Age and Achievement: Best Actress Oscar Winners, 1929-Present

Research in Progress (April 2, 2021)

Age & Achievement: Best Actress Oscar Winners

The first Best Actress Oscar was given in 1929 for performing achievements made in 1927-1928.

Note:

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1927-28     Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, Sunrise, 22

1928-29      Mary Pickford, Coquette, 37

1929-30      Norma Shearer, Their Own Desire, The Divorcee, 28

1930-31      Marie Dressler, Min and Bill, 63

1931-32      Helen Haynes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet, 32

1932-33    Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory, 26

1934           Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night, 31

1935            Bette Davis, Dangerous, 27

1936           Luise Rainer, The Great Ziegfeld, 26

1937           Luise Rainer, The Good Earth, 27 (her second Oscar)

1938           Bette Davis, Jezebel, 30

1939           Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind, 26

1940           Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle, 29

1941            Joan Fontaine, Suspicion, 24

1942           Greer Garson, Mrs. Miniver, 38

1943           Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette, 24

1944           Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight, 29

1945           Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce, 41

1946          Olivia De Havilland, To Each His Own, 30

1947           Loretta Young, The Farmer’s Daughter, 34

1948          Jane Wyman. Johnny Belinda, 31

1949         Olivia De Havilland, The Heiress, 33

1950        Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday, 29

1951         Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire, 38

1952         Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba, 54

1953         Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 24

1954         Grace Kelly, The Country Girl, 25

1955         Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo, 47

1956         Ingrid Bergman, Anastasia, 41 (her second Oscar)

1957        Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve, 27

1958        Susan Hayward, I Want to Live! 40

1959        Simone Signoret, A Room at the Top, 38

1960       Elizabeth Taylor, Butterfield 8, 28

1961        Sophia Loren, Two Women, 27

1962       Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker, 31

1963       Patricia Neal, Hud, 37

1964       Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins, 29

1965       Julie Christie, Darling, 24

1966       Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 34 (second Oscar)

1967       Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl, 26

(Tie)      Katharine Hepburn, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? 59 (second Oscar)

1968       Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter, 60 (third Oscar)

1969       Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 35

1970      Glenda Jackson, Women in Love, 34

1971       Jane Fonda, Klute, 34

1972      Liza Minnelli, Cabaret, 26

1973      Glenda Jackson, A  Touch of Class, 37

1974       Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 42

1975       Louise Fletcher. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 41

1976       Faye Dunaway, Network, 35

1977       Diane Keaton, Annie Hall, 31

1978       Jane Fonda, Coming Home, 41

1979       Sally Field, Norma Rae, 33

1980       Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner’s Daughter, 31

1981       Katharine, Hepburn, On Golden Pond, 74 (her Fourth Oscar)

1982       Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice, 33

1983       Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment, 49

1984       Sally Field, Places in the Heart, 38

1985      Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful, 61

1986     Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God, 21 (youngest winner)

1987      Cher, Moonstruck, 41

1988      Jodie Foster, The Accused, 26

1989    Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy, 80 (oldest winner)

1990      Kathy Bates, Misery, 42

1991      Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs, 29

1992      Emma Thompson, Howards End, 33

1993      Holly Hunter, The Piano, 35

1994      Jessica Lange, Blue Sky, 45

1995      Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking, 49

1996     Frances McDormand, Fargo, 39

1997     Helen Hunt, As Good As It gets, 34

1998      Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love, 26

1999      Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry, 25

2000     Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich, 33

2001      Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball, 35 (first Black Best Actress winner)

2002     Nicole Kidman, The Hours, 35

2003      Charlize Theron, Monster, 28

2004       Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby, 30

2005      Reese Witherspoon, Ray, 29

2006      Helen Mirren, The Queen, 61

2007      Marion Cottillard, La Vie en Rose, 32

2008     Kate Winslet, The Reader, 33

2009     Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side, 45

2010      Natalie Portman, Black Swan, 25

2011      Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady, 62 (second Best Actress)

2012      Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Handbook, 22

2013     Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine, 44

2014     Julianne Moore, Still Alice? 54

2015     Brie Larson, Room, 26

2016     Emma Stone, La La Land, 29

2017    Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, 60

2018   Olivia Colman, The Favourite, 45

2019  Rene Zellweger, Judy, 50

2020: Frances McDormand, Nomadland, 63

Summary

Winners in their 20s: 31

Winners in their 30s: 31

Winners in their 40s: 11

Winners in their 50s: 2

Winners in their 60s: 2

Winners older than 70: 1 (Jessica Tandy)

 

Conclusion:

Over the past 93 years, there have been 77 Best Actress winners.

For the women who have won multiple times, the age at which they earned their first Oscar was taken into account.  Thus, three-time Best Actress winner, Frances McDormand, was 39 at her first win (and 63 at her last).

The vast majority of female winners (62 of the 77) were younger than 39.

Only a minority (15) were older than 40.

Updated April 2021