There are actors who to win an Oscar, in addition to the display of talent, have had to sacrifice themselves to the point of fattening their image by gorging themselves on food as a pioneer Robert De Niro did for his boxer Jake La Motta from wild bull (1980) or suffer the consequences of a hypocaloric diet and lose several kilos of weight as in the case of Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Natalie Portman’s for her ambitious dancer from Black Swan (2010) or the most recent of a sick-looking Joaquin Phoenix to recreate the brilliant Joker de Todd Phillips.
Robert De Niro, Natalie Portman or Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar after an incredible physical transformation
All of them have sweated their thing to get a golden statuette in their hands, but many times the precious award is not only fixed in great physical transformations or long-term performances in front of the camera to reward what the members of the Hollywood Academy they consider the best of the year.
Without going any further, Anthony Hopkins appeared only 16 minutes on screen to win his Oscar for best actor for his chilling Hannibal Lecter of The silence of the lambs, Jonathan Demme’s blockbuster thriller now three decades after its premiere. Jodie Foster, her co-star, needed a lot more shots instead to get her second best actress statuette as psychopathic expert Clarice Starling.
Among the interpreters who have been recognized for being on the screen for a short time, we could mention the last winner of the Oscar for best supporting actress, Laura Dern, who took 18 minutes and 36 seconds of performance to convince the members of the Academy with its relentless divorce attorney at Story of a marriage.
Also notable are the fifteen that Joe Van Fleet used to play the mother of a tormented James Dean in East of Eden (1955), by Elia Kazan, or the incredible nine minutes and 32 seconds of Gloria Grahame in Captives of evil (1952). Both posed happily with their Oscar in hand.
If there is one performance that astonished for its short and applauded duration it was that of Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in love (1998). The British won her only Oscar so far as best supporting actress for offering a masterclass of just eight minutes. That same time he compensated Anthony Quinn with a golden statuette for best supporting actor in the skin of Paul Gauguin in The madman with the red hair (1956).
However, the record for the shortest Oscar-winning performance is held by an American actress who needed a total of five minutes and forty seconds to take home the Best Supporting Actress award for portraying Louise Schumacher, the long-suffering wife. of an infidel television producer played by William Holden in Network, an unforgiving world (1976), a magnificent analysis on the power of the small screen directed by Sidney Lumet.
Beatrice Straight beat a very young Jodie Foster, nominated for Taxi Driver; Piper Laurie by Carrie ; Lee Grant by Journey of the damned and Jane Alexander for All the president’s men. The interpreter built a professional career basically in theater and television. In the cinema he did not work much, always in supporting roles, and one of his most remembered characters was that of the paranormal investigator Martha Lesh in Poltergeist (1982). He died in 2001 at the age of 86 due to pneumonia.