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AFI's 25 Greatest Female Screen Legends

Movie list created by AFIoscar Avatar

Sort by: Showing 25 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 281 Average listal rating (171 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Katharine Hepburn (Won 4 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 27 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1982 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: On Golden Pond (1981)

Katharine Hepburn was not present at the awards ceremony. Presenter Jon Voight accepted the award on her behalf.

1969 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Lion in Winter (1968)

Tied with Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968). Hepburn became the third performer to win consecutive awards, and the first to win three awards for lead roles.

1968 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Katharine Hepburn was not present at the awards ceremony. George Cukor accepted the award on her behalf.

1963 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962)

1960 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

1957 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Rainmaker (1956)

1956 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Summertime (1955)

1952 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The African Queen (1951)

1943 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Woman of the Year (1942)

1941 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Philadelphia Story (1940)

1936 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Alice Adams (1935)

1934 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Morning Glory (1933)

Katharine Hepburn was not present at the awards ceremony.
AFIoscar's rating:
People who added this item 257 Average listal rating (136 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
Jezebel (1938)
Bette Davis (Won 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 19 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1977 ~ Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute

1963 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

1953 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Star (1952)

1951 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: All About Eve (1950)

1945 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Mr. Skeffington (1944)

1943 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Now, Voyager (1942)

1942 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Little Foxes (1941)

1941 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Letter (1940)

1940 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Dark Victory (1939)

1939 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Jezebel (1938)

On 19 July 2001 Steven Spielberg purchased Davis' Oscar statuette at a Christie's auction and returned it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This was the second time in five years Spielberg did so to protect an Oscar from further commercial exploitation.

1936 Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Dangerous (1935)

On 14 December 2002 Steven Spielberg anonymously bought Davis' Oscar at a Sotheby's auction in New York to return it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The statuette was among the memorabilia sold by the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, which has emerged from bankruptcy protection.
People who added this item 1294 Average listal rating (788 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8
Roman Holiday (1953)
Audrey Hepburn (Won Oscar. Another 23 wins & 24 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1993 ~ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

The award, which was voted prior to her death, was presented posthumously. Her son Sean H. Ferrer accepted the award at the ceremony.

1968 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Wait Until Dark (1967)

1962 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

1960 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Nun's Story (1959)

1955 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Sabrina (1954)

1954 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Roman Holiday (1953)
People who added this item 349 Average listal rating (209 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
Gaslight (1944)
Ingrid Bergman (Won 3 Oscars. Another 28 wins & 12 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1979 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Höstsonaten (1978)

1975 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role for: Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

1957 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Anastasia (1956)

Ingrid Bergman was not present at the awards ceremony. Cary Grant accepted on her behalf.

1949 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Joan of Arc (1948)

1946 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

1945 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Gaslight (1944)

1944 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
People who added this item 376 Average listal rating (217 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Ninotchka (1939)
Greta Garbo (Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1955 ~ Honorary Award for her unforgettable screen performances.

1940 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Ninotchka (1939)

1938 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Camille (1936)

1930 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Anna Christie (1930)

Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Romance (1930)
People who added this item 1900 Average listal rating (1242 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.2
Marilyn Monroe (Won Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 9 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1960 ~ Won Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy for: Some Like It Hot (1959)
Elizabeth Taylor (Won 2 Oscars. Another 37 wins & 16 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1993 ~ Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute

1993 ~ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

1967 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Elizabeth Taylor was not present at the awards ceremony. Anne Bancroft accepted the award on her behalf.

1961 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Butterfield 8 (1960)

1960 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

1959 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

1958 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Raintree County (1957)
People who added this item 392 Average listal rating (234 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.2
Judy Garland (Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1962 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a supporting Role for: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

1955 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: A Star Is Born (1954)

1940 ~ Juvenile Award for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year.
People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (65 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
Morocco (1930)
Marlene Dietrich (Nominated for Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1931 Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Morocco (1930)
People who added this item 366 Average listal rating (210 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8
Joan Crawford (Won Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1953 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Sudden Fear (1952)

1948 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Possessed (1947)

1946 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Mildred Pierce (1945)

Joan Crawford was not present at the awards ceremony and feigned ill that night. Meanwhile she listened to the show on the radio. When she won, she ushered the press into her bedroom, where she finally accepted her Oscar.
People who added this item 997 Average listal rating (663 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.3
Barbara Stanwyck (Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 5 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1987 ~ Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute

1982 ~ Honorary Award for superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting.

