Oscar History

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Feb 28 2015

The New Oscar Actress Hierarchy - 33 Most Beloved Women

This is your daily reminder that Julianne Moore is now an Oscar winner!

I thought it might be fun to revise the Oscar Acting Hierarchy which I did once very long ago,I believe in connection with the rapid rise of Kate Winslet through the ranks.

What follows is a List of3334 All Time Favorite Actresses of Oscar...restricted to women with 5 or more nominations.Only the acting statistics are accounted for so Emma Thompson,for example,is not ranked.If you included her screenplay win or had she been nominated forSaving Mr Bankslast year than she would have been on the list.If you counted non-acting nominations,you'd also see Shirley Maclaine jump a rank as she was nominated for documentary once.Now that virtually every major star is a producer these types of extra nominations stats are going to get progressively murkier in Oscar lists of the future so we're opting not to include them.

How the ranks were determined.Number of nominations determines general placement.Once that's established wins are most important.In the event that someone has the same exact stats in nominations and wins,the tiebreaker factor in rank is that lead counts more than supporting.If the tie stubbornly remains the tie is broken by endurance (thus Vanessa Redgrave beats Kate Winslet though they have the exact same stats because her nominations are spread across 26 years instead of 13).Further mitigating factors: Three statues is so uncommon that it gives the actress a phantom extra nomination in terms of ranking (thus Ingrid Bergman trumps Geraldine Page).Honorary statues (Oscar or Jean Hersholt) give the actress a phantom extra boost with the same affect as an additional nomination and win (thus Liz Taylor jumps Jessica Lange)...unless she never won a competitive Oscar in which case it only counts as a phantom winornomination (thus Kerr cannot pole vault up to do battle with Lange or Blanchett) which of those to be determined by the gatekeeper (yours truly).In the event that someone has multiple wins they may vault over the next immediate rivals if said rivals have never won a competitive Oscar and/or half or more of their nominations are in supporting (thus de Havilland trumps Glenn Close & Thelma Ritter despite having less nominations but can't displace Kate Winslet.This also accounts for two women with only 4 nominations entering the 5 nomination only "Most Beloved"ranks.)

And Thirty More Royals

after the jump


01Meryl Streep19 nominations | 3 wins
02Katharine Hepburn12 nominations | 4 wins
03Bette Davis10 nominations | 2 wins


04Ingrid Bergman7 nominations | 3 wins
05Geraldine Page8 nominations | 1 win
06Jane Fonda7 nominations | 2 wins
07Greer Garson7 nominations | 1 win
08Judi Dench7 nominations | 1 win
09Elizabeth Taylor5 nominations | 2 wins | honorary statue
10Jessica Lange6 nominations | 2 wins
11Cate Blanchett6 nominations | 2 wins
12Maggie Smith6 nominations | 2 wins


13Audrey Hepburn5 nominations | 1 win | honorary statue
14Sissy Spacek6 nominations | 1 win
15Deborah Kerr6 nominations | 0 wins | honorary statue
16Ellen Burstyn6 nominations | 1 win
17Vanessa Redgrave6 nominations | 1 win
18Kate Winslet6 nominations | 1 win
19Olivia de Havilland5 nominations | 2 wins
20Glenn Close6 nominations | 0 wins
21Thelma Ritter6 nominations | 0 wins
22Shirley Maclaine5 nominations | 1 win
23Anne Bancroft5 nominations | 1 win
24Susan Sarandon5 nominations | 1 win
25Susan Hayward5 nominations | 1 win
26Norma Shearer5 nominations | 1 win
27Jennifer Jones5 nominations | 1 win

and the two new members of the club (Julianne & Amy) mix it up with four classic tough ladies to close out the list of Oscar's Most Beloved...

28Julianne Moore5 nominations | 1 win
29Barbara Stanwyck4 nominations | 0 wins  | 1 honorary
30Jodie Foster4 nominations | 2 wins
31Glenda Jackson4 nominations | 2 wins
32Shelley Winters4 nominations | 2 wins
33Irene Dunne5 nominations | 0 wins
34Amy Adams5 nominations | 0 wins

Movement within this royal court?
Cate and Julianne could continue to scale the exclusive ranks ifCarolandFreeheld,two lesbian dramas for 2015,are as promising as they sound.Winslet and Adams could conceivably rise as well if not by much.

Any immediate threats to this list?
Possibly Helen Mirren who is still in demand and just one nomination away from joining.Four-time nominees like Thompson,Bening,Hunter,Keaton,Roberts,or McDormand could surprise if they get one last killer role but chances are always slim for that...especially the oldest among them since those roles go to either Streep or Mirren.


