Interesting people make interesting stories. Similarly, influential people, make influential stories. There are some larger than life characters in real life that have a hand in shaping up the world.
When Hollywood decides to embark on the journey of depicting these people, it becomes challenging for actors to play these roles. The simple reason being, it is not only about imitating just a person, but their ideologies and their extraordinary personas.
Naturally, when actors are successful in the portrayal of real life people, the Academy honors them because they understand how challenging these roles are. With this, let'a take a look at the actors who won an Oscar for the portrayal of famous historical and real life figures.
#1. Ben Kingsley – Mahatma Gandhi in “Gandhi” (1982)
Mahatma Gandhi remains to be one of the most influential personalities behind India’s independence and playing him was both a huge honor and an arduous task. Kingsley’s performance as Gandhi made him one of the most celebrated actors of this generation. This was only his second film and he received an Oscar for it.
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#2. Judi Dench- Queen Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare in Love” (1998)
Judi Dench and her tryst with playing the people of England’s Royal House seem to be a highly successful one. Although Dench was only for a total of 8 minutes on the screen in 'Shakespeare in Love,' her character was rightly placed in the movie and came at all the turning points.
(Image Courtesy: Digital Spy)
#3. Nicole Kidman- Virginia Woolf in “The Hours”
We all know how beautiful Kidman is. However, if you watch her playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours, she seems almost unrecognizable, partly due to her prosthetic nose. The left handed actress learned how to write with her right hand to play Woolf and along with that she also started smoking the writer’s favorite cigarettes. For all her effort, it only fitted that she won an Oscar for the Best Actress.
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#4. Cate Blanchett- Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator” (2004)
Although she wasn’t particularly the major highlight of the story, she won her first award for the supporting role as Katherine Hepburn. She worked tremendously hard to perfect her role wherein she even underwent voice classes to mimic Hepburn’s distinctive upper-class English accent.
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#5. Forest Whitaker- Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland” (2006)
Before taking on the role of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Whitaker did extensive research to capture the minutest details of the dictator’s traits. Naturally, all that combined with his excellent acting abilities were enough to get him an Oscar. He even won the Baftas for this particular role.
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#6. Meryl Streep- Margaret Thatcher in “Iron Lady” (2011)
Streep is a wonderful actor. She has the most Academy nominations, but surprisingly only 2 Oscars. One of them came for her portrayal of former England PM, Margaret Thatcher. Though the film wasn’t a big success, Streep garnered high praise for her role and also an Academy award.
(Image Courtesy: Evening Standard)
#7. Daniel Day Lewis- Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln” (2012)
Many actors have played the iconic US President, but no one convinced as much as Daniel Day Lewis. He spent a year reading and studying about the 16th POTUS and paid extra attention in adopting Lincoln’s characteristic high-pitched voice. His Oscar win for “Lincoln” earned Day-Lewis membership in an elite club—of one—when he became the first performer ever to win three Academy Awards for Best Actor.
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Would you want to add more names to this list? Do you think we skipped some the other main movies? Do you want to give some honorable mentions? Well, make full use of the comments box below and let us know what you think of this list.