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EmmaStoneWin

Emma Stone, 2016 winner

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Prior to the 49th Academy Awards ceremony (1976), this award was known as the Academy Award of Merit for Performance by an Actress. Since its inception, however, the award has commonly been referred to as the Oscar for Best Actress. While actresses are nominated for this award by Academy members who are actors and actresses themselves, winners are selected by the Academy membership as a whole.

History

The first recipient was Janet Gaynor, who was honored at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony (1929) for her performances in Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise. In the first three years of the Academy Awards, individuals such as actors and directors were nominated as the best in their categories. Then 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 Academy Awards ceremony (1930), only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award, even though each of the acting winners had had two films following their names on the ballots. For the 4th Academy Awards ceremony (1931), this unwieldy and confusing system was replaced by the current system in which an actress is nominated for a specific performance in a single film. Such nominations are limited to five per year. Until the 8th Academy Awards ceremony (1936), nominations for the Best Actress award were intended to include all actresses, whether the performance was in either a leading or supporting role. At the 9th Academy Awards ceremony (1937), however, the Best Supporting Actress category was specifically introduced as a distinct award following complaints that the single Best Actress category necessarily favored leading performers with the most screen time.

Nominees & winners

Best Actress By Decade

1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s2000s2010s

1st Academy Awards (1927/28)

Winner
Janet Gaynor7th Heaven
Nominees
Louise DresserA Ship Comes In
Gloria SwansonSadie Thompson

2nd Academy Awards (1928/29)

Winner
Mary PickfordCoquette
Nominees
Ruth ChattertonMadame X[1]
Betty CompsonThe Barker[1]
Jeanne EagelsThe Letter[1]
Corinne GriffithThe Divine Lady[1]
Bessie LoveThe Broadway Melody[1]

3rd Academy Awards (1929/30)

Winner
Norma ShearerThe Divorcee[2]
Nominees
Nancy CarrollThe Devil's Holiday
Ruth ChattertonSarah and Son
Greta GarboAnna Christie
Norma ShearerTheir Own Desire[2]
Gloria SwansonThe Trespasser

1930s

4th Academy Awards (1930/31)

Winner
Marie DresslerMin and Bill
Nominees
Marlene DietrichMorocco
Irene DunneCimarron
Ann HardingHoliday
Norma ShearerA Free Soul

5th Academy Awards (1931/32)

Winner
Helen HayesThe Sin of Madelon Claudet
Nominees
Marie DresslerEmma
Lynn FontanneThe Guardsman

6th Academy Awards (1932/33)

Winner
Katharine HepburnMorning Glory
Nominees
May RobsonLady for a Day(came in 2nd)
Diana WynyardCavalcadecame in 3rd)

7th Academy Awards (1934)

Winner
Claudette ColbertIt Happened One Night
Nominees
Bette DavisOf Human Bondage (came in 3rd)[3]
Grace MooreOne Night of Love
Norma ShearerThe Barretts of Wimpole Street (came in 2nd)

8th Academy Awards (1935)

Winner
Bette DavisDangerous
Nominees
Elisabeth BergnerEscape Me Never (came in 3rd)
Claudette ColbertPrivate Worlds
Katharine HepburnAlice Adams (came in 2nd)
Miriam HopkinsBecky Sharp
Merle OberonThe Dark Angel

9th Academy Awards (1936)

Winner
Luise RainerThe Great Ziegfeld
Nominees
Irene DunneTheodora Goes Wild
Gladys GeorgeValiant Is the Word for Carrie
Carole LombardMy Man Godfrey
Norma ShearerRomeo and Juliet

10th Academy Awards (1937)

Winner
Luise RainerThe Good Earth
Nominees
Irene DunneThe Awful Truth
Greta GarboCamille
Janet GaynorA Star Is Born
Barbara StanwyckStella Dallas

11th Academy Awards (1938)

Winner
Bette DavisJezebel
Nominees
Fay BainterWhite Banners
Wendy HillerPygmalion
Norma ShearerMarie Antoinette
Margaret SullavanThree Comrades

12th Academy Awards (1939)

