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Oscars ‘Daily Bite’: ‘O.J.: Made in America,’ more Academy Awards’ lengthiest contenders

"O.J.: Made in America" is the longest film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award. Credit: ESPN Films / M. Osterreicher

If you think the Academy Awards telecast is long, it’s got nothing on “O.J.: Made in America.”

Director Ezra Edelman’s best documentary nominee — which explores race and celebrity in America by shining a light on the life, career and downfall of O.J. Simpson — set a record as the longest film to ever be up for an Oscar. The movie, which aired in five segments on ESPN, clocks in at seven hours, 47 minutes.

The previous record holder, Sergey Bondarchuk’s Russian epic “War and Peace,” which went on to win the 1966 best foreign-language film Oscar, was a mere seven hours, 7 minutes.

While “War and Peace” is clearly the lengthiest Oscar-winning film in any category, things are less clear when it strictly comes to best picture. Based on story alone, the magnolias-and-moonlight classic “Gone With the Wind” (1939) runs three hours, 40 minutes. But then if you add on its overture, intermission, entr’act and exit music, the movie finishes at three hours, 54 minutes. The narrative of “Lawrence of Arabia” actually runs one minute longer than that of “Gone With the Wind,” but with its musical extras, the total time is only three hours, 52 minutes.

Rounding out the list of the top five longest best picture winners are 1959’s “Ben-Hur” (three hours, 32 minutes), the 1974 sequel “The Godfather Part II” (three hours, 22 minutes) and 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (three hours, 21 minutes).

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