Young Award winner Katie Holstrom The Farmer's Daughter
Joan Crawford Louise Howell Possessed
Susan Hayward Angelica Evans Conway Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman
Dorothy McGuire Kathy Lacy Gentleman's Agreement
Rosalind Russell Lavinia Mannon Mourning Becomes Electra
Jane Wyman Award winner Belinda McDonald Johnny Belinda
Ingrid Bergman Joan of Arc Joan of Arc
Olivia de Havilland Virginia Stuart Cunningham The Snake Pit
Irene Dunne Martha Hanson I Remember Mama
Barbara Stanwyck Leona Stevenson Sorry, Wrong Number
Olivia de Havilland Award winner Catherine Sloper The Heiress
Jeanne Crain Patricia "Pinky" Johnson Pinky
Susan Hayward Eloise Winters My Foolish Heart
Deborah Kerr Evelyn Boult Edward, My Son
Loretta Young Margaret Come to the Stable


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Judy Holliday Award winner Emma "Billie" Dawn Born Yesterday
Anne Baxter Eve Harrington All About Eve
Bette Davis Margo Channing
Eleanor Parker Marie Allen Caged
Gloria Swanson Norma Desmond Sunset Boulevard
Vivien Leigh Award winner Blanche DuBois A Streetcar Named Desire
Katharine Hepburn Rose Sayer The African Queen
Eleanor Parker Mary McLeod Detective Story
Shelley Winters Alice Tripp A Place in the Sun
Jane Wyman Louise Mason The Blue Veil
Shirley Booth Award winner Lola Delaney Come Back, Little Sheba
Joan Crawford Myra Hudson Sudden Fear
Bette Davis Margaret Elliot The Star
Julie Harris Frances "Frankie" Addams The Member of the Wedding
Susan Hayward Jane Froman With a Song in My Heart
Audrey Hepburn Award winner Princess Ann Roman Holiday
Leslie Caron Lili Daurier Lili
Ava Gardner Eloise "Honey Bear" Kelly Mogambo
Deborah Kerr Karen Holmes From Here to Eternity
Maggie McNamara Patty O'Neill The Moon Is Blue
Grace Kelly Award winner Georgie Elgin The Country Girl
Dorothy Dandridge Carmen Jones Carmen Jones
Judy Garland Esther Victoria Blodgett / Vicki Lester A Star Is Born
Audrey Hepburn Sabrina Fairchild Sabrina
Jane Wyman Helen Phillips Magnificent Obsession
Anna Magnani Award winner Serafina Delle Rose The Rose Tattoo
Susan Hayward Lillian Roth I'll Cry Tomorrow
Katharine Hepburn Jane Hudson Summertime
Jennifer Jones Han Suyin Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
Eleanor Parker Marjorie Lawrence Interrupted Melody
Ingrid Bergman Award winner Anna Koreff / Anastasia Anastasia
Carroll Baker Baby Doll Meighan Baby Doll
Katharine Hepburn Lizzie Curry The Rainmaker
Nancy Kelly Christine Penmark The Bad Seed
Deborah Kerr Anna Leonowens The King and I
Joanne Woodward Award winner Eve White / Eve Black / Jane The Three Faces of Eve
Deborah Kerr Angela Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
Anna Magnani Gioia Wild Is the Wind
Elizabeth Taylor Susanna Drake Raintree County
Lana Turner Constance MacKenzie Peyton Place
Susan Hayward Award winner Barbara Graham I Want to Live!
Deborah Kerr Sibyl Railton-Bell Separate Tables
Shirley MacLaine Ginnie Moorehead Some Came Running
Rosalind Russell Mame Dennis Auntie Mame
Elizabeth Taylor Margaret "Maggie the Cat" Pollitt Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Simone Signoret Award winner Alice Aisgill Room at the Top
Doris Day Jan Morrow Pillow Talk
Audrey Hepburn Gabrielle van der Mal The Nun's Story
Katharine Hepburn Violet Venable Suddenly, Last Summer
Elizabeth Taylor Catherine Holly


