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9 of the Shortest Oscar Winning Performances

9 of the Shortest Oscar Winning Performances


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.

David Niven Oscar
With Susan Hayward

1.  David Niven, Separate Tables (1958): Best Actor, 15 minutes, 38 seconds


Judi Dench, Oscar
Judi Dench accepting her Oscar

2.  Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love (1998): Best Supporting Actress, 8 minutes

Beatrice Straight, Oscar
Beatrice Straight accepts her award in March, 1977. Muhammed Ali and Sylvester Stallone look on.

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.


Jason Robards Oscar
With Tatum O’Neal

4.  Jason Robards, Julia (1977): Best Supporting Actor, 9 minutes


Anthony Hopkins Oscar

5.  Anthony Hopkins, Silence of the Lambs (1991): Best Actor, 18 minutes


Anthony Quinn Oscar
Quinn with Dorothy Malone who won for “Written on the Wind”

6.  Anthony Quinn, Lust for Life (1956): Best Supporting Actor, 8 minutes.


Patricia Neal, "Hud"
A scene from “Hud” with Paul Newman, 1963

7.  Patricia Neal, Hud (1963): Best Actress, 21 minutes


Nicole Kidman Oscar "The Hours"

8.  Nicole Kidman, The Hours (2002): Best Actress, 20 minutes (and a fake nose.  Anything prosthetic helps.)


Anne Hathaway Oscar dress

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.)


You may also enjoy:

Barbara Stanwyck: The Greatest Actress Who Never Won an Oscar

What’s In a Nose? My Very Real Attempt to Secure a Fake Nose

10 Forgotten Stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame




  1. Alex Williamson
    February 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    wait was it really only 5 minutes anne hathaway was in??? cant find anything else online about it…. seems like maybe a lil longer… like 15 maybe???

  2. Alex Williamson
    February 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    fun article!!!

    • David Munk
      February 19, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks for the comment Alex!

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