It happens every few years that an actor wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for a surprisingly small amount of screen time. Here are a few significant examples of how a few minutes of exposure (and sometimes just a few days work) can win you Oscar gold.
1. David Niven, Separate Tables (1958): Best Actor, 15 minutes, 38 seconds
2. Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love (1998): Best Supporting Actress, 8 minutes
3. Beatrice Straight, Network (1977): Best Supporting Actress, 5 minutes, 40 seconds
In case your curious how you win an Oscar with just a single scene, watch Miss Straight’s brilliant work with William Holden in Sidney Lumet’s brilliant and prescient Network.
4. Jason Robards, Julia (1977): Best Supporting Actor, 9 minutes
5. Anthony Hopkins, Silence of the Lambs (1991): Best Actor, 18 minutes
6. Anthony Quinn, Lust for Life (1956): Best Supporting Actor, 8 minutes.
7. Patricia Neal, Hud (1963): Best Actress, 21 minutes
8. Nicole Kidman, The Hours (2002): Best Actress, 20 minutes (and a fake nose. Anything prosthetic helps.)
9. Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (2012): Best Supporting Actress, 5 minutes (a rape, haircut, and 11 o’clock number, all in close-up. It is a can’t miss formula.)
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