At the 9th Academy Awards ceremony in 1937, Walter Brennan was presented with the first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Come and Get It.” Prior to that year, there was no category for supporting performances, but since then, 72 different men have received the Oscar in this category. We have compiled the definitive gallery of every winner for Best Supporting Actor in Academy Awards history, from Brennan’s victory to reigning champ Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”). Click through our detailed Best Supporting Actor 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 Charles Coburn won for “The More the Merrier.” Since that time, all winners in this category have received the traditional Oscar trophy.
Brennan is not only the first winner in this category, but also holds the record for most victories, earning two additional wins for 1938’s “Kentucky” and 1940’s “The Westerner.” In addition, four other actors — Arthur Kennedy, Jack Nicholson, Robert Duvall, Claude Rains and current nominee Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”) — are tied for most nominations in this category with four each.
Two significant Oscar records occurred in the Best Supporting Actor race. At just eight years old, Justin Henry (“Kramer vs. Kramer”) holds the record for the youngest acting nominee in any category, while Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) is the oldest acting winner at 82 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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