Winner
Vivien LeighGone with the Wind
Nominees
Bette DavisDark Victory
Irene DunneLove Affair
Greta GarboNinotchka
Greer GarsonGoodbye, Mr. Chips

1940s

13th Academy Awards (1940)

Winner
Ginger RogersKitty Foyle
Nominees
Bette DavisThe Letter
Joan FontaineRebecca
Katharine HepburnThe Philadelphia Story
Martha ScottOur Town

14th Academy Awards (1941)

Winner
Joan FontaineSuspicion
Nominees
Bette DavisThe Little Foxes
Olivia de HavillandHold Back the Dawn
Greer GarsonBlossoms in the Dust
Barbara StanwyckBall of Fire

15th Academy Awards (1942)

Winner
Greer GarsonMrs. Miniver
Nominees
Bette DavisNow, Voyager
Katharine HepburnWoman of the Year
Rosalind RussellMy Sister Eileen
Teresa WrightThe Pride of the Yankees

16th Academy Awards (1943)

Winner
Jennifer JonesThe Song of Bernadette
Nominees
Jean ArthurThe More the Merrier
Ingrid BergmanFor Whom the Bell Tolls
Joan FontaineThe Constant Nymph
Greer GarsonMadame Curie

17th Academy Awards (1944)

Winner
Ingrid BergmanGaslight
Nominees
Claudette ColbertSince You Went Away
Bette DavisMr. Skeffington
Greer GarsonMrs. Parkington
Barbara StanwyckDouble Indemnity

18th Academy Awards (1945)

Winner
Joan CrawfordMildred Pierce
Nominees
Ingrid BergmanThe Bells of St. Mary's
Greer GarsonThe Valley of Decision
Jennifer JonesLove Letters
Gene TierneyLeave Her to Heaven

19th Academy Awards (1946)

Winner
Olivia de HavillandTo Each His Own
Nominees
Celia JohnsonBrief Encounter
Jennifer JonesDuel in the Sun
Rosalind RussellSister Kenny
Jane WymanThe Yearling

20th Academy Awards (1947)

Winner
Loretta YoungThe Farmer's Daughter
Nominees
Joan CrawfordPossessed
Susan HaywardSmash-Up--The Story of a Woman
Dorothy McGuireGentleman's Agreement
Rosalind RussellMourning Becomes Electra

21st Academy Awards (1948)

Winner
Jane WymanJohnny Belinda
Nominees
Ingrid BergmanJoan of Arc
Olivia de HavillandThe Snake Pit
Irene DunneI Remember Mama
Barbara StanwyckSorry, Wrong Number

22nd Academy Awards (1949)

Winner
Olivia de HavillandThe Heiress
Nominees
Jeanne CrainPinky
Susan HaywardMy Foolish Heart
Deborah KerrEdward, My Son
Loretta YoungCome to the Stable

1950s

23rd Academy Awards (1950)

Winner
Judy HollidayBorn Yesterday
Nominees
Anne BaxterAll about Eve
Bette DavisAll about Eve
Eleanor ParkerCaged
Gloria SwansonSunset Blvd.

24th Academy Awards (1951)

Winner
Vivien LeighA Streetcar Named Desire
Nominees
Katharine HepburnThe African Queen
Eleanor ParkerDetective Story
Shelley WintersA Place in the Sun
Jane WymanThe Blue Veil

25th Academy Awards (1952)

Winner
Shirley BoothCome Back, Little Sheba
Nominees
Joan CrawfordSudden Fear
Bette DavisThe Star
Julie HarrisThe Member of the Wedding
Susan HaywardWith a Song in My Heart

26th Academy Awards (1953)

Winner
Audrey HepburnRoman Holiday
Nominees
Leslie CaronLili
Ava GardnerMogambo
Deborah KerrFrom Here to Eternity
Maggie McNamaraThe Moon Is Blue

27th Academy Awards (1954)

Winner
Grace KellyThe Country Girl
Nominees
Dorothy DandridgeCarmen Jones
Judy GarlandA Star Is Born
Audrey HepburnSabrina
Jane WymanMagnificent Obsession

