Oscar poll: 9 women won Best Actress on their only nomination — who was the best?

brie larson room halle berry monster's ball gwyneth paltrow shakespeare in love

In the history of Best Actress at the Oscars, eight previous champs have never received another nomination: Mary Pickford (“Coquette,” 1929), Ginger Rogers (“Kitty Foyle,” 1940), Judy Holliday (“Born Yesterday,” 1950), Shirley Booth (“Come Back Little Sheba,” 1952), Louise Fletcher (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” 1975), Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God,” 1986), Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love,” 1998) and Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball,” 2001).

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Brie Larson (“Room“) is the ninth, but her Best Actress victory is just a couple of weeks old, so there’s every possibility she’ll earn another Oscar bid in the near future. For that matter, you can’t rule out a future bid for any of the living champs: Berry, Paltrow and Matlin all work regularly. Even 81-year-old Fletcher remains active.

Which of those performances do you think was the best? Our forum posters are currently debating the topic. Read some of their comments below, and click here to join the discussion. Then make sure to vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.

Sasha: Shirley Booth for the win and Judy Holliday as runner-up. Both are for me at TOP 10 of the Best Leading Actress winners of all time. Absolutely amazing performances.

Vincelette: Halle Berry’s performance is good, and I’m happy that she’s an Oscar-winner. Let’s hope she can get a few future Oscar nominations as well.

ThePerksOfBeingAGriff: Paltrow is good. She just hasn’t had very strong projects lately. She showed promise in “Contagion.” She had like 5 seconds but you loved her. She did well in “Thank You For Sharing.” She has comedic chops and dramatic chops. She needs to do the healthy medium in between. I think she can come back.

ETPhoneHome: For her outstanding silent career, I have to go with Mary Pickford. She is undoubtedly the biggest movie star on this list, and arguably one of the biggest of all time.

Atypical: Ugh, slim pickings. Voted for Louise Fletcher. Nurse Ratched is iconic. That’s even for people who haven’t seen “OFOTCN.” None of these others can say that, or their notoriety is for other reasons. Fletcher’s win shouldn’t be as maligned as much as it has been over the years.

Joe Burns: Matlin, her performance is incredible. Highly deserving of her Best Actress win. Booth is great, Berry, Paltrow, and especially Fletcher not so much.

Photo credits: “Shakespeare in Love” by Moviestore/REX; “Monster’s Ball” by Snap Stills/REX; “Room” by A24

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