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Elizabeth Taylor Award winner Gloria Wandrous BUtterfield 8
Greer Garson Eleanor Roosevelt Sunrise at Campobello
Deborah Kerr Ida Carmody The Sundowners
Shirley MacLaine Fran Kubelik The Apartment
Melina Mercouri Ilya Never on Sunday
Sophia Loren Award winner Cesira Two Women
Audrey Hepburn Holly Golightly / Lula Mae Barnes Breakfast at Tiffany's
Piper Laurie Sarah Packard The Hustler
Geraldine Page Alma Winemiller Summer and Smoke
Natalie Wood Wilma Dean "Deanie" Loomis Splendor in the Grass
Anne Bancroft Award winner Annie Sullivan The Miracle Worker
Bette Davis Baby Jane Hudson What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Katharine Hepburn Mary Cavan Tyrone Long Day's Journey into Night
Geraldine Page Alexandra Del Lago Sweet Bird of Youth
Lee Remick Kirsten Arnesen Clay Days of Wine and Roses
Patricia Neal Award winner Alma Brown Hud
Leslie Caron Jane Fossett The L-Shaped Room
Shirley MacLaine Irma La Douce Irma la Douce
Rachel Roberts Margaret Hammond This Sporting Life
Natalie Wood Angie Rossini Love with the Proper Stranger
Julie Andrews Award winner Mary Poppins Mary Poppins
Anne Bancroft Jo Armitage The Pumpkin Eater
Sophia Loren Filumena Marturano Marriage Italian Style
Debbie Reynolds Molly Brown The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Kim Stanley Myra Savage Séance on a Wet Afternoon
Julie Christie Award winner Diana Scott Darling
Julie Andrews Maria von Trapp The Sound of Music
Samantha Eggar Miranda Grey The Collector
Elizabeth Hartman Selina D'Arcy A Patch of Blue
Simone Signoret La Contessa Ship of Fools
Elizabeth Taylor Award winner Martha Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Anouk Aimée Anne Gauthier A Man and a Woman
Ida Kamińska Rozalie Lautmann The Shop on Main Street
Lynn Redgrave Georgina "Georgy" Parkin Georgy Girl
Vanessa Redgrave Leonie Delt Morgan!
Katharine Hepburn Award winner Christina Drayton Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Anne Bancroft Mrs. Robinson The Graduate
Faye Dunaway Bonnie Parker Bonnie and Clyde
Edith Evans Maggie Ross The Whisperers
Audrey Hepburn Susy Hendrix Wait Until Dark
Katharine Hepburn Award winner (TIE) Eleanor of Aquitaine The Lion in Winter
Barbra Streisand Award winner (TIE) Fanny Brice Funny Girl
Patricia Neal Nettie Cleary The Subject Was Roses
Vanessa Redgrave Isadora Duncan Isadora
Joanne Woodward Rachel Cameron Rachel, Rachel
Maggie Smith Award winner Jean Brodie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Geneviève Bujold Anne Boleyn Anne of the Thousand Days
Jane Fonda Gloria Beatty They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Liza Minnelli Mary Ann "Pookie" Adams The Sterile Cuckoo
Jean Simmons Mary Wilson The Happy Ending


