Baiting the Oscars: Which roles do Academy voters favour?

It takes more than just a memorable performance to win an Oscar. An actor could play the best darn wizard, ape, space pirate or superhero ever seen on screen, but for the most part, those roles aren't the kinds Academy voters historically prefer.

See Full Article

So which roles resonate most with the primarily older, white, male demographic of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?

Physically challenged men, mentally ill women, creative types and roles based on real-life people tend to take home the most awards on Oscar night, based on results from the last 20 years.

Below are some of the most frequent characteristics found in Oscar-winning roles since 1995, along with nominees from this year who show those same characteristics:

Biopics

The Academy seems to adore biographical or even semi-biographical films, and the acting awards clearly reflect that. Of the 80 acting awards handed out in the last two decades, 23 awards have been for roles in biographical films. Three actors have won for playing royalty, and three more have won for playing heads of state. Eight awards have also been handed out for actors playing real-life creative people, such as Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman in "The Hours"), Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx in "Ray") and Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose").

So who fits into this category among this year's nominees?

Most of the nominees were in either direct biopics or in films based on true events, portraying characters based on real people. Among the notable exceptions are Matt Damon ("The Martian"), Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara ("Carol") and Sylvester Stallone ("Creed").

Alicia Vikander ("The Danish Girl") or Kate Winslet ("Steve Jobs") stand a good chance of winning the Best Supporting Actress award for their biographical roles.

Creative types

Just as the Oscar voters seem to love a biopic, they also show a preference toward creative or performative roles, whether those roles are as painters, singers, writers or actors. Twenty actors have won awards for portraying a performer or a creator of some kind, from writers to dancers to musicians to porn stars.

Gwyneth Paltrow won for playing one of the first British stage actresses in "Shakespeare in Love," Nicole Kidman snagged an award for portraying Virginia Woolf in "The Hours," and Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor for playing the titular writer in "Capote." Adrien Brody ("The Pianist"), Jamie Foxx ("Ray") and Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") have also won for playing musicians.

This year's nominees bend this category a little bit, with Michael Fassbender ("Steve Jobs") and Jennifer Lawrence ("Joy") nominated for inventor roles, alongside more traditional artist roles for Bryan Cranston ("Trumbo"), Rooney Mara ("Carol") and Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander ("The Danish Girl").

Mental or physical challenges

The Academy frequently honours actors who either transform their bodies for a role, or who portray someone suffering some form of physical or mental ailment. That can mean anything from a mid-life crisis (Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty"), to dementia (Julianne Moore in "Still Alice"), to a transformative physical disability (Eddie Redmayne in "The Theory of Everything"). However, men tend to win more frequently for tackling physical challenges, while women are recognized for portraying mental illness, judging by the winners from the last 20 years.

For instance, Kevin Spacey won Best Supporting Actor in 1995 for his physically frail role in "The Usual Suspects," while Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club") and Christian Bale ("The Fighter") won the award after dropping down to unhealthy body weights for their roles, in 2013 and 2010, respectively.

Among Best Actor winners, four men have won the award for playing biographical roles where a disability or deformity is involved. Jamie Foxx pretended to be blind for "Ray," Colin Firth adopted a stutter for "The King's Speech," Matthew McConaughey dropped weight to portray a man afflicted by AIDS in "Dallas Buyers Club," and Eddie Redmayne depicted the slow ravages of ALS, as Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything."

The most notable physical transformation among the Best Actress winners was Charlize Theron, who put on weight to play a serial killer in "Monster."

However, women have won awards more frequently for portraying mental illness, when compared to winners in the male categories. Seven women have won the Best Actress award for portraying someone with a psychological challenge, while only three men have won Best Actor for the same kinds of roles. In terms of supporting roles, Angelina Jolie won Best Supporting Actress for her sociopathic turn in "Girl, Interrupted," while Tim Robbins won Best Supporting Actor for his simple-minded character in "Mystic River."

