So one of my favorite things to do at work is to argue over Oscar winners and Oscar losers. It seems like every year at The Academy Awards there is controversy in one of the four acting categories. Sometimes there is a clear cut winner for a particular category, like Daniel Day Lewis, as Abraham Lincoln this year. Some years things aren’t so clear cut, and it seems like anybody could take home the awards. Either way, this all got me to thinking about what exactly it is that leads to these people getting nominated for, and eventually winning an Oscar.
So I decided to give this some real thought, and come up with a guide, or some potential tips that all you aspiring actors and actresses can use to fulfill all your acting dreams. Warning, this article contains spoilers. They are pointed out throughout. Here goes:
Star in a Biopic (Even if it isn’t that good)
So first up, is probably the most cut and dry way to guarantee yourself at least a nomination. Find a script for a film about some famous and influential person. Some historical figure. Or even a controversial celebrity. These are all winning formulas. Take a look at Meryl Streep last year, who won an Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Iron Lady,’ one of the more boring films of the year. Daniel Day as Lincoln, Colin Firth in ‘The King’s Speech,’ De Niro in ‘Raging Bull,’ Marion Cotillard in ‘La Vie En Rose.’ These were all wins. There are plenty more examples out there.
It really is an easy way to reach to top. Hell, I’m pretty sure if Ken Jeong played Kim Jong Un in ‘Nukes of North Korea’ he’d probably get the nod.
Deliver A Stirring Speech
Another sure fire way to get yourself nominated is to get up on screen and deliver a powerhouse speech. Memorize that damn screenplay, get up there, put on your best speech face and pour out those words like your life depends on it. Al Pacino should have won a few of these things, but lucky for him he got in that “court room” in ‘Scent Of A Woman’ and dropped verbal bombs on a crowd of students and faculty. Boom, Oscar. Colin Firth’s whole movie was about a speech, so he was a shoe in from the get go. That’s basically cheating. Daniel Day gave a speech about Milkshakes while pummeling a guys head into pulp and still brought home the bacon. Oh, and Christoph Waltz is a walking monologue and he now has too under his arm. Trust me on this one.
Do Something You Usually Don’t
In the immortal words of a wise philosopher known as Jadakiss:
“Why Halle have to let a white man pop her to get an Oscar // Why Denzel have to be crooked before he took it”
Wise words Mr Kiss. If you want to sneak in at a chance for an Oscar, one way is to land yourself a role that is a little outside the box for your usual acting tastes. As Jada so gracefully pointed out, Denzel Washington had been widely considered one of the best actors around but did not win an Oscar until he took on a role as a hard nosed, dirty bad guy in the film ‘Training Day.’ As he even more eloquently put it, Ms Halle Berry had to engage in intercourse with a white man during a time of racial tension, in order to snag her award. It just so happens that the man was Billy Bob Thornton. Quite frankly, I think she deserves more than an Oscar for having to see Billy Bob drop his drawers. Bravo.
Another great example would be Dustin Hoffman playing an autistic man in ‘Rain Man.’ Oh and Charlize Theron had to get ugly in ‘Monster’ to take home a statue. Let me tell you something right now. I still to this day do not understand how anyone or anything was able to make Charlize Theron look ugly. I just don’t.
Star In A Silent Film
Alright, if you aren’t buying this one, let’s just take a look at the facts. There has been one silent film of note in the past crap ton of years. Jean Dujardin took home the Oscar for his role in that film. That’s 1 for 1, which I am pretty sure puts this one at a 100% success rate. I rest my case.
Die – BEWARE: SPOILER ALERT! (In other words, if you read this paragraph, don’t blame me for ruining a collection of great movies for you)
So here is another easy one. Just die. I don’t mean in real life (I’ll leave out any Heath Ledger jokes, because I have class), I mean on camera. You can die any kind of death. They’re all effective. Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Russel Crowe (Gladiator) died glorious and dramatic deaths. Brandon keeled over in his back yard. They all took home the Oscar. Hillary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) and Tom Hanks (Philadelphia) died emotional, tear inducing deaths. Tim Robbins (Mystic River) died like a little bitch. They all took home the same award. So if you think your role is lacking a little punch just check in with the director and see if he can get you a rewrite that ensures you don’t make it the full run time.
Don’t Be Leonardo DiCaprio. (Or Mark Wahlberg)
Basically, the point here, is that these two guys have done basically all of the above, but neither have taken home the hardware. Leo died in ‘Titanic,’ starred in multiple biopics like ‘J. Edgar’ and ‘The Aviator,’ played an oddball bad guy in ‘Django Unchained.’ He’s done it all. Marky Mark got his schwantz out in ‘Boogie Nights’ and he’s got nothing to show for it. Sorry fellas, looks like it’s time to sign up for a silent movie.
So those are my quick tips to earning yourself an Academy Award for acting. I’m sure there are some other fool proof methods out there, so feel free to share your thoughts.