As for the younger stars,most are still waiting on their first or second nominations.But then there's Jennifer Lawrence,and she's coming in like a hurricane to disrupt the palace grounds.Consider: she already has three nominations and a win,and actresses tend to get their most iconic roles between their mid to late 20s and early 30s and she's only 24 !!!

Other possible disrupters: Michelle Williams (3 noms,34 yrs old);Anne Hathaway (2 noms,1 win,32 yrs old);Jessica Chastain (2 noms,37 yrs old);and Saoirse Ronan (1 nom,20 yrs old)whocouldwin her second nomination very soon;and Mia Wasikowska who seems like the type if Oscar ever notices her.

Only 3?That's Insanity
Kidman,who should be on her 7th nomination by now,only has 3 so good luck with that.Pfeiffer,who should be on her 6th,also only has 3 and doesn't care at all so that's obviously not happening either.Finally,Sigourney Weaver who has never quit working,is stuck at 3.What's more,after Julianne's win she's now the only actor to be double-nominated in a single year not to have won an Oscar.

...Julianne Moore won an Oscar!So there's no point in crying about anything Oscar related ever.And by ever we mean 'until next awards season.'

Please do share your obsessive feelings about this list.

Like...how satisfied are you with it?Who do you wish was higher or lower?And which actress would you like to see more write-ups on?

Comment.You know you wanna.

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Reader Comments (104)

I'm exhausted just reading how the ranks were determined,so I"m gong to take a nap and come back to this later.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I truly hope that the magnificent Marion Cotillard joins this list,particularly if she keeps outdoing herself as she has been in the past few years.I knew she was talented watchingLa Vie en Rose,but I must admit that I've been astonished by her talent's ascent with Rust and Bone,The ImmigrantandTwo Days,One Night.She deserved nominations for the first two films in that list as well.If she can successfully crack the English speaking nomination,then sky's the limit,but I don't even care if she never gets nominated for an English performance,not when she keeps surprising in her native French.It would be its own sweet victory if she gets more nominations for foreign language films anyway.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterF

I need Annette Bening on this list soon!

I am so thrilled with Julianne Moore's win.Didn't quite imagine it happening.I thought her best chance was in supporting after being ignored for over a decade.Now let's hope the Academy does right by Close,Bening,Weaver,Linney and Davis.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenterdela

Even though I get how it happened,it still feels odd to me that Kerr is at 15 instead of 19,and that Stanwyck is at 29 instead of 32...also,Swank's unprecedented two for two would place her at 34 imo.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Nathaniel,do you give equal weight to lead and supporting wins?

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenterdela

Paul - that was not unprecedented: Vivien Leigh and Sally Field also scored 2 for 2.(sally recently changed her stats though with Lincoln.

February 28,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Impressive work.

I'm always hopeful that Julie Christie will be coaxed back out of retirement as Sarah Polley did with Away From Her and snag another nomination (and hopefully win this time) but barring that Jennifer Lawrence probably has the best shot to moving up through the chart.It would be great to see Emma Thompson pop up again in another showcase role like the one in Saving Mr.Banks and of course hope springs eternal for Sigourney and Glenn to get their due.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

True,Nat,though I'd place her between Leigh and Field until she gets a third nod and loses.;-)

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I need Joan Allen and Laura Linney to be on this list,which is looking to be very unlikely at this point.
I need an minority actress to be on this list,which is...

Nathaniel,shouldn't you devote an entire paragraph discussing Viola Davis' prospect (or the lack of) to be on this list eventually??

I'm not complaining.I'm very happy because God is no longer Oscarless.Yayyyyyy!!=)

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRicopolo

I want Cate to be a double nominee again this year even if it's just for the sport of annoying people;lead in Carol,supporting in Truth;I want her to be the total record breaker,the absolute Queen of Epicness;I want Carol to be Todd Haynes' best film;

I love Maggie Smith and want her nominated for The Lady in the Van.

I hugely respect Jessica Chastain and it's a pity she has no leads this year.

I want Meryl to break Katharine Hepburn's 4 Lead Oscars record;亚博主页

I want Audrey Hepburn's Oscar returned.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

This post is one of the many reasons I love your blog Nathaniel!An in depth ranking of actress nominations,so fun to read and wish about the future.I would like to see at least one more nomination for Winslet especially after all the backlash.I would also like to see future nominations for Thompson,Chastain,Williams,Wasikowska,and Bening.I also seem to be in the minority here in that I am a fan of Jennifer Lawrence,and for that reason I hope the academy doesn't nominate her for awhile.People really turned on her last year.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenterdaisy

I feel I should be reading this while I'm listening to an opus.

I'm going to contemplate this list for hours.

See you later.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Ricopolo -- i have to let Viola go.She has a hit TV series.I doubt she'll be motivated to get those dream project films off the ground.

