At the 9th Academy Awards ceremony in 1937, the academy presented the first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress to Gale Sondergaard for her performance in “Anthony Adverse.” Prior to that year, there was no category for supporting performances, but since then a total of 78 performers have received the Oscar in this category. We have compiled the definitive gallery of every winner for Best Supporting Actress history of the Academy Awards, from Sondergaard’s victory to reigning champ Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”). Click through our detailed Best Supporting Actress photo gallery above.
When the category was first created, winners received a small plaque rather than an actual Oscar statuette, a practice that changed in 1944 when Ethel Barrymore won for “None but the Lonely Heart.” Since that time, all Best Supporting Actress champs have received the traditional Oscar trophy.
Only two performers have won this award more than once: Shelley Winters for “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959) and “A Patch of Blue” (1965), and Dianne Wiest for “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986) and “Bullets Over Broadway” (1994). Thelma Ritter holds the record for most nominations without a win, earning six bids between 1950 and 1962.
This category contains a number of Oscar records. Beatrice Straight holds the record for the shortest performance to win an Oscar, having only just over five minutes of screen time in 1976’s “Network.” It was also in Best Supporting Actress that Hattie McDaniel (“Gone with the Wind”) became the first black performer to win an Oscar.
And this race also gave us Oscar’s youngest winner, with Tatum O’Neal receiving the award for 1973’s “Paper Moon” when she was just 10 years old. We will see whose name will be added to this distinguished gallery of winners when the 89th Academy Awards are handed out February 26 on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
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