There are two things Allison Janney is asked about most when it comes to “I, Tonya,” in which she plays LaVona Golden, the figure skater Tonya Harding’s tough-as-nails mother. One is about all the physical abuse the fictional character directs at her daughter, who is played by Margot Robbie. The other is about the bird that sits on Ms. Janney’s shoulder, pecking at her as she re-enacts an interview in the film. (Ms. Janney sported a fake bird during part of the Golden Globes.)

While the real Ms. Golden has denied hitting or hurting her daughter, the interview with her, wearing fur and the bird, very much happened.

Ms. Janney, 58, is favored to win the Oscar for best supporting actress for her performance, and she sat down with me in November to talk about how she channeled her harsh inner critic for the role, what it was like to audition birds, and why she thinks she escaped being sexually harassed during her career.

When I saw your scene with the fur jacket and the bird, I thought this was jumping the shark. But no, it was an accurate depiction.

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