Oscar: Actors Nominated for Very Brief Roles–Maria Ouspenskaya in Dodsworth

Maria Ouspenskaya, the famed Russian actress and teacher, who moved to Hollywood in the 1930s, was nominated for two Best Supporting Actress Oscars.

She received her first nomination in 1936 for William Wyler’s Dodsworth, in which she practically has only one scene–albeit a very good one.

In that scene, she plays the domineering baroness mother of a weakling son, Kurt, who’s carrying an affair with Fran (Ruth Chatterton), the older, still married woman of Dodsworth (Walter Huston).

When Kurt introduces Fran to his mother, the latter immediately sees through her.  In the film’s most cruelly dramatic scene, she shatters Fran’s idyllic plans to marry her son.

In addition to divorce being against their religion, she tells Fran that Kurt must have children to carry on the family line, and Fran would be an “old wife of a young husband.”

Kurt asks Fran to postpone their wedding until he can get his mother’s approval, but humiliated by the experience, Fran gets sober and sees that it’s hopeless, thus calling off the divorce that she had earlier wanted from Dodsworth.