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Emma Stone Wins 2nd Oscar for Best Actress – Where Does She Rank All Time?

by Scott Kacsmar
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Emma Stone Oscar

Was Emma Stone acting again when she looked so surprised to win her 2nd Best Actress Oscar on Sunday night, or did she genuinely not expect it to happen this year, much like most bettors at the top sportsbooks for awards shows?

Either way, Stone deserved her award for her incredible performance in Poor Things, a film she carries for its more than 2-hour runtime. We see her character have to develop everything from motor skills to learning how to walk and talk as a re-animated figure in director Yorgos Lanthimos’ unique film.

It was no slight at all for Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Stone’s main competition, to lose to this performance. Perhaps if Gladstone was nominated for Best Supporting Actress instead of Lead in a film where Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro were still the focus for director Martin Scorsese, she would have made a clean sweep at the awards show this year.

The win for Stone puts her in rare company as she is only the 15th actress to win multiple Oscars for Best Actress since the Oscars first aired in 1929.

Stone is also just the 6th actress to win multiple Oscars without a loss as she is 2-for-2 after also winning for 2016’s La La Land. She joins Vivien Leigh, Luise Rainer, Sally Field and Hilary Swank in the 2-for-2 group. Frances McDormand is 3-for-3 in the Best Actress category. Stone would need one more win to tie McDormand with 3 wins, and only the great Katharine Hepburn ever got to 4 Best Actress wins at the Oscars.

This has already been a huge year for the 35-year-old Stone, and this type of win elevates her among her acting peers. But where does she rank from an all-time perspective among the 15 actresses to win multiple Best Actress Oscars?

We considered the full body of work for each actress, with an emphasis on their best work (including TV series) and also a nod to their versatility.

15 Glenda Jackson (4 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Women in Love (1970), A Touch of Class (1973)

Full disclosure: Glenda Jackson is the only actress on this list where I did not see either of her films that won Best Actress Oscars. For everyone else, I have seen their movies that won Oscars. So, a day could come when I watch those films and post a Shaq meme response that I just wasn’t familiar with her game.

But I did see Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) where she plays a divorced woman having an affair with a young man who is also involved with an older man, a taboo subject for the era.

An English actress, Jackson is on a short list of performers who have won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award. Her peak was definitely in the 1970s with her award-winning and nominated roles coming in that decade.

Perhaps the main reason we saw her less afterward was her career shift to politics in 1992 when she was elected as the Labour Party MP for Hampstead and Highgate.

Jackson’s final film was The Great Escaper (2023) with Michael Caine, a posthumous release after her death in June 2023. Jackson was 87 years old.

14 Luise Rainer (2 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: The Great Ziegfield (1936), The Good Earth (1937)

Luise Rainer leaves behind a fascinating legacy. She lived to be 104 years old and was just 13 days shy of her 105th birthday when she passed away in 2014. That makes her the longest-lived actress from the classic Hollywood days.

If you are wondering why you haven’t heard of her more, she blames becoming the first actor to win back-to-back Oscars back in 1936-37 for that. It put enormous expectations on her, and this was before the age of TV, the Internet and social media. She just couldn’t live up to those expectations, so her career fizzled despite a long life lived with citizenship in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The only 2 movies I’ve seen her in are her Oscar-winning performances in a couple of quality films from the 1930s. She was more of a supporting actress in The Great Ziegfield biopic, but she more than held her own alongside Paul Muni in The Good Earth, a highlight from 1937.

She will always go down as the first actor to win multiple Oscars and the first to win them consecutively.

13 Vivien Leigh (2 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Gone with the Wind (1939), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

When it comes to having a really high peak in a relatively short career, Vivien Leigh did just that with legendary performances in all-time classic films like Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. Her characters in those films, Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois, stand the test of time thanks to her performances.

Her last film performance, Ship of Fools (1965), was also a memorable one as part of an ensemble cast and dialogue-heavy drama that takes place on a ship.

But she also had the reputation of being a difficult actor to work with, and given her struggles with bipolar disorder, there were gaps in her resume. She eventually succumbed to tuberculosis in 1967 at the age of just 53.

12 Sally Field (2 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Norma Rae (1979), Places in the Heart (1984)

Depending on your age, your introduction to Sally Field may be one of many things.

She might be the TV actress who played Gidget and The Flying Nun. She might be the attractive woman playing opposite Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, which might have influenced you to see her best film role as a factory worker in Norma Rae (1979).

For the 90s kids, she might be the voice of Sassy in Homeward Bound, the busy mom in Mrs. Doubtfire in need of a babysitter, or Tom Hanks’ mom in Forrest Gump. For later generations, she was Aunt May in the Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man movies and she also played Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln.

