Sunday, September 24, 2023

List: Top 3 Best Actress Oscar Winners

This week on Episode 250 of the InSession Film Podcast, inspired by Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (starring Frances McDormand) and also The Shape of Water (starring Sally Hawkins) – two actresses who are frontrunners for Best Actress this year – we thought it would be fun to discuss our favorite Best Actress Oscar winners. In most cases, these Top 3 lists are challenging and require us to think deeply on the selections we choose each week. However, this is perhaps the most challenging to date, or at least it’s up there. There are so many great winners of this category over the years and narrowing that down to three was very difficult. Still, we had fun discussing these great performances and hopefully our lists live up to the bill. On that note, what performances would make your list? Here are the one’s that made ours:

**Please keep in mind that we each had different criteria for our selections**


1) Frances McDormand – Fargo
2) Vivien Leigh – A Streetcar Named Desire
3) Brie Larson – Room


1) Julie Andrews – Mary Poppins
2) Frances McDormand – Fargo
3) Ellen Burstyn – Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore


1) Vivien Leigh – A Streetcar Named Desire
2) Anne Bancroft – The Miracle Worker
3) Ellen Burstyn – Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Honorable Mentions (Combined)

Charlize Theron – Monster
Elizabeth Taylor – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Katharine Hepburn – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Emma Thompson – Howards End
Holly Hunter – The Piano
Joan Crawford – Mildred Pierce
Faye Dunaway – Network
Diane Keaton – Annie Hall
Grace Kelly – The Country Girl
Sally Field – Norma Rae
Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice
Jodie Foster – Silence of the Lambs
Audrey Hepburn – Roman Holiday
Kathy Bates – Misery
Hilary Swank – Boys Don’t Cry
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

Hopefully you guys enjoyed our lists and if you agree or disagree with us, let us know in the comment section below. Obviously, there are many other performances that could make your list, depending on your tastes and which performances work best for you. We also didn’t count on so much crossover, so unfortunately we didn’t get to discuss as many as we would have liked to overall. That being said, what would be your Top 3? Leave a comment in the comment section or email us at

For the entire podcast, click here or listen below.

For more lists done by the InSession Film crew and other guests, be sure see our Top 3 Movie Lists page.

JD Duran
JD Duran
InSession Film founder and owner. I love film. Love art. Love how it intersects with our real lives. My favorite movies include Citizen Kane, The 400 Blows, Modern Times, The Godfather and The Tree of Life. Follow me on Twitter @RealJDDuran. Follow us @InSessionFilm.

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