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8. Marlee Matlin, "Children of a Lesser God" (1986)
To this day Marlee Matlin is still the only actor with a hearing impairment to win an Oscar, for her portrayal of a sexy, mysterious, troubled custodian of a school for the deaf in "Children of a Lesser God." Opposite actor William Hurt (also quite wonderful), Matlin engages in a dance of wills, moving in her struggle to bottle up the internal strife and aggressive depression that makes her all the more desirable to him. She never measured up to the power of this debut in later performances, but sometimes the moment is right, the iron is hot and a performer grabs an opportunity by the scruff of the neck and runs with it.