No matter how you found her, Sally Field has had a long, successful career with plenty of movies and shows worth watching again and again. She may not have been the lead in as many films as these other actresses, but she usually picked quality parts.

11 Hilary Swank (2 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Boys Don’t Cry (1999), Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Remember Hilary Swank? Her career got off to a rocky start as The Next Karate Kid (1994) was a box-office bomb and not well received by critics after she replaced franchise favorite Ralph Macchio. She also was cut from Beverly Hills, 90210 after 16 episodes, and that show wasn’t exactly the barometer for great acting.

But she eventually landed the lead in Boys Don’t Cry, a 1999 independent film about the true story of Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered as a hate crime in Nebraska. This was at a time when that topic was not even in the cultural discussion, and Swank’s performance was stirring and heartbreaking. She won the Oscar with ease that year.

She came back 5 years later with another heartbreaking performance in Clint Eastwood’s emotional boxer drama Million Dollar Baby, which won a 2nd Best Actress Oscar for Swank. She joined Luise Rainer and Jodie Foster as the only actresses to win multiple Oscars before turning 30.

But if you thought her career would explode from there, you’d be wrong. Despite a steady stream of work, Swank has largely been forgotten, starring in a slew of mediocre (at best) movies.

One of her most recent award wins was in 2007 when the Alliance of Women Film Journalists awarded her the Actress Most in Need of a New Agent after she did The Black Dahlia (2006). The best movies she’s done since Million Dollar Baby are probably Freedom Writers (2007) and Logan Lucky (2017) and she wasn’t even the lead in the latter.

Swank hasn’t been able to grow into a great TV series either despite there being more networks and streaming services than ever before. Her 2020 Netflix series Away, about a space mission to Mars, was canceled after 10 episodes. Her 2022 ABC series Alaska Daily was canceled after the 1st season ended, and it was already removed from Hulu just 9 months after the pilot aired. Like it never existed. Ouch.

It’s a weird career path, but her peak performances can stand up with anyone’s. Swank turns 50 this summer, so there is still time for her to land another iconic role and reshape her legacy.

10 Olivia de Havilland (4 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: To Each His Own (1946), The Heiress (1949)

In discovering classic films, an actress that immediately stood out to me was Olivia de Havilland despite her seemingly not having the same lofty reputation as her peers like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Hepburn, etc.

But the proof is in the film as she was one of the best leading actresses of her time. She was thriving in that post-World War II era with To Each His Own (1946), The Snake Pit (1948) and The Heiress (1949), all of which are very much worth your time to track down and watch.

She also proved early on that she could hold her own in adventure films with Errol Flynn such as Captain Blood (1935) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Her first Oscar nomination as a supporting actress was for Gone with the Wind (1939).

Her acting career spanned more than 50 years, and she lived to be 104 before passing in 2020.

9 Elizabeth Taylor (5 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Butterfield 8 (1960), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

If we used beauty as the sole standard of ranking these actresses, Elizabeth Taylor would be No. 1 here. That’s not to take away from her acting skills, which were on display at an early age in National Velvet (1944). She also played one of the March girls in the 1949 adaptation of Little Women.

By the 1950s, she was a young woman and able to handle more mature stories like A Place in the Sun (1951), Giant (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959).

In the 1960s, she was a superstar on the screen. She won her first Oscar for playing a prostitute in Butterfield 8 (1960), then she took on the title role in the ambitious epic Cleopatra (1963). Admittedly, both films were a bit overrated, but it led to her career-best performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), for which she won her 2nd Oscar.

Perhaps that film is part of the stigma used against Taylor’s acting legacy. If she’s not too beautiful on the screen to make you think she’s playing someone other than Elizabeth Taylor, she’s playing her real-life self too closely as she argued and screamed with real-life husband Richard Burton. Their tumultuous union led to 2 highly publicized divorces, but they were magic on the screen together in that film.

Taylor continued to work for decades, but she never came close to her performance in Virginia Woolf. She died in 2011 at the age of 79 but not before leaving behind a long line of classic films.

8 Jane Fonda (6 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Klute (1971), Coming Home (1978)

You can learn an incredible amount about Jane Fonda from the 2018 HBO documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts. It is a very raw and personal account of her life and the difficulties of being born into a famous family with her father Henry a Hollywood legend and her brother Peter becoming a big-time actor as well.

But it makes a lot of sense how she broke into the business with relative ease even before she knew how to truly act. Her first marriage to French filmmaker Roger Vadim, known for his sexual desires, is how she ended up doing a campy, sci-fi sex romp like Barbarella (1968) before she finally figured out this acting thing in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), an incredible film as good as any she’s made.

That performance led to her winning her first Oscar for Klute (1971) where she plays a call girl. Soon after, she met her second husband, Tom Hayden, and that sparked her political activist side, leading to the Vietnam War film Coming Home (1978), which led to her 2nd Oscar win.