This year's physically challenging roles include Sylvester Stallone playing a cancer-stricken Rocky Balboa, in "Creed;" Christian Bale portraying a man with a glass eye in "The Big Short"; Eddie Redmayne as a man who becomes a woman in "The Danish Girl," and Leonardo DiCaprio playing a crippled fur trader who was mauled by a bear in "The Revenant."

Only two of this year's acting nominees played roles involving aspects of mental health. Brie Larson portrays a kidnapped mother in "Room," who must cope with the psychological scars of her captivity after she's finally set free. In "The Big Short," Christian Bale portrays a character who displays symptoms of Asperger syndrome.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Streep, Meyers and 'Moonlight' to be honoured at LGBTQ gala

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Actress Meryl Streep, TV host Seth Meyers, and the Golden Globe-winning movie "Moonlight" will be honoured next month by the Human Rights Campaign, the LGBTQ civil rights organization. The award for "Moonlight," a coming-of-age film about a black gay youth, will be accepted by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the author of the play on which the film is based. Source
  • Tupac biopic 'All Eyez on Me' gets release date on late singer's birthday

    Entertainment CTV News
    On what would have been the late rapper's 46th birthday - June 16 - Tupac's biopic "All Eyez on Me" will be released by Lionsgate, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Following the life of the rapper Tupac Shakur (1971-1996), the "All Eyez on Me" movie is named after Tupac's fourth studio album from 1996 which sold more than 10 million copies. Source
  • Film about 1960s black mathematicians tops box office 2nd week in a row

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- "Hidden Figures," the uplifting film about African-American mathematicians at NASA during the 1960s space race, led the North American box office for the second straight week, selling $27.5 million in tickets over the Martin Luther King Jr. Source
  • Tom Hardy, Aidan Turner front-runners as next James Bond

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Tom Hardy, Aidan Turner, and James Norton have emerged as the latest front-runners to succeed Daniel Craig as James Bond. The three actors are 3/1 to take on 007 when Craig decides to step down as the superspy. Source
  • CBC News nabs dozens of Canadian Screen Awards nominations

    Entertainment CBC News
    Flanked by its flagship news broadcast, local reporting and special programming, CBC News is set to march in to the Canadian Screen Awards with 33 television nominations. The National picked up eight nominations — four of them coming from the Best News or Information Segment, which has five total nominees — while TV newsmagazine the fifth estate nabbed four and consumer advocacy program Marketplace three. Source
  • Sam Moore to sing at Trump inaugural event

    Entertainment CTV News
    NASHVILLE -- Sam Moore of the soul duo Sam and Dave has been added to the list of performers for President-elect Donald Trump's inaugural events. Moore told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he felt that the criticism levelled at singer Jennifer Holliday, which led to her to back out of the event, was unfair. Source
  • Police: Man posed as Bieber online to extort nude photos

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Massachusetts man was arrested on suspicion of soliciting nude photos from a 9-year-old California girl while posing online as Justin Bieber, authorities said Tuesday. Bryan Asrary was taken into custody Dec. Source
  • Man posed as Justin Bieber online to extort nude photos: police

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Massachusetts man was arrested on suspicion of soliciting nude photos from a 9-year-old California girl while posing online as Justin Bieber, authorities said Tuesday. Bryan Asrary was taken into custody Dec. Source
  • 'He's got a big mouth, like me:' Soul singer Sam Moore signs on for Trump inauguration concert

    Entertainment CBC News
    Sam Moore of the soul duo Sam and Dave has been added to the list of performers for President-elect Donald Trump's inaugural events. Moore told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he felt that the criticism levelled at singer Jennifer Holliday, which led to her to back out of the event, was unfair. Source
  • 'Heyyyyy!' Critch and Chachi bring their Twitter battle to 22 Minutes

    Entertainment CBC News
    St John's comedian Mark Critch and Happy Days star Scott Baio will try and put their twitter feud behind them on tonight's episode of CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes.Chachi trolls Critchi: Comedian Mark Critch gets a rise out of Scott Baio"I have no idea who you are. Source