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

Research in Progress (October 27, 2021)

Age & Achievement: Best Actress Oscar Winners

Note:

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

1927-28:     Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, Sunrise, 22 (won for 3 roles)

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 (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 (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 (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 (second Oscar)

2018: Olivia Colman, The Favourite, 45

2019: Rene Zellweger, Judy, 50

2020: Frances McDormand, Nomadland, 63 (third Oscar)

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 small minority (15) of women were older than 40.

Updated October 2021