She also starred in The China Syndrome, a 1979 movie about a nuclear power plant accident that was released just 12 days before the Three Mile Island incident at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

In the 1980s, she starred in the female-centered comedy 9 to 5 (1980), then she played the daughter of her real-life father Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond (1981), a difficult performance to say the least as their real-life relationship spilled onto the screen in a family classic that also starred Katharine Hepburn as her mother.

That was also the decade where Fonda made history with the sales of her fitness video tapes that basically revolutionized that market going. Between that and her endeavors with political activism, her acting career has taken a step back. But she still rebounded in the 2010s to star in 7 seasons of Grace and Frankie, a comedy series for Netflix with friend Lily Tomlin.

Fonda is the 2nd member on this list, along with Sally Field, to star in 80 for Brady (2023), but we’ll forgive these screen legends for making that mistake late in their careers.

7 Ingrid Bergman (6 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Gaslight (1944), Anastasia (1956)

Not to be confused with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman was a legend in her own right. She starred in many films made by many great directors, including Bergman when they made Autumn Sonata in 1978 for her final film performance.

Arguably her biggest role was alongside Humphrey Bogart in the classic Casablanca (1942). That led to a series of Oscar nominations with her first win coming for the drama Gaslight (1944).

She did multiple films with Alfred Hitchcock, and Notorious (1946) is the highlight of their collaborations. She also did some classic films with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, who she was married to in 1950-57. Their daughter Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet) is an actress too. She made the films Stromboli, Europe ’51 and Journey to Italy with her ex-husband.

She even picked up a 3rd Oscar as a Best Supporting Actress for her work in Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

Bergman passed away on her birthday at the age of 67 in 1982.

6. Emma Stone (2 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: La La Land (2016), Poor Things (2023)

I don’t think this is recency bias as much as it is a preference for certain brands of comedy that Emma Stone (and her agent) seems to find scripts for time after time in her career. If you like your actresses to do serious dramas only, then Stone is not going to be for you as the closest she’s come to that was The Help (2011), another movie she shined in.

For many of us, our introduction to Stone was in Superbad, her 2007 screen debut and the best R-rated comedy of the last 20 years in my book. She has also shown she can do less raunchy comedies such as Easy A and Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011). But comedy does center most of what she does, including Zombieland and the quirky dramedy Birdman (2014) that also earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

Even a movie like Cruella (2021), a live-action prequel to 101 Dalmatians was far better than it had any business being, thanks in large part to Stone’s performance.

In her recent work with director Yorgos Lanthimos in The Favourite (2018) and Poor Things (2023), Stone has been a perfect vessel for his dry, black comedy. But Poor Things was her best performance yet, as she literally had to learn to walk and talk again as part of the role, and she was convincing at that. She also played a prostitute in a way Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Fonda can’t say they had to do when they won their Oscars for that profession.

We know she can move as she already won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the musical La La Land (2016), which established her lead actor ability and showed her versatility. She was the world’s highest-paid actress in 2017.

Stone’s TV work has also been really solid and experimental with Netflix’s Maniac (2018) and this past year she did The Curse with Nathan Fielder, one of the most unique shows and weirdest comedies you’ll ever see.

At 35, Stone should have plenty of roles ahead of her, and she’ll be as high in demand as ever after another Oscar win.

5 Jodie Foster (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: The Accused (1988), The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Jodie Foster has had an incredible career with many twists and turns. She went from a commercial child actor to a Disney film kid to playing a prostitute at 12 years old in Taxi Driver (1976), which earned her the first Oscar nomination of her career. Her performance in that film even led an obsessed John Hinckley Jr. to attempt an assassination of President Ronald Regan in 1981 to impress the young actress.

Fully grown up, Foster won her 1st Oscar for The Accused (1988), a drama about a rape victim. But the highlight of her career would be her performance as young FBI agent Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), which swept all the major awards at the Oscars that year.

That year she also gave directing a try for the first time with the film Little Man Tate. Foster also had hits in Nell (1994), Contact (1997), Panic Room (2002) and Inside Man (2006) before falling off a bit in the 2010s.

But she’s had a rebound in the last year at 61 years old with her Oscar-nominated supporting actress performance in Nyad (2023), and she was the lead in the most recent season of HBO’s True Detective.

The Silence of the Lambs is my favorite film any of these 15 actresses ever made, so that has a lot to do with Foster cracking the top 5 for me.

And she’s not done yet, as the last year has shown.