28th Academy Awards (1955)

Winner
Anna MagnaniThe Rose Tattoo
Nominees
Susan HaywardI'll Cry Tomorrow
Katharine HepburnSummertime
Jennifer JonesLove Is a Many-Splendored Thing
Eleanor ParkerInterrupted Melody

29th Academy Awards (1956)

Winner
Ingrid BergmanAnastasia
Nominees
Carroll BakerBaby Doll
Katharine HepburnThe Rainmaker
Nancy KellyThe Bad Seed
Deborah KerrThe King and I

30th Academy Awards (1957)

Winner
Joanne WoodwardThe Three Faces of Eve
Nominees
Deborah KerrHeaven Knows, Mr. Allison
Anna MagnaniWild Is the Wind
Elizabeth TaylorRaintree County
Lana TurnerPeyton Place

31st Academy Awards (1958)

Winner
Susan HaywardI Want to Live!
Nominees
Deborah KerrSeparate Tables
Shirley MacLaineSome Came Running
Rosalind RussellAuntie Mame
Elizabeth TaylorCat on a Hot Tin Roof

32nd Academy Awards (1959)

Winner
Simone SignoretRoom at the Top
Nominees
Doris DayPillow Talk
Audrey HepburnThe Nun's Story
Katharine HepburnSuddenly, Last Summer
Elizabeth TaylorSuddenly, Last Summer

1960s

33rd Academy Awards (1960)

Winner
Elizabeth TaylorButterfield 8
Nominees
Greer GarsonSunrise at Campobello
Deborah KerrThe Sundowners
Shirley MacLaineThe Apartment
Melina MercouriNever on Sunday

34th Academy Awards (1961)

Winner
Sophia LorenTwo Women
Nominees
Audrey HepburnBreakfast at Tiffany's
Piper LaurieThe Hustler
Geraldine PageSummer and Smoke
Natalie WoodSplendor in the Grass

35th Academy Awards (1962)

Winner
Anne BancroftThe Miracle Worker
Nominees
Bette DavisWhat Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Katharine HepburnLong Day's Journey into Night
Geraldine PageSweet Bird of Youth
Lee RemickDays of Wine and Roses

36th Academy Awards (1963)

Winner
Patricia NealHud
Nominees
Leslie CaronThe L-Shaped Room
Shirley MacLaineIrma La Douce
Rachel RobertsThis Sporting Life
Natalie WoodLove with the Proper Stranger

37th Academy Awards (1964)

Winner
Julie AndrewsMary Poppins
Nominees
Anne BancroftThe Pumpkin Eater
Sophia LorenMarriage Italian Style
Debbie ReynoldsThe Unsinkable Molly Brown
Kim StanleySeance on a Wet Afternoon

38th Academy Awards (1965)

Winner
Julie ChristieDarling
Nominees
Julie AndrewsThe Sound of Music
Samantha EggarThe Collector
Elizabeth HartmanA Patch of Blue
Simone SignoretShip of Fools

39th Academy Awards (1966)

Winner
Elizabeth TaylorWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nominees
Anouk AimeeA Man and a Woman
Ida KaminskaThe Shop on Main Street
Lynn RedgraveGeorgy Girl
Vanessa RedgraveMorgan!

40th Academy Awards (1967)

Winner
Katharine HepburnGuess Who's Coming to Dinner
Nominees
Anne BancroftThe Graduate
Faye DunawayBonnie and Clyde
Dame Edith EvansThe Whisperers
Audrey HepburnWait until Dark

41st Academy Awards (1968)

Winner
Katharine HepburnThe Lion in Winter and
Barbra StreisandFunny Girl[4]
Nominees
Patricia NealThe Subject Was Roses
Vanessa RedgraveIsadora
Joanne WoodwardRachel, Rachel

42nd Academy Awards (1969)

Winner
Maggie SmithThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Nominees
Genevieve BujoldAnne of the Thousand Days
Jane FondaThey Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Liza MinnelliThe Sterile Cuckoo
Jean SimmonsThe Happy Ending

1970s

43rd Academy Awards (1970)