February 28,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I too have hopes for Maggie Smith in "Lady in the Van"this year.The trailer hit this week btw.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterEllsworth

I can see Winslet rising.She's not even 40 yet.Plenty of time for more nominations.I don't buy the "backlash".I really don't know anyone who dislikes her,and her first post-Oscar role (Mildred Pierce) won her practically every award she was eligible for.She's been experimenting since then,which reminded me of when she went against career expectations after Titanic came out.I don't think she likes doing what's expected of her.But she has a bunch of movies coming out this year,including a few potential Oscar contenders in which she plays the lead.With her I feel like she'll return when she wants to.It's very much her call.All she needs is a nice juicy role and she'll be back in the game.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

Don't forget to finish analyzing Bette Davis's Oscar-nominated performances before starting on other actresses.She was the first actress,after all,to reach ten best actress nominations (and should have won at least three times,not only twice).You've done some great write ups so far,and commentary has been insightful as well.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Nat and Paul.Luise Rainer was the first actress to score 2-for-2.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I applaud all of your hard work,and giggled a little at the complex rules,but I don't think I want Oscar wins & Nominations to be the final word on the value of any actress.No offense,it's fine to have a little fun with the Oscar trivia,but for myself I don't trust the Academy as an arbiter.Let's not give the Oscar too much power.

Would anyone argue that the person with the most Grammy's is the best musician?

I agree with Streep,there is no such thing as "Greatest Living Actress",so there is no such thing as a hierarchy.Sorry Nathaniel,it's fun,but not definitive in anyway.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

LadyEdith -- oh,trust.that this is not definitive in terms of quality.It's meant to be definitive in terms of Oscar Love.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm already dreading this year's Lawrence/Russell joint,especially considering the Dec 25 release date,since she was grossly overrewarded for both Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.So far I've much preferred her in Winter's Bone/Hunger Games mode.

It's quite jarring to see Garson at no.7,since she's basically forgotten these days.And really,to paraphrase Chandler Bing: could her filmography *be* any blander?

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Portman and Knightenly have a lot of career left in them and could see them so this r some young ones to look out for.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Can I ask how Maggie Jessica and Cate were determined in order?Sorry I got a little confused by it all but based on the longevity factor would it not go Maggie,Cate,Jessica?

Thanks for doing this by the way - there's a reason I finally subscribed to say thanks for all you do!

Jennifer,Jessica and Nicole (God willing) should make it in there in the next ten years I think.Or maybe I'm being too Kidmaniac about it all

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterMorganisaqt

Love the list.Can't wait to see Julianne climb it.:)

I would love love love to see Viola Davis on this list,and I do think she'll win for her next nomination,but not sure if she'll get two more.Sigh.Surely Kidman could get two more nods though - no idea why they've resisted her,but that has to melt away.

We should also remember that three of Hepburn's four wins came after she hit 60!There's always hope!

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Marcos: D'oh!

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Movie gods responsible for Julianne Moore being a Best Actress Oscar winner in her fifties can you use your powers to give Kathy Bates a second Oscar (preferably in Best Actress)?

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Fingers crossed that Kidman can join the ranks some day!I'd love to know what the seven films are that you would have nominated her for.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterThefilmjunkie

I certainly hope Jessica Chastain winds up on this list because she certainly deserves to.Michelle Williams too,she reminds of a Glenn Close type,but she's kind of fizzled out.

I could see Penelope Cruz getting a few more nominations.

I pray Glenn Close can snag a competitive Oscar somehow.:(

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

eurocheese - I wish I was as optimistic as you that Viola will win on her next nod,or heck,even get nominated again!Your hope gives me a little hope lol

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Great list.I would love to see Miranda Richardson back in the mix and is up there with all of these talents,and yet is so unappreciated and just doesn't get the work these days.She should have won for both Dance with a Stranger and Spider,and should have picked up nods for (as well as Damage and Tom & Viv) Kansas City,The Apostle and at a push Made in Dagenham.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Morganisaqt -- if people have the same nom / win stats,it goes by who has the most "leads"among those.than if it still matches (like Kate & Vanessa who have the same numbers in terms of lead and support nominations) then it goes by longevity.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Kidman and Winslet can grace this next.I feel like Knightley and Chastain can up their reputation within the next few years,too.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commentermarioa

Let me add to the chorus that lists like these are EXACTLY why we love this blog.So fascinating.

I think Meryl Streep owes it to Viola Davis to produce Fences so Viola can earn the Oscar she deserves,and because it is shameful that there almost 15 years later,we haven't had another black Best Actress.Meryl,use your power,to help others!

I will never stop holding out hope for Michelle Pfeiffer.

I want another nom for Keaton so she can continue her "one a decade"streak.

And yes,we can't leave Sigourney alone now.It was acceptable when she had Julianne to keep her company.But now that stat must be remedied.