4 Frances McDormand (3 Nominations, 3 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Fargo (1996), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Nomadland (2020)

Frances McDormand has been married to filmmaker Joel Coen since 1984 shortly after she began acting, and let’s just say we have reaped the benefits of that relationship in film. Some of the best work by the Coen brothers has starred McDormand, including Blood Simple (1984), Raising Arizona (1987) and of course Fargo, their 1996 masterpiece that was robbed of Best Picture by The English Patient.

But McDormand won her 1st Oscar for Fargo, playing a pregnant cop who has to solve a murder and kidnapping case. It is the most iconic performance of her career, but she’s been just as good in other films such as Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993), the legal thriller Primal Fear (1996) and she has done several films for Wes Anderson, including Moonrise Kingdom, Isle of Dogs and The French Dispatch.

McDormand won her 2nd Oscar for 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, an incredible film if you ignore the weak ending. She backed that up by becoming just the 3rd actor, male or female, to win at least 3 Oscars for Best Lead Actor when she won for Nomadland in 2020.

Personally, I’m not a big Nomadland fan, but I can understand why she won it that year in a film about those who choose to live in their RV. But McDormand has also done some great TV work with Olive Kitteridge (2014) being another excellent HBO mini-series. McDormand won the Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for that one.

McDormand, 66, does not commit to many lead roles, but when she does, she is all business, and the character always feels genuine and real.

3 Bette Davis (10 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Dangerous (1935), Jezebel (1938)

An actress with such piercing eyes that Kim Carnes even made a song about them popular with her cover version in 1981 (“Bette Davis Eyes). The actress even enjoyed the song as it helped introduce her to a modern audience in the 80s before she passed away at age 81 in 1989.

But Davis was Old Hollywood, one of the greatest actresses to emerge in the early days of talking pictures. While she won both of her Oscars for films she did in the 1930s, it is hard to say those were her best work.

If you want to see the best of Davis, you should watch All About Eve (1950), Now, Voyager (1942), The Little Foxes (1941) and Dark Victory (1939). She also could pull off comedy with a supporting role in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941), an underrated gem.

But Davis also was great for horror later in her career with some of her best films in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).

The American Film Institute unveiled a list in 1999 of the 50 greatest screen legends with 25 men and 25 women. Davis was ranked No. 2 behind only Katharine Hepburn. Given this list was 1999, if they did it today, we think she’d probably still rank No. 3, behind only the final 2 women on our list here.

2 Meryl Streep (17 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Sophie’s Choice (1982), The Iron Lady (2011)

Meryl Streep gets acting nominations at the Oscars almost as frequently as SEC teams get a spot in the college football playoffs. Streep’s 21 Oscar nominations for acting (17 lead, 4 supporting) are 9 more than the next closest actor, including males. But with only 3 wins (2 lead, 1 supporting), that means she’s also lost the most competitive acting Oscars in history by a wide margin. That’s unfortunate, but it is also hard to argue with given the field those years.

At least Streep did win for her harrowing performance in Sophie’s Choice (1982), and she was a perfect choice to play Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011).

Streep has done everything from period pieces to dramas to romance films to comedies. She has unlimited range and accents to come up with.

Some of my favorite films with Streep include Doubt (2008), Adaptation (2002), The Deer Hunter (1978), Manhattan (1979), The Hours (2002) and August: Osage County (2013).

She has recently crossed over to do TV series, but in my view, Big Little Lies did not need a 2nd season for HBO and Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building is overrated.

My reasoning for not saying Streep is the No. 1 actress ever has nothing to do with the low winning percentage at the Oscars. It’s because I think she hasn’t picked as many great films and scripts to make in her long career. I’m not sure any of her films would crack my personal top 200 list, and only a handful would make the top 500.

There’s no accounting for taste, she said.

1 Katharine Hepburn (12 Nominations, 4 Wins)

  • Best Actress Oscar Wins: Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968 – tied with Barbra Streisand), On Golden Pond (1981).

The American Film Institute ranked Katharine Hepburn as the No. 1 female screen legend in 1999, and it would be hard to argue with that ranking today.

The record-setting 4 Oscars certainly help her case, and let’s just say she shouldn’t have been tied with Barbra Streisand in 1968. The Lion in Winter, one of the best-acted movies ever made period, was plenty good enough on its own merit for Hepburn to win that outright.

But beyond the Oscars, Hepburn had versatility and an incredible voice for acting. Just listening to her cadence was a unique experience. When she was younger, she could do comedies with Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy like The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Adam’s Rib and Woman of the Year. She could do an adventure film with Humphrey Bogart like The African Queen.

She was great in those classics. But most of her Oscars came later in life when she played the mother in the interracial dating classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, the queen to Henry II in The Lion in Winter and as Jane Fonda’s mother in On Golden Pond near the end of her career. She still excelled each time.

She shared the screen with many of the top male actors on that AFI list, and she held her own, if not stole the movie each time from them. That’s how you know you are watching a legend at work.

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Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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