Winner
Glenda JacksonWomen in Love
Nominees
Jane AlexanderThe Great White Hope
Ali MacGrawLove Story
Sarah MilesRyan's Daughter
Carrie SnodgressDiary of a Mad Housewife

44th Academy Awards (1971)

Winner
Jane FondaKlute
Nominees
Julie ChristieMcCabe & Mrs. Miller
Glenda JacksonSunday Bloody Sunday
Vanessa RedgraveMary, Queen of Scots
Janet SuzmanNicholas and Alexandra

45th Academy Awards (1972)

Winner
Liza MinnelliCabaret
Nominees
Diana RossLady Sings the Blues
Maggie SmithTravels with My Aunt
Cicely TysonSounder
Liv UllmannThe Emigrants

46th Academy Awards (1973)

Winner
Glenda JacksonA Touch of Class
Nominees
Ellen BurstynThe Exorcist
Marsha MasonCinderella Liberty
Barbra StreisandThe Way We Were
Joanne WoodwardSummer Wishes, Winter Dreams

47th Academy Awards (1974)

Winner
Ellen BurstynAlice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Nominees
Diahann CarrollClaudine
Faye DunawayChinatown
Valerie PerrineLenny
Gena RowlandsA Woman under the Influence

48th Academy Awards (1975)

Winner
Louise FletcherOne Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
Nominees
Isabelle AdjaniThe Story of Adele H.
Ann-MargretTommy
Glenda JacksonHedda
Carol KaneHester Street

49th Academy Awards (1976)

Winner
Faye DunawayNetwork
Nominees
Marie-Christine BarraultCousin, Cousine
Talia ShireRocky
Sissy SpacekCarrie
Liv UllmannFace to Face

50th Academy Awards (1977)

Winner
Diane KeatonAnnie Hall
Nominees
Anne BancroftThe Turning Point
Jane FondaJulia
Shirley MacLaineThe Turning Point
Marsha MasonThe Goodbye Girl

51st Academy Awards (1978)

Winner
Jane FondaComing Home
Nominees
Ingrid BergmanAutumn Sonata
Ellen BurstynSame Time, Next Year
Jill ClayburghAn Unmarried Woman
Geraldine PageInteriors

52nd Academy Awards (1979)

Winner
Sally FieldNorma Rae
Nominees
Jill ClayburghStarting Over
Jane FondaThe China Syndrome
Marsha MasonChapter Two
Bette MidlerThe Rose

1980s

53rd Academy Awards (1980)

Winner
Sissy SpacekCoal Miner's Daughter
Nominees
Ellen BurstynResurrection
Goldie HawnPrivate Benjamin
Mary Tyler MooreOrdinary People
Gena RowlandsGloria

54th Academy Awards (1981)

Winner
Katharine HepburnOn Golden Pond
Nominees
Diane KeatonReds
Marsha MasonOnly When I Laugh
Susan SarandonAtlantic City
Meryl StreepThe French Lieutenant's Woman

55th Academy Awards (1982)

Winner
Meryl StreepSophie's Choice
Nominees
Julie AndrewsVictor/Victoria
Jessica LangeFrances
Sissy SpacekMissing
Debra WingerAn Officer and a Gentleman

56th Academy Awards (1983)

Winner
Shirley MacLaineTerms of Endearment
Nominees
Jane AlexanderTestament
Meryl StreepSilkwood
Julie WaltersEducating Rita
Debra WingerTerms of Endearment

57th Academy Awards (1984)

Winner
Sally FieldPlaces in the Heart
Nominees
Judy DavisA Passage to India
Jessica LangeCountry
Vanessa RedgraveThe Bostonians
Sissy SpacekThe River

58th Academy Awards (1985)

Winner
Geraldine PageThe Trip to Bountiful
Nominees
Anne BancroftAgnes of God
Whoopi GoldbergThe Color Purple
Jessica LangeSweet Dreams
Meryl StreepOut of Africa

59th Academy Awards (1986)

Winner
Marlee MatlinChildren of a Lesser God
Nominees
Jane FondaThe Morning After
Sissy SpacekCrimes of the Heart
Kathleen TurnerPeggy Sue Got Married
Sigourney WeaverAliens