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Glenda Jackson Award winner Gudrun Brangwen Women in Love
Jane Alexander Eleanor Backman The Great White Hope
Ali MacGraw Jennifer Cavalleri-Barrett Love Story
Sarah Miles Rosy Ryan Ryan's Daughter
Carrie Snodgress Bettina "Tina" Balser Diary of a Mad Housewife
Jane Fonda Award winner Bree Daniels Klute
Julie Christie Constance Miller McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Glenda Jackson Alex Greville Sunday Bloody Sunday
Vanessa Redgrave Mary, Queen of Scots Mary, Queen of Scots
Janet Suzman Empress Alexandra of Russia Nicholas and Alexandra
Liza Minnelli Award winner Sally Bowles Cabaret
Diana Ross Billie Holiday Lady Sings the Blues
Maggie Smith Augusta Bertram Travels with My Aunt
Cicely Tyson Rebecca Morgan Sounder
Liv Ullmann Kristina Nilsson The Emigrants
Glenda Jackson Award winner Vickie Allessio A Touch of Class
Ellen Burstyn Chris MacNeil The Exorcist
Marsha Mason Maggie Paul Cinderella Liberty
Barbra Streisand Katie Morosky The Way We Were
Joanne Woodward Rita Walden Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams
Ellen Burstyn Award winner Alice Hyatt Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Diahann Carroll Claudine Price Claudine
Faye Dunaway Evelyn Cross Mulwray Chinatown
Valerie Perrine Harriett Jolliff / Honey Bruce Lenny
Gena Rowlands Mabel Longhetti A Woman Under the Influence
Louise Fletcher Award winner Nurse Mildred Ratched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Isabelle Adjani Adèle Hugo / Adèle Lewly The Story of Adele H.
Ann-Margret Nora Walker Tommy
Glenda Jackson Hedda Gabler Hedda
Carol Kane Gitl Hester Street
Faye Dunaway Award winner Diana Christensen Network
Marie-Christine Barrault Marthe Cousin Cousine
Talia Shire Adrian Pennino Rocky
Sissy Spacek Carrie White Carrie
Liv Ullmann Jenny Isaksson Face to Face
Diane Keaton Award winner Annie Hall Annie Hall
Anne Bancroft Emma Jacklin The Turning Point
Jane Fonda Lillian Hellman Julia
Shirley MacLaine Deedee Rodgers The Turning Point
Marsha Mason Paula McFadden The Goodbye Girl
Jane Fonda Award winner Sally Hyde Coming Home
Ingrid Bergman Charlotte Andergast Autumn Sonata
Ellen Burstyn Doris Same Time, Next Year
Jill Clayburgh Erica Benton An Unmarried Woman
Geraldine Page Eve Interiors
Sally Field Award winner Norma Rae Webster Norma Rae
Jill Clayburgh Marilyn Holmberg Starting Over
Jane Fonda Kimberly Wells The China Syndrome
Marsha Mason Jennie MacLaine Chapter Two
Bette Midler Mary Rose Foster The Rose


