Monday, March 07, 2005


Oscars Footnote: Actress "Winning Trends"

Do you think we're seeing something more than a mini-trend here, in which gritty-ugly roles supply essential Oscar-bait for Best Actress? Let's gather the facts. For 2001, Halle Berry wins Best Actress for a beaten down woman in Monster's Ball. It's a sort of trial balloon for this concept, since she still looks pretty hot. In 2002, Nicole Kidman wins for The Hours with enlarged nose makeup – though, she's playing the fey, rather than gritty, Virginia Woolf, and still manages to look rather fetching. Then, in 2003, Charlize Theron wins by jumping into the gritty-ugly thing with both feet in Monster. And now Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. Of course, you could push it back to 1999 with Swank's Oscar winning role in Boys Don't Cry. Only Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, 2000) is the outlier.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website reports the following Oscar "winning trends" for actresses:

It helps an actress's chances of winning (or being nominated for) an Oscar if the character dies during the movie, or is alcoholic (or drug-addicted), or is a murderess. Also, first-time Oscar nominations are more often given to actresses below or around the age of thirty.

A large number of actresses have also won (or been nominated for) the top acting (and supporting) awards for portraying hookers (girls of the night, party girls, whores, call girls, madams, etc.) or loose women (mistresses, promiscuous ladies, etc.).

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