60th Academy Awards (1987)

Winner
CherMoonstruck
Nominees
Glenn CloseFatal Attraction
Holly HunterBroadcast News
Sally KirklandAnna
Meryl StreepIronweed

61st Academy Awards (1988)

Winner
Jodie FosterThe Accused
Nominees
Glenn CloseDangerous Liaisons
Melanie GriffithWorking Girl
Meryl StreepA Cry in the Dark
Sigourney WeaverGorillas in the Mist

62nd Academy Awards (1989)

Winner
Jessica TandyDriving Miss Daisy
Nominees
Isabelle AdjaniCamille Claudel
Pauline CollinsShirley Valentine
Jessica LangeMusic Box
Michelle PfeifferThe Fabulous Baker Boys

1990s

63rd Academy Awards (1990)

Winner
Kathy BatesMisery
Nominees
Anjelica HustonThe Grifters
Julia RobertsPretty Woman
Meryl StreepPostcards from the Edge
Joanne WoodwardMr. & Mrs. Bridge

64th Academy Awards (1991)

Winner
Jodie FosterThe Silence of the Lambs
Nominees
Geena DavisThelma & Louise
Laura DernRambling Rose
Bette MidlerFor the Boys
Susan SarandonThelma & Louise

65th Academy Awards (1992)

Winner
Emma ThompsonHowards End
Nominees
Catherine DeneuveIndochine
Mary McDonnellPassion Fish
Michelle PfeifferLove Field
Susan SarandonLorenzo's Oil

66th Academy Awards (1993)

Winner
Holly HunterThe Piano
Nominees
Angela BassettWhat's Love Got to Do with It
Stockard ChanningSix Degrees of Separation
Emma ThompsonThe Remains of the Day
Debra WingerShadowlands

67th Academy Awards (1994)

Winner
Jessica LangeBlue Sky
Nominees
Jodie FosterNell
Miranda RichardsonTom & Viv
Winona RyderLittle Women
Susan SarandonThe Client

68th Academy Awards (1995)

Winner
Susan SarandonDead Man Walking
Nominees
Elisabeth ShueLeaving Las Vegas
Sharon StoneCasino
Meryl StreepThe Bridges of Madison County
Emma ThompsonSense and Sensibility

69th Academy Awards (1996)

Winner
Frances McDormandFargo
Nominees
Brenda BlethynSecrets & Lies
Diane KeatonMarvin's Room
Kristin Scott ThomasThe English Patient
Emily WatsonBreaking the Waves

70th Academy Awards (1997)

Winner
Helen HuntAs Good as It Gets
Nominees
Helena Bonham CarterThe Wings of the Dove
Julie ChristieAfterglow
Judi DenchMrs. Brown
Kate WinsletTitanic

71st Academy Awards (1998)

Winner
Gwyneth PaltrowShakespeare in Love
Nominees
Cate BlanchettElizabeth
Fernanda MontenegroCentral Station
Meryl StreepOne True Thing
Emily WatsonHilary and Jackie

72nd Academy Awards (1999)

Winner
Hilary SwankBoys Don't Cry
Nominees
Annette BeningAmerican Beauty
Janet McTeerTumbleweeds
Julianne MooreThe End of the Affair
Meryl StreepMusic of the Heart

2000s

73rd Academy Awards (2000)

Winner
Julia RobertsErin Brockovich
Nominees
Joan AllenThe Contender
Juliette BinocheChocolat
Ellen BurstynRequiem for a Dream
Laura LinneyYou Can Count on Me

74th Academy Awards (2001)

Winner
Halle BerryMonster's Ball
Nominees
Judi DenchIris
Nicole KidmanMoulin Rouge
Sissy SpacekIn the Bedroom
Renée ZellwegerBridget Jones's Diary

75th Academy Awards (2002)

Winner
Nicole KidmanThe Hours
Nominees
Salma HayekFrida
Diane LaneUnfaithful
Julianne MooreFar from Heaven
Renée ZellwegerChicago

76th Academy Awards (2003)