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Sissy Spacek Award winner Loretta Lynn Coal Miner's Daughter
Ellen Burstyn Edna Mae Harper-McCauley Resurrection
Goldie Hawn Judy Benjamin Private Benjamin
Mary Tyler Moore Beth Jarrett Ordinary People
Gena Rowlands Gloria Swenson Gloria
Katharine Hepburn Award winner Ethel Thayer On Golden Pond
Diane Keaton Louise Bryant Reds
Marsha Mason Georgia Hines Only When I Laugh
Susan Sarandon Sally Matthews Atlantic City
Meryl Streep Sara Woodruff and Anna The French Lieutenant's Woman
Meryl Streep Award winner Sophie Zawistowski Sophie's Choice
Julie Andrews Victor Grazinski / Victoria Grant Victor/Victoria
Jessica Lange Frances Farmer Frances
Sissy Spacek Beth Horman Missing
Debra Winger Paula Pokrifki An Officer and a Gentleman
Shirley MacLaine Award winner Aurora Greenway Terms of Endearment
Jane Alexander Carol Wetherly Testament
Meryl Streep Karen Silkwood Silkwood
Julie Walters Susan White / Rita Educating Rita
Debra Winger Emma Greenway Horton Terms of Endearment
Sally Field Award winner Edna Spalding Places in the Heart
Judy Davis Adela Quested A Passage to India
Jessica Lange Jewell Ivy Country
Vanessa Redgrave Olive Chancellor The Bostonians
Sissy Spacek Mae Garvey The River
Geraldine Page Award winner Carrie Watts The Trip to Bountiful
Anne Bancroft Miriam Ruth / Anna Maria Burchetti Agnes of God
Whoopi Goldberg Celie Harris-Johnson The Color Purple
Jessica Lange Patsy Cline Sweet Dreams
Meryl Streep Karen Blixen Out of Africa
Marlee Matlin Award winner Sarah Norman Children of a Lesser God
Jane Fonda Alex Sternbergen / Viveca Van Loren The Morning After
Sissy Spacek Babe Botrelle / Rebecca MaGrath Crimes of the Heart
Kathleen Turner Peggy Sue Kelcher-Bodell Peggy Sue Got Married
Sigourney Weaver Ellen Ripley Aliens
Cher Award winner Loretta Castorini Moonstruck
Glenn Close Alex Forrest Fatal Attraction
Holly Hunter Jane Craig Broadcast News
Sally Kirkland Anna Anna
Meryl Streep Helen Archer Ironweed
Jodie Foster Award winner Sarah Tobias The Accused
Glenn Close Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil Dangerous Liaisons
Melanie Griffith Tess McGill Working Girl
Meryl Streep Lindy Chamberlain A Cry in the Dark
Sigourney Weaver Dian Fossey Gorillas in the Mist
Jessica Tandy Award winner Daisy Werthan Driving Miss Daisy
Isabelle Adjani Camille Claudel Camille Claudel
Pauline Collins Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw Shirley Valentine
Jessica Lange Ann Talbot Music Box
Michelle Pfeiffer Susie Diamond The Fabulous Baker Boys


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Kathy Bates Award winner Annie Wilkes Misery
Anjelica Huston Lilly Dillon The Grifters
Julia Roberts Vivian Ward Pretty Woman
Meryl Streep Suzanne Vale Postcards from the Edge
Joanne Woodward India Bridge Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
Jodie Foster Award winner Clarice Starling The Silence of the Lambs
Geena Davis Thelma Dickinson Thelma & Louise
Laura Dern Rose Rambling Rose
Bette Midler Dixie Leonard For the Boys
Susan Sarandon Louise Sawyer Thelma & Louise
Emma Thompson Award winner Margaret Schlegel Howards End
Catherine Deneuve Éliane Devries Indochine
Mary McDonnell May-Alice Culhane Passion Fish
Michelle Pfeiffer Louise Irene "Lurene" Hallett Love Field
Susan Sarandon Michaela Murphy Odone Lorenzo's Oil
Holly Hunter Award winner Ada McGrath The Piano
Angela Bassett Anna Mae Bullock / Tina Turner What's Love Got to Do with It
Stockard Channing Louisa "Ouisa" Kittredge Six Degrees of Separation
Emma Thompson Sarah "Sally" Kenton The Remains of the Day
Debra Winger Joy Davidman Shadowlands
Jessica Lange Award winner Carly Marshall Blue Sky
Jodie Foster Nell Kellty Nell
Miranda Richardson Vivienne Haigh-Wood Tom & Viv
Winona Ryder Josephine "Jo" March Little Women
Susan Sarandon Regina "Reggie" Love The Client
Susan Sarandon Award winner Helen Prejean Dead Man Walking
Elisabeth Shue Sera Leaving Las Vegas
Sharon Stone Ginger McKenna Casino
Meryl Streep Francesca Johnson The Bridges of Madison County
Emma Thompson Elinor Dashwood Sense and Sensibility
Frances McDormand Award winner Marge Gunderson Fargo
Brenda Blethyn Cynthia Rose Purley Secrets & Lies
Diane Keaton Bessie Wakefield Marvin's Room
Kristin Scott Thomas Katharine Clifton The English Patient
Emily Watson Bess McNeill Breaking the Waves
Helen Hunt Award winner Carol Connelly As Good as It Gets
Helena Bonham Carter Kate Croy The Wings of the Dove
Julie Christie Phyllis Hart Afterglow
Judi Dench Queen Victoria Mrs Brown
Kate Winslet Rose DeWitt Bukater Titanic
Gwyneth Paltrow Award winner Viola de Lesseps Shakespeare in Love
Cate Blanchett Queen Elizabeth I Elizabeth
Fernanda Montenegro Isadora "Dora" Teixeira Central Station
Meryl Streep Kate Gulden One True Thing
Emily Watson Jacqueline du Pré Hilary and Jackie
Hilary Swank Award winner Brandon Teena Boys Don't Cry
Annette Bening Carolyn Burnham American Beauty
Janet McTeer Mary Jo Walker Tumbleweeds
Julianne Moore Sarah Miles The End of the Affair
Meryl Streep Roberta Guaspari Music of the Heart


