Also, there has only been one tie, in my lifetime, in 1968 with Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand, which seemed entirely appropriate at the time. I have a few more!
Here are my own top 12 alternative choices:
• 1950 – Bette Davis & Gloria Swanson. Davis and particularly Swanson must have been regarded as old timers back in 1950, thus allowing the new girl [Judy Holliday] to win (as new girls Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly did in '53 and '54, and a decade later those two new Julies), but for me 1950 has to be the year of Bette and Gloria. SUNSET BOULEVARD and ALL ABOUT EVE remain imperishable.
• 1954 – Judy Garland. I like Grace but it seems she won for looking dowdy in a cardigan and glasses. THE COUNTRY GIRL isn't that revered today, A STAR IS BORN certainly is - Enough said! In retrospect though we can see that there was no way Garland who was perceived as "difficult" and washed-up could have won then. [This is the year I came in, seeing movies aged 8 and STAR was one of those first unforgettable choices...]
• 1960 – Deborah Kerr & Jean Simmons. The two British girls who went to Hollywood and were very big stars indeed. The '50s was their heyday (Kerr did 3 films in 1959 and usually averaged two a year). It would have been the culmination of their great years if the friends and three-time co-stars had tied in 1960, for THE SUNDOWNERS (Kerr) and ELMER GANTRY where Simmons was not even nominated (her co-stars Lancaster and Shirley Jones got their awards here). Taylor would still have her 1966 win which she richly deserved.
[Alternatively, Kerr could have won in 1957 for her lovely portrayal of Sister Angela in Huston's HEAVEN KNOWS MR ALLISON, and Simmons to win in 1960 for ELMER GANTRY - '57's winner Joanne Woodward, nominated in 1973 could win then - Glenda Jackson didn't need a second oscar (in '73) for a comedy which I had no interest in seeing!]
• 1960 – Peter Finch & Burt Lancaster. We have to acknowledge Peter Finch's towering performance as Oscar Wilde in the 1960 THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE where he is richly witty and affecting - it's a great performance.
• 1962 – Lee Remick. All 5 female nominees in 1962 (as in '61) were richly deserving, but for me it has to be Lee Remick for her totally brilliant performance as the wife taking to alcoholism in DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES. Seeing it again lately, it is as affecting as ever.
• 1963 – Dirk Bogarde & Maurice Ronet. Sidney Poitier won in 1963 - he should have won at some stage, but was this his best role? Dirk Bogarde in THE SERVANT and Maurice Ronet in LE FEU FOLLET both re-defined themselves with their mesmerising performances [though of course in the real world these British and French films could not be nominated, but can in my alternate universe].
• 1967 – Audrey Hepburn. The wrong Hepburn won in 1967! Kate seems to stroll through that Kramer film, whereas Audrey re-defines herself in Donen's TWO FOR THE ROAD, and was also in WAIT UNTIL DARK. Of course it was the first time Katharine had been back on screen in years and with Tracy - who knew she would come storming back the next year with the very deserving win for THE LION IN WINTER? Faye Dunaway's BONNIE is also a major contender ...
• 1971 – Dirk Bogarde & Peter Finch. Instead of Gene Hackman this year, I would honour career best performances by Bogarde in DEATH IN VENICE and Finch in SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, both of which are acting on the grand scale and totally affecting. (Gene could have his for THE CONVERSATION).
• 1974 – Faye Dunaway & Ellen Burstyn. Instead of winning for NETWORK, I would give Faye her win for her endlessly fascinating Evelyn Mulwray in CHINATOWN, which is as much her film as it is Nicholson's. Ellen has to share it with her...
• 1976 – Robert De Niro. As I have already honoured Peter Finch twice, I would make the sole winner in 1976 Robert De Niro for his unforgettable Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER.
• 1980 – Romy Schneider. For me THE female performance this year is Romy Schneider as the woman who is told she is dying in DEATH WATCH (LE MORT EN DIRECT) and her dying days are observed for a television show by Harvey Keitel (with a camera in his brain) as they flee to remote Scotland in this odd sci-fi tale [with Max Von Sydow and Harry Dean Stanton to complete its odd mix of indie and arthouse]. Romy is totally affecting, and would die two years later ...
• 2006 – Julie Christie. It would have been perfect if Julie had won for AWAY FROM HER, 40+ years after her first win for DARLING in 1965. Only Hepburn could have matched that distance between major wins, but it was not to be ...
These have been discussed further here, as per labels on those named...
Stop Press: how could I have forgot one of the worse omissions ever: Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann in a tie as best actress in 1978 for their astounding mother and daughter double act - if only for that scene at the piano, a masterclass in screen acting - in Ingmar Berman's AUTUMN SONATA !