Winner
Charlize TheronMonster
Nominees
Keisha Castle-HughesWhale Rider
Diane KeatonSomething's Gotta Give
Samantha MortonIn America
Naomi Watts21 Grams

77th Academy Awards (2004)

Winner
Hilary SwankMillion Dollar Baby
Nominees
Annette BeningBeing Julia
Catalina Sandino MorenoMaria Full of Grace
Imelda StauntonVera Drake
Kate WinsletEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

78th Academy Awards (2005)

Winner
Reese WitherspoonWalk the Line
Nominees
Judi DenchMrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity HuffmanTransamerica
Keira KnightleyPride & Prejudice
Charlize TheronNorth Country

79th Academy Awards (2006)

Winner
Helen MirrenThe Queen
Nominees
Penélope CruzVolver
Judi DenchNotes on a Scandal
Meryl StreepThe Devil Wears Prada
Kate WinsletLittle Children

80th Academy Awards (2007)

Winner
Marion CotillardLa Vie en Rose
Nominees
Cate BlanchettElizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie ChristieAway from Her
Laura LinneyThe Savages
Ellen PageJuno

81st Academy Awards (2008)

Winner
Kate WinsletThe Reader
Nominees
Anne HathawayRachel Getting Married
Angelina JolieChangeling
Melissa LeoFrozen River
Meryl StreepDoubt

82nd Academy Awards (2009)

Winner
Sandra BullockThe Blind Side
Nominees
Helen MirrenThe Last Station
Carey MulliganAn Education
Gabourey SidibePrecious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Meryl StreepJulie & Julia

2010s

83rd Academy Awards (2010)

Winner
Natalie PortmanBlack Swan
Nominees
Annette BeningThe Kids Are All Right
Nicole KidmanRabbit Hole
Jennifer LawrenceWinter's Bone
Michelle WilliamsBlue Valentine

84th Academy Awards (2011)

Winner
Meryl StreepThe Iron Lady
Nominees
Glenn CloseAlbert Nobbs
Viola DavisThe Help
Rooney MaraThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Michelle WilliamsMy Week with Marilyn

85th Academy Awards (2012)

Winner
Jennifer LawrenceSilver Linings Playbook
Nominees
Jessica ChastainZero Dark Thirty
Emmanuelle RivaAmour
Quvenzhané WallisBeasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi WattsThe Impossible

86th Academy Awards (2013)

Winner
Cate BlanchettBlue Jasmine
Nominees
Amy AdamsAmerican Hustle
Sandra BullockGravity
Judi DenchPhilomena
Meryl StreepAugust: Osage County

87th Academy Awards (2014)

Winner
Julianne MooreStill Alice
Nominees
Marion CotillardTwo Days, One Night
Felicity JonesThe Theory of Everything
Rosamund PikeGone Girl
Reese WitherspoonWild

88th Academy Awards (2015)

Winner
Brie LarsonRoom
Nominees
Cate BlanchettCarol
Jennifer LawrenceJoy
Charlotte Rampling45 Years
Saoirse RonanBrooklyn

89th Academy Awards (2016)

Winner
Emma StoneLa La Land
Nominees
Isabelle HuppertElle
Ruth NeggaLoving
Natalie PortmanJackie
Meryl StreepFlorence Foster Jenkins

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 This is not an official nomination. There were no announcements of nominations, no certificates of nomination or honorable mention, and only the winners were revealed during the awards banquet on April 3, 1930. Though not official nominations, the additional names in each category, according to in-house records, were under consideration by the various boards of judges.
  2. 2.0 2.1 As allowed by the award rules for this year, a single nomination could honor work in one or more films. Though the final awards ballot listed both The Divorcee and Their Own Desire in her nomination, the award was announced for only the The Divorcee performance. It has never been established as to why this was, but it possibly could have been because the original report from the Acting Branch Board of Judges only listed The Divorcee performance in the results of the nominations voting, or it could have been because on some of the final ballots, the voters had indicated the The Divorcee performance over the other.
  3. THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL NOMINATION. Write-in candidate.
  4. A tie.

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