1949 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

1945 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Double Indemnity (1944)

1942 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Ball of Fire (1941)

1938 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Stella Dallas (1937)
People who added this item 873 Average listal rating (546 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
Claudette Colbert (Won Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1945 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Since You Went Away (1944)

1936 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Private Worlds (1935)

1935 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: It Happened One Night (1934)

Claudette Colbert was so convinced that she would lose the Oscar to write-in nominee Bette Davis that she didn't attended the ceremony orignally. She was summoned from a train station to pick up her Academy Award.
People who added this item 97 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
Grace Kelly (Won Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1955 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: The Country Girl (1954)

1954 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role for: Mogambo (1953)
People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7
Kitty Foyle (1940)
Ginger Rogers(Won Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1941 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role
for: Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman (1940)
People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
I'm No Angel (1933)
Mae West (2 wins)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1969 Won Golden Apple Female Star of the Year.
People who added this item 2479 Average listal rating (1505 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Vivien Leigh (Won 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1952 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Vivien Leigh was not present at the awards ceremony. Greer Garson accepted on her behalf.

1940 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Gone with the Wind (1939)
AFIoscar's rating:
People who added this item 143 Average listal rating (89 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
Lillian Gish (Nominated for Oscar. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations)

1984 ~ Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute

1971 ~ Honorary Award for superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures.

1947 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role for: Duel in the Sun (1946)

People who added this item 123 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Shirley Temple (4 wins)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1935 - Juvenile Award in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934.
People who added this item 520 Average listal rating (305 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Gilda (1946)
Rita Hayworth (Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 3 wins)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1965 Nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama for: Circus World (1964)
People who added this item 136 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
Lauren Bacall (Nominated for Oscar. Another 15 wins & 7 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1997 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role for: The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)

AFIoscar's rating:
People who added this item 187 Average listal rating (105 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.8
Two Women (1960)
Sophia Loren (Won Oscar. Another 40 wins & 18 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1991 - Honorary Award for a career rich with memorable performances that has added permanent luster to our art form.

1965 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Matrimonio all'italiana (1964)

1962 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Ciociara, La (1960)

Sophia Loren was not present at the awards ceremony. Greer Garson accepted the award on her behalf.
People who added this item 341 Average listal rating (199 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Jean Harlow (1 win)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
Star on the Walk of Fame Motion Picture At 6912 Hollywood Blvd
People who added this item 295 Average listal rating (190 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
Carole Lombard (Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1937 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: My Man Godfrey (1936)

People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Coquette (1929)
Mary Pickford (Won Oscar. Another 2 wins)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1976 ~ Honorary Award in recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium.
Mary Pickford was not present at the awards ceremony. The presentation was made at her Pickfair estate and taped for inclusion in the broadcast.

1930 ~ Won Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role
for: Coquette (1929)
People who added this item 95 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
Mogambo (1953)
Ava Gardner (Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations)

Most Noteworthy Accomplishments:
1954 ~ Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role for: Mogambo (1953)

Part of the AFI 100 Years... series, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars is a list of the top 50 stars of American cinema. They were presented by 50 stars of today, adding up to the total of 100 stars. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute on June 16, 1999.

The list was revealed on a CBS special hosted by Shirley Temple Black.

According to the AFI's rules, the stars on the list had to have made their film debuts in or before 1950 or have died prior to the creation of the list, which is why actors such as Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon, Clint Eastwood, and Paul Newman did not qualify as nominees, having made their debut a little after 1950. The list is thus heavily weighted toward actors of classical Hollywood cinema, and many more recent stars are not included. Of the 50 stars listed below, only Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple, Lauren Bacall and Sophia Loren are still alive, as of 2008. At the time that the list was compiled, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck and Katharine Hepburn were also living. James Dean and Grace Kelly are the only actors in the list whose career started after 1950.

26 individual stars won a competitive acting Academy Award and another 16 received at least a nomination. Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin won competitively in different category. Welles won in writing for Citizen Kane and Chaplin won for composing the music in Limelight. 11 Stars were given a Special, Honorary or Lifetime Achievement Award, including the nomination-less Buster Keaton and Edward G. Robinson (posthumously). Two actresses received an Academy Juvenile Award: Shirley Temple and Judy Garland. 4 actresses were not recognized by the Academy in any form: Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, Mae West and Marilyn Monroe.

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9 votes
The AFI Lists (33 lists)
list by AFIoscar
Published 8 years, 11 months ago 1 comment



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