The Lists: In Contention's Top 10 Oscar-Winning Biopic Performances
Who do the Oscar hopefuls from this year's prestige biopics need to measure up to?
2. Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena in "Boys Don't Cry" (1999)
The then little-known Swank caught some flak after her first Oscar win for sounding a little entitled in her acceptance speech, but she had every right to be: a major award for a minute, name-free indie dangerously addressing prickly issues of sexuality and gender qualifies as a minor miracle, as does her riveting performance within a performance as the insecure trailer-park girl who finds herself by assuming the plaid-clad form of a sensual boy drifter. Deftly negotiating layers of personal and sexual fear and release, this is career-clinching work that makes a human out of a headline.