It is difficult to pick the 10 best Oscar Supporting Actress winners. The ladies in this category have turned in outstanding performances that will be remembered long after they are gone. Here are the 10 best Oscar Supporting Actress winners in no particular order:
- Jessica Lange. Many argue that Jessica Lange did not deserve to win the Oscar for her portrayal of Julie Nichols in 1982's "Tootsie." Lange was in a tough category with actresses Glenn Close and Lesley Ann Warren. Although the other actresses' performances were great, Lange's performance was out of the box for her, and thus deserving of the award.
- Marisa Tomei. Tomei's performance in 1992's "My Cousin Vinny" was stellar. Her flawless portrayal of Mona Lisa Vito was a stark contrast from the performances of the other nominees that year. It is because of the grittiness of her acting that she lands on the 10 best Oscar Support Actress winners' list.
- Mo'Nique. 2009's Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner, Mo'Nique was a surprise for the industry. Her win was not the surprise, but her performance was. Prior to her role in "Precious," the actress had starred in such classics as "Soul Plane" and "Phat Girlz." No one looking at Mo'Nique in these roles could have predicted the breathtaking performance of an evil mother who was so wrapped in her world she couldn't care for her own child.
- Fay Bainter. Although most people might exclude Fay Bainter from the list of 10 Best Oscar Supporting Actress winners, she deserves to be included. Bainter was usually cast as the doting mother or aunt in most roles she took on. Bainter's performance as Aunt Belle in 1938's "Jezebel" saw her take those roles to a new level.
- Hattie McDaniel. A list of the 10 Best Supporting Actress winners would not be complete without including Hattie McDaniel. Not only was McDaniel the first African-American woman to win the Best Supporting Actress award, she was the first African-American to win any Oscar ever. McDaniel's portrayal of Mammy in 1939's "Gone With the Wind" stepped outside of the stereotypical "mammy" and portrayed her to be intelligent and charming.
- Mary Astor. 1941's "The Great Lie" was considered to be racy for its time. The plot had all of the elements to make a good movie—sex and lies. Astor was the vixen who gave up a child to the wife of the man she couldn't have. Astor's character believed the man to be dead. As with any good Hollywood movie, there was a twist—he wasn't dead. The viciousness with which she went after her child and the man once the man had reappeared is classic. It is for this role that Astor's win is thought to be one of the 10 Best Oscar Supporting Actress winners.
- Meryl Streep. Perhaps one of the most memorable performances in history, Streep's turn as Joanna Kramer in 1979's "Kramer vs. Kramer" was heart-wrenching. Streep stood strong as a woman at the center of one of the most infamous Supreme Court cases in history. Coupled with other performances, Streep has sealed her place in Hollywood history.
- Mira Sorvino. Sorvino's surprising performance as Linda Ash in 1995's "Mighty Aphrodite" earned her a win over such powerful actresses as Kate Winslet and Joan Allen. Not only did Sorvino portray a whore with a heart, but she did it is such a fashion that the audience fell in love with her. For this, she is thought to have been one of the 10 Best Oscar Supporting Actress winners.
- Angelina Jolie. There aren't too many people who don't believe Angelina Jolie deserved the Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Girl, Interrupted." The dark tale about women in a mental institution stayed with audiences even as they left the theater.
- Penelope Cruz. The 2008 drama romance "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" featured the talent of Penelope Cruz. Cruz's performance as the suicidal ex-wife of Javier Bardem is deserving of recognition.
There are many more actresses that turned in outstanding performances over the years, however, these ten have to be considered among the best ever.