But really,my big hope right now is for Brie Larson to score a nom for Room this year.Great book.And Short Term 12 has made me a lifelong fan.I want to be a star-making turn the way Junebug transformed Amy Adams' career.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

Which are the 6 Pfeiffer nominations?She's got 7 in my books
-1983,Supporting for "Scarface"
-1989,Leading for "The Fabulous Baker Boys"WINNER
-1991,Leading for "Frankie & Johnny"WINNER
-1992,Supporting for "Batman Returns"
-1997,Leading for "A Thousand Acres"
-1999,Leading for "The Deep End of the Ocean"
-2002,Supporting for "White Oleander"WINNER

And I can think of at least 7 other roles she's arguably worth: Married to the Mob,Witches of Eastwick,Dangerous Liaisons,Love Field,Age of Innocence,What Lies Beneath,Cheri

And YES on Nicole Kidman!!Damn,people really hate her for inexplicable reasons,when she's just so amazing!

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I can't help but redistribute some of the wins.I would like to take away Taylor's first Oscar and give it to MacLaine and give MacLaine's Oscar to Streep and give Streep's Oscar to Davis.I wold also give Hepburn's Oscars to Bancroft and Streep or Keaton.亚博主页

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenterdela

Oh,here's a crazy wish:
Some director gives Julie Andrews an awesome Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love-esque role,winning her a second Oscar.4 noms,2 wins,BAM!She leapfrogs to spot 29!

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

Don't forget Hillary Swank.Two nominations,Two Oscars!亚博主页

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo

Regarding Viola,don't let her go!!She's the only chance of racial diversity (even a teeny bit) of this list,from what I can tell.
She needs champions,champions like us.Did we all give up on Julianne Moore winning an Oscar years ago?Look how that turned out??

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRicopolo

I really like how you ranked these.Very smart and fair.Thanks.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

The snub of Pfeiffer for White Oleander,and to a somewhat lesser extent Age of Innocence,will never stop stinging.Why she chose to derail her campaign for White Oleander before it even started,is beyond me.Those were RAVE reviews she got,career best.And WB was just clueless as well.

I don't think she was worthy of a nom for Scarface,not even close.But her work in A Thousand Acres and Married to the Mob would have been very deserving.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterT

After they waited so long for their second nominations,I want Keira Knightley and Naomi Watts to get third nominations very soon.Also,I'd love for Sissy Spacek to come back with a juicy role and get a seventh nomination.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

The K/Cates will both rise by next year I think.Both of them have really promising movies coming out: Cate with Carol and Truth and Kate with Steve Jobs,The Dressmaker and Triple Nine.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Next year looks way competitive already for Best Actress with Kidman,Blanchett,Moore,Lawrence,Winslet all making plays again...

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Confession: I have not seen even one Susan Hayward movie.Are there any passionate Hayward fans out there who can tell me which movie I need to see first?

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commentercash

Powerful Meryl,the one who knows there is no such thing as the greatest living actress,please help us kidmaniacs to see our redhead with the gold man again,you can feel overrated BUT NOT TODAY!

February 28,2015 | Unregistered Commentermagicub

Cash: You haven't seen Vally of the Dolls?Hayward playing Hayward playing Crawford playing Hayward playing Davis playing Hayward..........

Patty Duke,Sharon Tate.........

The wig scene alone...........

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Well,if someone ever gives Glenn Close a really amazing supporting role again,surely she would have to win.For the love of goddess,surely!

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterErko

I miss Anne Bancroft.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

@ cash,watch her "I Want to Live"Best Actress Win for the sake of seeing one more BA winning performance.

There were moments near the end of the film where I thought "GodALMIGHTY this woman ate the curtains,all of them;she's a black hole sucking on the ozone layer;she caused global warming."

But I did enjoy the the film and the story.An interesting character and an overall fine performance.I respect this win because it was neither a wife nor a sugar-overdose-I-need-insulin-shots performance.Enough Roman Holidays and Marry Poppinses,I'd opt for the unlikable curtain chewing scenery BA wins.


February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

I can see Winslet and Blanchett moving up the list,and Lawrence and Chastain seeing their debuts in a few more years.

Actually,Winslet and Blanchett could both move up this year.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

I'd love to see Kidman get a few more nods.It seems like it will be an uphill battle,since most press as well as reviews of her films focus so much on her appearance these days.That said,I think she's a magnificent talent and three nods seems like WAY too few.I'd have given her nods for Birth,Paperboy,and To Die For in addition to the nominations she has already received (all of which I think she deserved).I could also get behind nominations for Margot,Portrait of a Lady,and Dogville.

I'm also pulling for Michelle Williams to be offered more plum roles.Her film career has seemed a little quiet these days.

February 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

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