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Julia Roberts Award winner Erin Brockovich Erin Brockovich
Joan Allen Laine Hanson The Contender
Juliette Binoche Vianne Rocher Chocolat
Ellen Burstyn Sara Goldfarb Requiem for a Dream
Laura Linney Samantha "Sammy" Prescott You Can Count on Me
Halle Berry Award winner Leticia Musgrove Monster's Ball
Judi Dench Iris Murdoch Iris
Nicole Kidman Satine Moulin Rouge!
Sissy Spacek Ruth Fowler In the Bedroom
Renée Zellweger Bridget Jones Bridget Jones's Diary
Nicole Kidman Award winner Virginia Woolf The Hours
Salma Hayek Frida Kahlo Frida
Diane Lane Constance "Connie" Sumner Unfaithful
Julianne Moore Cathy Whitaker Far from Heaven
Renée Zellweger Roxie Hart Chicago
Charlize Theron Award winner Aileen Wuornos Monster
Keisha Castle-Hughes Paikea Apirana Whale Rider
Diane Keaton Erica Jane Berry Something's Gotta Give
Samantha Morton Sarah Sullivan In America
Naomi Watts Cristina Williams-Peck 21 Grams
Hilary Swank Award winner Maggie Fitzgerald Million Dollar Baby
Annette Bening Julia Lambert Being Julia
Catalina Sandino Moreno María Álvarez Maria Full of Grace
Imelda Staunton Vera Rose Drake Vera Drake
Kate Winslet Clementine Kruczynski Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Reese Witherspoon Award winner June Carter Cash Walk the Line
Judi Dench Laura Forster-Henderson Mrs Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman Sabrina "Bree" Osbourne / Stanley Schupak Transamerica
Keira Knightley Elizabeth Bennet Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron Josey Aimes North Country
Helen Mirren Award winner Queen Elizabeth II The Queen
Penélope Cruz Raimunda Volver
Judi Dench Barbara Covett Notes on a Scandal
Meryl Streep Miranda Priestly The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet Sarah Pierce Little Children
Marion Cotillard Award winner Édith Piaf La Vie en Rose
Cate Blanchett Queen Elizabeth I Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie Fiona Anderson Away from Her
Laura Linney Wendy Savage The Savages
Elliot Page Juno MacGuff Juno
Kate Winslet Award winner Hanna Schmitz The Reader
Anne Hathaway Kym Buchman Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie Christine Collins Changeling
Melissa Leo Ray Eddy Frozen River
Meryl Streep Sister Aloysius Beauvier Doubt
Sandra Bullock Award winner Leigh Anne Tuohy The Blind Side
Helen Mirren Countess Sophia Tolstaya The Last Station
Carey Mulligan Jenny Mellor An Education
Gabourey Sidibe Claireece "Precious" Jones Precious
Meryl Streep Julia Child Julie & Julia


