Although Oscar voters have favored lengthier supporting male performances over the last decade, they have generally voted for shorter ones on the female side. The vast majority of recent Best Supporting Actress winners have had roles that are indisputably featured ones and represent the intended purpose of these prizes.
Last year, Laura Dern prevailed for appearing in 18 minutes and 36 seconds (or 13.58%) of “Marriage Story.” Although her character’s children were unseen, Dern imbued her with the certain kind of tenacious warmth that mothers often radiate. Hers was the third relatively short maternal role to win in a row, after those of Allison Janney (“I, Tonya,” 2018) and Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” 2019).
The 2021 Best Supporting Actress nominees have an average screen time of 28 minutes and 55 seconds, or 27.02% of their respective films. In terms of actual time, their average is the 18th highest in the history of the category, while their percentage average is the 13th highest. The last 10 winners of this award have appeared on screen for an average of 31 minutes and one second (or 23.26% of their films).
At the low end of the 2021 lineup is Amanda Seyfried, who appears in 18 minutes and 13 seconds (or 13.73%) of “Mank.” To date, 21 actresses have won the award for shorter performances, including Janney, whose role in “I, Tonya” amounts to 15 minutes and 37 seconds. Seyfried’s is the 12th performance that clocks in at under 20 minutes to be nominated here over the past decade.
Next is Glenn Close, who received her eighth acting bid for her 23-minute and 23-second performance in “Hillbilly Elegy.” Her screen time amounts to 19.93% of the film’s overall length. This is the third-shortest of her nominated roles, after her supporting turns in “The Natural” (14 minutes, 50 seconds) and “The Big Chill” (22 minutes, 39 seconds). Although all four of her featured bids have been for mother roles, this is the first one she has earned for playing a grandmother.
First-time nominee Yuh-jung Youn has also been recognized for her matriarchal role in “Minari,” which takes up 26 minutes and two seconds (or 22.60%) of the film. She (73) or Close (74) would become the second oldest champion in the history of this category, after 77-year-old Peggy Ashcroft (“A Passage to India,” 1985). Only 11 actresses older than Youn have competed for the award, and just three of them have had higher amounts of screen time: Ashcroft, Edith Evans (“The Chalk Garden,” 1965) and Josephine Hull (“Harvey,” 1951).
Next is Olivia Colman, whose screen time in “The Father” adds up to 35 minutes and 59 seconds, or 37.12% of the film. The performance is only 13 minutes and 49 seconds (and 4.60%) shorter than the one she gave in “The Favourite,” which earned her a Best Actress trophy two years ago. While hers was the shortest role to win a lead acting Oscar during the 2010s, this one would rank among the 20 longest to ever win the Best Supporting Actress award.
The supporting female nominee with the most time on screen this year is Maria Bakalova, who appears in 40 minutes and six seconds (or 41.74%) of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Only 46 longer performances have ever been recognized in the category and just 13 have prevailed. Hers is also one of the 12 lengthiest Best Supporting Actress-nominated performances of the past 20 years.
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