Ever since Janet Gaynor won the first ever Best Actress Oscar in 1929 for her performances in Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise: A song of Two Humans (the first awards celebrated films spanning two years), the world has been captivated by Oscars’ ladies. We’ve put together a gallery of our favourite female winners throughout the years, celebrating key moments in film history.
What's your favourite moment from the Oscars? Let us know in the comments section below.
Hattie McDaniel 1940
Hattie was the first black actress to be nominated for and to win an Oscar. She won Best Supporting for her performance as Mammy in the classic Gone with the Wind. It was a historical moment for obvious reasons especially since the Civil Rights Movement in America wouldn’t start for another fifteen years.
Audrey Hepburn 1963
This was Audrey’s first and only Oscar for her performance as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday. She later said that it was her dearest movie, because it was the one that made her a star. She was nominated four more times throughout her career, but she didn’t win another golden statuette.
Katherine Hepburn/Barbra Streisand 1969
In 1969 the Best Actress award had tied winners – Katherine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter and Barbara Streisand for Funny Girl. This is the only time that this has happened and was also the first year that the show was broadcast worldwide. When Streisand received her statuette, she famously addressed it as; “Hello, gorgeous.”
Louise Fletcher 1976
The actress who won the award for her performance as Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, signed some of her acceptance speech for her deaf parents. She wanted them to see her thank them, saying; “I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
Sally Field 1985
One of the most memorable and loved Best Actress speeches; Sally screamed with joy; “'You like me! Right now you like me!”
Anna Paquin 1994
11 year old Anna Paquin won Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Piano. To say that she was surprised was an understatement with her sweet, genuinely astonished speech. Anna was the second youngest Oscar winner ever – Tatum O’Neal won Best Supporting when she 10.
Gwyneth Paltrow 1999
This notorious speech may go down as one of Oscars’ most cringeworthy. Her very tearful and long acceptance speech for her role in Shakespeare in Love, saw her sob profusely throughout.
Julia Roberts 2001
Julia won her first Oscar for her performance as self-made lawyer and ‘woman of the people’ Erin Brokovich. Her speech was a memorable one too; she thanked "everyone I've ever met in my life,” and rebelling against the 45 second acceptance speech time limit, she said; "Put down that stick, I'm going to be here for a while . . . A girl's got to have her moment. Everybody tries to get me to shut up. It didn't work with my parents and it didn't work now."
Halle Berry 2002
Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar, she won it for her role in Monster’s Ball.
Kathryn Bigelow 2010
Last year Kathryn made Academy Award history by becoming the first woman to win the Best Director award for The Hurt Locker. On accepting the gong she said; “First of all, I hope I'm the first of many… I'm ever grateful if I can inspire some young, intrepid, tenacious male or female filmmaker and have them feel that the impossible is possible and never give up on your dream.”
Image credit: Getty Images & Rex Features