This year's Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Actress include nods for "Revolutionary Road's" Michael Shannon, on-screen for just two sequences, and "Doubt's" Viola Davis, whose performance lasts less than 12 minutes. Shannon and Davis join the ranks of Oscar nominees who made a real impression in just a few minutes of screen time. How do they — and this year's other Supporting Actor and Actress nominees — compare to some of the teensiest performances in Oscar history? — Dan Kois
In addition to Ledger, nominated for "The Dark Knight" just a year after his death, two other distinguished names received posthumous Oscar nominations this year: producers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, named together for Best Picture nominee "The Reader." All three join a long list — over 50 names, including Walt Disney, George Gershwin, Bernard Herrmann and James Dean — of those who earned nominations after their deaths. Ledger, Pollack and Minghella could join a more select group: Only 13 people have won posthumous Oscars, and one of those just might have been a mistake. Read on for our Posthumous Academy Awards. — Dan Kois
AWARD: Most Prolific Posthumous Actor
WINNER: James Dean
DETAILS: Dean was nominated for two Best Actor Oscars after his 1955 car accident: "East of Eden" (1955) and "Giant" (1956).
AWARD: Most Successful Posthumous Actor
WINNER: Peter Finch
DETAILS: Just two months after his January 1977 death, Finch won Best Actor for his performance in "Network" — for now, the only actor to win an Oscar posthumously.
AWARD: Most Prolific Posthumous Nominee
WINNER: Howard Ashman
DETAILS: The lyricist was nominated for three songs from "Beauty and the Beast" (1991) and one from "Aladdin" (1992) after his 1991 death. His life partner, Bill Lauch, and his songwriting partner, Alan Menken, collected the Oscar for "Beauty's" title song.
AWARD: Best Posthumous Picture
WINNER: "Il Postino" (1995)
DETAILS: One of the Best Picture nominee's producers, Mario Cecchi Gori, died during the film's development. And then the movie's nominated star and co-screenwriter, Massimo Troisi, suffered a fatal heart attack the day after filming completed.
AWARD: Most Embarrassing Posthumous Winner
WINNER: Dalton Trumbo
DETAILS: In 1993, 40 years after the academy presented an Oscar to Ian McLellan Hunter, the screenwriter credited for "Roman Holiday," the Oscar record was corrected to reflect the fact that a then-blacklisted Trumbo actually wrote the film. Unfortunately, by then Trumbo had been dead for 17 years. (He did, however, receive a belated Oscar for 1956's "The Brave One" before his death.) AWARD: Most Posthumous Posthumous Winner (And Maybe the Most Incorrect, Too)
AWARD: Most Posthumous Posthumous Winner (And Maybe the Most Incorrect, Too)
WINNER: Larry Russell
DETAILS: The Hollywood arranger shared the Best Score Oscar for Charlie Chaplin's "Limelight" in 1973, a full 19 years after he died. (The film was made in the early 1950s but due to Chaplin's politics didn't receive an American release for years.) Of course, it may be that Larry Russell wasn't even supposed to get that Oscar; another composer of the era, Russell Garcia, has stated in an interview that he, not Larry Russell, arranged "Limelight's" score, that Russell didn't work on the film, and that Russell was added to the film's credits by a confused academy.