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Natalie Portman Award winner Nina Sayers Black Swan
Annette Bening Nicole Allgood The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman Becca Corbett Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence Ree Dolly Winter's Bone
Michelle Williams Cindy Heller Blue Valentine
Meryl Streep Award winner Margaret Thatcher The Iron Lady
Glenn Close Albert Nobbs Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis Aibileen Clark The Help
Rooney Mara Lisbeth Salander The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Michelle Williams Marilyn Monroe My Week with Marilyn
Jennifer Lawrence Award winner Tiffany Maxwell Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain Maya Harris Zero Dark Thirty
Emmanuelle Riva Anne Laurent Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis Hushpuppy Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts Maria Bennett The Impossible
Cate Blanchett Award winner Jeanette "Jasmine" Francis Blue Jasmine
Amy Adams Sydney Prosser / Lady Edith Greensly American Hustle
Sandra Bullock Ryan Stone Gravity
Judi Dench Philomena Lee Philomena
Meryl Streep Violet Weston August: Osage County
Julianne Moore Award winner Alice Howland Still Alice
Marion Cotillard Sandra Bya Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones Jane Wilde Hawking The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike Amy Elliott-Dunne Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon Cheryl Strayed Wild
Brie Larson Award winner Joy "Ma" Newsome Room
Cate Blanchett Carol Aird Carol
Jennifer Lawrence Joy Mangano Joy
Charlotte Rampling Kate Mercer 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan Eilis Lacey Brooklyn
Emma Stone Award winner Mia Dolan La La Land
Isabelle Huppert Michèle Leblanc Elle
Ruth Negga Mildred Loving Loving
Natalie Portman Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy Jackie
Meryl Streep Florence Foster Jenkins Florence Foster Jenkins
Frances McDormand Award winner Mildred Hayes Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Sally Hawkins Elisa Esposito The Shape of Water
Margot Robbie Tonya Harding I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson Lady Bird
Meryl Streep Katharine Graham The Post
Olivia Colman Award winner Queen Anne The Favourite
Yalitza Aparicio Cleodegaria "Cleo" Gutiérrez Roma
Glenn Close Joan Castleman The Wife
Lady Gaga Ally Maine A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy Leonore Carol "Lee" Israel Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Renée Zellweger Award winner Judy Garland Judy
Cynthia Erivo Harriet Tubman Harriet
Scarlett Johansson Nicole Barber Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan Josephine "Jo" March Little Women


Year Actress Role(s) Film Ref.
Frances McDormand Award winner Fern Nomadland
Viola Davis Gertrude "Ma" Rainey Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Andra Day Billie Holiday The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby Martha Weiss Pieces of a Woman
Carey Mulligan Cassandra "Cassie" Thomas Promising Young Woman
Jessica Chastain Award winner Tammy Faye Bakker The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman Leda Caruso The Lost Daughter
Penélope Cruz Janis Martínez Moreno Parallel Mothers
Nicole Kidman Lucille Ball Being the Ricardos
Kristen Stewart Diana, Princess of Wales Spencer
Michelle Yeoh Award winner Evelyn Quan Wang Everything Everywhere All at Once
Cate Blanchett Lydia Tár Tár
Ana de Armas Norma Jeane / Marilyn Monroe Blonde
Andrea Riseborough Leslie Rowland To Leslie
Michelle Williams Mitzi Fabelman The Fabelmans

Multiple wins and nominations

Age superlatives

Record Actor Film Year Age Ref.
Oldest Winner Jessica Tandy Driving Miss Daisy 1990 80
Oldest Nominee Emmanuelle Riva Amour 2013 85
Youngest Winner Marlee Matlin Children of a Lesser God 1987 21
Youngest Nominee Quvenzhané Wallis Beasts of the Southern Wild 2013 9

Films with multiple Leading Actress nominations

Winners are in bold.

Multiple character nominations

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Anexo:Óscar a la mejor actriz para niños

  • Academy Award for Best Actor
  • All Academy Award acting nominees
  • BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • César Award for Best Actress
  • Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
  • Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
  • Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
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Academy Award for Best Actress Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.