Wrap-Ranker Poll: Best Oscar-Winning Performance of the Past 50 Years

Marlon Brando? Anthony Hopkins? Meryl Streep? Kathy Bates?

Great actors like Hepburn and Brando and Streep have delivered great performances in movies that the Academy has recognized — but whose is the very best in the last 50 years?

Jamie Foxx forever changed the way the world viewed the former “In Living Color” star with his portrayal of legendary musician Ray Charles in “Ray.” He became just the third African-American to win the Best Actor prize in the same year he became just the second actor ever to be nominated for two Oscars in the same ceremony.

Meryl Strep is considered one of the best actresses in movies — and she’s won Best Actress twice, for playing a Holocaust survivor in “Sophie’s Choice” and for playing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”

Marlon Brando resurrected his career and anchored “The Godfather” (one of the defining films of world cinema) by playing what could have been a typical gangster character as a loving father who strove to whatever lengths were necessary to protect his family.

Though criminals have been a staple of film since the beginning, this was one of the earliest and most influential examples of a villain being portrayed in a sympathetic light.

Though he’d made a living in British cinema and TV, Anthony Hopkins sprang to world popularity through his portrayal of serial killer/cannibal Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs.” Hopkins forever altered the way a serial killer could be portrayed on film, expanding the possibilities from just a mentally deficient or insane social outcast (Buffalo Bill, Leatherface, Norman Bates, etc.) to a worldly devil that could justify evil whilst reveling in it.

Vote for your favorite Oscar-winning performance of the past 50 years.

Oscar-Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked