From Jennifer Lawrence to Sandra Bullock: Oscar-Winning Actresses of the 2010s

3:32 PM 12/19/2019

by Annie Howard

Only five actresses of color were recognized in the lead actress category over the decade, with nominations for Gabourey Sidibee, Viola Davis, Quvenzhané Wallis, Ruth Negga and Yalitza Aparicio.

Jennifer Lawrence Oscar Award - H 2013
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Jennifer Lawrence Oscar Award - H 2013

Sandra Bullock, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Cate Blanchett led the first half of the 2010s as the top actresses in Hollywood to bring home the highest acting honor of the Academy Award for best actress. Bullock, Portman and Lawrence each won their first Oscars, while Streep won her third (she has two for best actress and one for best supporting) and Blanchett won her second (she has one for best actress and one for best supporting).

Julianne Moore, Brie Larson, Emma Stone, Frances McDormand and Olivia Colman rounded out the decade with their best actress wins (McDormand won her second best actress honor), making the claim of #OscarsSoWhite highly relevant for the lead category.

Only five actresses of color were recognized in the lead actress category over the decade, with nominations for Gabourey Sidibee, Viola Davis, Quvenzhané Wallis, Ruth Negga and Yalitza Aparicio.

The supporting actress category fared much better in terms of representation, with five wins for black actresses including Mo'Nique, Octavia Spencer, Lupita Nyong'o, Davis and Regina King. Other supporting actress Oscar-winners from the decade were Melissa Leo, Anne Hathaway, Patricia Arquette, Alicia Vikander and Allison Janney.

See all 20 Oscar-winning actresses from the 2010s below.

[Please note all years reference the year the award was presented during the annual ceremony.]

  • Sandra Bullock, 'The Blind Side'

    After her 1994 breakout performance in Speed, alongside Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock went on to star in the classics While You Were Sleeping, Miss Congeniality and The Proposal, all of which earned her Golden Globe nominations. But it was her 2009 role as Leigh Anne Tuohy, who became the legal guardian to left tackle Michael Oher, in The Blind Side that would earn her a best actress win at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars. The film was directed by John Lee Hancock and also starred Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Kathy Bates and Lily Collins. Since winning the Oscar, Bullock has gone on to star in hit films such as The Heat, Gravity (the role earned her a best actress Oscar nomination), Minions, Ocean's Eight and Bird Box.

    Additional 2010 best actress nominees: Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)

  • Mo'Nique, 'Precious'

    Mo'Nique got her start on the UPN series The Parkers, along with her influence in the world of stand-up comedy. She won the Golden Globe and then the Academy Award for her supporting role in Precious. The film also won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay and earned nominations for best picture, actress (Gabourey Sidibe), director (Lee Daniels) and film editing. Since her win, Mo'Nique went on to score an Emmy nomination for her supporting role in the HBO television movie Bessie, starring Queen Latifah. The Oscar-winner has also spoken out about being "blackballed" in Hollywood after the success of Precious.

    Additional 2010 best supporting actress nominees: Penélope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)

  • Natalie Portman, 'The Black Swan'

    Natalie Portman got her start in her early teens in independent films such as The Professional, Heat and Beautiful Girls before going on to star as Queen Amidala in her first of three Star Wars movies. She earned her first Golden Globe nomination for her supporting role in Anywhere But Here alongside Susan Sarandon. She appeared in the acclaimed films Where the Heart Is, Cold Mountain and Garden State before Closer, the pic that earned her an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role (as well as a Golden Globe nomination). After Closer, Portman starred in many films including V for Vendetta and The Other Boleyn Girl before her Oscar-winning performance in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. Mila Kunis starred alongside Portman in the movie that scored nominations for best picture, director (Aronofsky), cinematography and film editing. Since Black Swan, Portman has earned an Oscar nomination for her leading role in Jackie, as Jackie Kennedy, and starred in films such as Annihilation and Vox Lux. Her role as Jane Foster in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder was announced this summer. In 2015, she wrote, directed and starred in her feature-film directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness.

    Additional 2011 best actress nominees: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

  • Melissa Leo, 'The Fighter'

    Melissa Leo began her strong body of television work with a regular role on All My Children. She gained critical acclaim for her supporting work in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's 21 Grams before earning her first Oscar nomination for her leading role in Courtney Hunt's Frozen River. She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in David O. Russell's The Fighter, in which she plays the mother of Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. The film went on to win two Oscars (one for Leo and one for Bale's supporting role) and pick up five additional nominations for best picture, supporting actress (Amy Adams), director (Russell), film editing and original screenplay. Since her Oscar win, Leo has produced a large body of work, earning Emmy praise for her role in Mildred Pierce, Louie (a role that won her the Emmy for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series) and All the Way.

    Additional 2011 best supporting actress nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

  • Meryl Streep, 'The Iron Lady'

    Meryl Streep is the most nominated actor in the Academy, with three career Oscar wins and 18 additional nominations. She earned her first Oscar nom for her supporting role in The Deer Hunter before winning her first Oscar for her supporting role in Kramer vs. Kramer. Streep scored her first best actress nomination for The French Lieutenant's Woman and won her second Oscar (first for best actress) the following year for Sophie's Choice. She also received nominations for her roles in Silkwood, Out of Africa, Ironweed, Evil Angels, Postcards From the Edge, The Bridges of Madison County, One True Thing, Music of the Heart, Adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada, Doubt and Julie & Julia before winning her third Oscar (second for best actress) for The Iron Lady. Following her most recent win, Streep has since earned Oscar nominations for August: Osage County, Into the Woods, Florence Foster Jenkins and The Post. She is currently nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the second season of HBO's Big Little Lies. With her Iron Lady win, Streep joined the ranks of Ingrid Bergman, Walter Brennan and Jack Nicholson as the people to win three Academy Awards for acting (Daniel Day-Lewis has since also won three). Katharine Hepburn is the only person to win four acting Oscars.

    Additional 2012 best actress nominees: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)

  • Octavia Spencer, 'The Help'

    Octavia Spencer worked steadily in film and television since 1996 before winning an Academy Award for her supporting role in The Help, directed by Tate Taylor. Spencer starred with Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney in the film that earned nominations for best picture, actress (Davis) and supporting actress (Chastain). Following that win, Spencer went on to work in acclaimed films such as Fruitvale Station and Snowpiercer as well as the Divergent franchise before earning an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in Hidden Figures, followed by a mention for her supporting role in The Shape of Water. She recently led the horror film Ma and has completed filming an adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Witches.

    Additional 2012 best supporting actress nominees: Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)

  • Jennifer Lawrence, 'Silver Linings Playbook'

    Jennifer Lawrence earned her first Oscar nomination for her breakout performance in Debra Granik's Winter's Bone. She quickly scored a role in the X-Men franchise as Mystique and led the four Hunger Games films as heroine Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence won the Academy Award for best actress for David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, in which she co-starred with Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver. In addition to Lawrence's nod, the film scored seven Oscar nominations for best picture, director (Russell), adapted screenplay (Russell), actor (Cooper), supporting actor (De Niro), supporting actress (Weaver) and film editing. Since her Oscar win, Lawrence has gone on to earn a best supporting actress nomination for American Hustle and a best actress nomination for Joy (both directed by Russell).

    Additional 2013 best actress nominees: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

  • Anne Hathaway, 'Les Misérables'

    Anne Hathaway broke out as a superstar with her leading role as Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries. She followed the film with Ella Enchanted before moving into a more serious role in Brokeback Mountain. The actress earned critical acclaim for her leading role in The Devil Wears Prada, earning her first Oscar nomination shortly after for her leading role in Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married. Hathaway starred in Bride Wars, Alice in Wonderland, Love & Other Drugs and The Dark Knight Rises before she took home an Oscar for her supporting role of Fantine in the epic musical Les Misérables. The film nabbed two additional Oscars for best makeup and hair and sound mixing, while also picking up nominations for best picture, actor (Hugh Jackman), costumes, original song and production design. Since her win, Hathaway has starred in Interstellar, The Intern, Ocean's Eight and Dark Waters and has completed filming an adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Witches.

    Additional 2013 best supporting actress nominees: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

  • Cate Blanchett, 'Blue Jasmine'

    Australian actress Cate Blanchett got her start in the Sydney Theatre Company before gaining international recognition for her work in Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth as a young Queen Elizabeth I, earning an Oscar nomination for best actress. She scored Golden Globe nominations for Veronica Guerin and Bandits before winning her first Oscar for her supporting role in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator as Katharine Hepburn to Leonardo DiCaprio's Howard Hughes. Blanchett went on to receive Oscar nominations for Notes on a Scandal, I'm Not There and Elizabeth: The Golden Age before winning the best actress statuette for her Blanche DuBois-inspired role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. In addition to Blanchett's win, Allen earned a Oscar nomination for best screenplay and Sally Hawkins picked up a supporting actress nod. Blanchett picked up her latest Oscar nomination for the title role in Carol and was recently honored with a Globe nomination for her lead role in Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

    Additional 2014 best actress nominees: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

  • Lupita Nyong'o, '12 Years a Slave'

    Lupita Nyong'o's debut feature film 12 Years a Slave earned her a best supporting actress Oscar, launching her career to the top right off the bat. The film also won Oscars for best picture and screenplay. Actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender each earned nominations along with director Steve McQueen, while the pic earned nominations for best costumes, film editing and production design. Nyong'o bided her time after that with a run on Broadway in Eclipsed (written by Black Panther actress Danai Gurira) and voice work in the mega-hits The Jungle Book and The Force Awakens. She went to star in 2018's blockbuster Black Panther, from director Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Gurira. Nyong'o was recently recognized with a SAG nomination for her leading role in Jordan Peele's horror pic Us.

    Additional 2014 best supporting actress nominees: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), June Squibb (Nebraska)

  • Julianne Moore, 'Still Alice'

    Julianne Moore earned steady traction with roles in acclaimed films like The Fugitive and Short Cuts, along with The Lost World: Jurassic Park. She received her first Oscar nomination for her supporting role in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, and appeared in The Big Lebowski before earning her second Oscar nomination for The End of the Affair. Moore had a role in Anderson's Magnolia before picking up her third and fourth Oscar nominations (in the same year) for Far From Heaven (best actress) and The Hours (best supporting actress). She went on to work in such acclaimed films as Children of Men; I'm Not There; A Single Man; The Kids Are All Right; Crazy, Stupid, Love; and Don Jon before winning an Oscar for the lead role in Still Alice, in which she plays a woman with early onset Alzheimer's disease. Moore has since gone on to appear in the Hunger Games films, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Gloria Bell and After the Wedding.

    Additional 2015 best actress nominees: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

  • Patricia Arquette, 'Boyhood'

    Patricia Arquette gained steady traction through her film work in the '90s (True Romance, Beyond Rangoon, Ethan Frome, Lost Highway, Flirting With Disaster) before she went on to star on the NBC drama Medium for seven seasons, winning an Emmy for her performance. She worked with director Richard Linklater (and actor Ethan Hawke) over 12 years to make Boyhood, winning an Oscar for her supporting role. The film earned five additional Oscar nominations for best picture, director (Linklater), screenplay (Linklater), supporting actor (Hawke) and film editing. Since her Oscar win, Arquette returned to television for CSI and CSI: Cyber and gained recognition for her leading role in Ben Stiller's Escape at Dannemora with a Golden Globe win and for her supporting role on The Act, for which she snagged her second Emmy.

    Additional 2015 best supporting actress nominees: Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman), Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

  • Brie Larson, 'Room'

    Brie Larson's acting career developed through film and television efforts such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, United States of Tara, 21 Jump Street, The Spectacular Now and Don Jon before her breakthrough role in Destin Daniel Cretton's acclaimed film Short Term 12. She played Amy Schumer's sister in Trainwreck before winning an Oscar for best actress for her leading role in Lenny Abrahamson's Room. That film earned three additional Oscar nominations for best picture, director (Abrahamson) and screenplay (adapted by Room novelist Emma Donoghue). Following her Oscar nod, Larson went on to star in Kong: Skull Island and The Glass Castle and directed her first feature film, Unicorn Store, which she also led. The actress then landed the title role in Captain Marvel, which went on to become the highest-grossing female superhero movie worldwide. In addition to her Marvel films, Larson also appears in Cretton's latest film Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

    Additional 2016 best actress nominees: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

  • Alicia Vikander, 'The Danish Girl'

    Swedish actress Alicia Vikander starred as Kitty in Joe Wright's Anna Karenina (led by Keira Knightley) before her breakthrough performance in Alex Garland's Ex Machina. Vikander earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role and went on to star in Guy Ritchie's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with Henry Cavill before her Oscar-winning role in Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl, opposite Eddie Redmayne. The film earned three additional nominations for best actor (Redmayne), costume design and production design. Since her win, Vikander has starred in Jason Bourne, The Light Between Oceans, Tulip Fever, the Tomb Raider reboot as Lara Croft and Netflix's Earthquake Bird.

    Additional 2016 best supporting actress nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

  • Emma Stone, 'La La Land'

    Emma Stone quickly made her mark as an indie darling in movies like Superbad, The House Bunny and Zombieland before earning her first Golden Globe nomination for her leading role in Easy A. She also appeared in the hit films Crazy, Stupid, Love; The Help; and The Amazing Spider-Man (and Spider-Man 2) before picking up her first Oscar nomination for her supporting role in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Birdman. It wasn't long before Stone won an Oscar for her leading role in Damien Chazelle's La La Land opposite Ryan Gosling. She then received a Golden Globe nomination the following year for her portrayal of Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, and earned Globe and Oscar nominations for her supporting role in Yorgos Lanthimos' The Favourite. Stone is set to star in the title role of the upcoming Cruella de Vil from director Craig Gillespie.

    Additional 2017 best actress nominees: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

  • Viola Davis, 'Fences'

    Viola Davis appeared in Traffic, Solaris and Syriana (all from Steven Soderbergh) and won a Tony Award for her featured role in the Broadway play King Hedley II. She appeared in Far From Heaven, Antwone Fisher and Disturbia before earning her first Oscar nomination for her supporting role in Doubt from writer-director John Patrick Shanley. Davis won another Tony in 2010, this time for her leading role in August Wilson's Fences, opposite Denzel Washington, and then went on to pick up a second Oscar nomination her leading role in The Help. In 2015, Davis became the first (and only) black woman to win the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama for How to Get Away With Murder. She went on to win her first Oscar for best supporting actress for the film adaptation of Fences, directed by and also starring Washington.

    Additional 2017 best supporting actress nominees: Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

  • Frances McDormand, 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'

    Frances McDormand landed her first role in Blood Simple, directed by the Coen brothers, and went on to marry director Joel Coen (the two have since become frequent creative collaborators). She appeared in the Coens' film Raising Arizona along with films such as Mississippi Burning, earning her first Oscar nomination, and Robert Altman's Short Cuts, for which she won a special Golden Globe with the entire cast. McDormand won her first Oscar for her leading role in the Coens' Fargo, followed by nominations for Almost Famous and North Country. She picked up another Golden Globe nomination for the Coens' Burn After Reading and won two Emmys for HBO's limited series Olive Kitteridge as both a producer and the lead actress. McDormand won her second Academy Award for her leading role in Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film's Sam Rockwell also won for best supporting actor. Three Billboards also earned nominations for best picture, supporting actor (Woody Harrelson), screenplay (McDonagh), film editing and original score. With her win, McDormand became one of 21 actors to win two Oscars in the lead acting category (Daniel Day-Lewis has three and Katharine Hepburn has four). Her role as Lady Macbeth opposite Denzel Washington as Macbeth in husband Joel Coen's upcoming adaptation of the Shakespeare classic was recently announced.

    Additional 2018 best actress nominees: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post)

  • Allison Janney, 'I, Tonya'

    Allison Janney worked steadily as an actress in the '90s with roles on TV's Law & Order and in films such as American Beauty, Drop Dead Gorgeous and 10 Things I Hate About You before landing her breakout role as C.J. Cregg on NBC's The West Wing. She won four Emmys for her work on the series, originated by Aaron Sorkin, and earned another two Emmy nominations and four Golden Globes nominations. Continuing to appear in films such as The Help, The Way Way Back, Spy and Tallulah, Janney won an Emmy for a guest arc on Masters of Sex (and scored two nominations) and landed her own CBS series, Mom, with Anna Faris. She has won two Emmys for her work on the series. Janney portrayed the mother of Tonya Harding (played by Margot Robbie) in Craig Gillespie's I, Tonya, and won her first Oscar for her supporting role. The film also earned a best actress nomination for Robbie and a best film editing nod. Janney recently appeared in the 2019 film Bombshell.

    Additional 2018 best supporting actress nominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

  • Olivia Colman, 'The Favourite'

    Coming up through British television, Olivia Colman had a small part in Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster before her crossover performance in The Night Manager, which won her a Golden Globe. She led Lanthimos' The Favourite with Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone and won her first career Oscar for the role. The film also earned nominations for best picture, directing (Lanthimos), two for supporting actress (Weisz, Stone), cinematography, film editing, costume design and production design. Colman has gone on to earn an Emmy nomination for her work on Phoebe Waller-Bridge's award-winning comedy Fleabag and recently earned a Golden Globe mention for her lead role on Netflix's The Crown as Queen Elizabeth II.

    Additional 2019 best actress nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

  • Regina King, 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

    Regina King's career launched with roles in John Singleton films Boyz n the Hood and Poetic Justice and she went to work in film and TV regularly through the 90s and early 2000s. She worked on shows Southland, The Boondocks, The Leftovers and American Crime, winning two Emmy awards for the latter. She won a third Emmy for her work on Seven Seconds and earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role. She landed a supporting role in Barry Jenkins's If Beale Street Could Talk with actors KiKi Layne and Stephan James and went on to win her first Academy Award for the role. The film earned a writing nomination for Jenkins as well as best original score. King most recently starred in the HBO hit series, Watchmen.

    Additional 2019 best actress nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)