I’ve determined that every Best Actor and Actress has something in common. They pick roles that will shock people. They pick roles that are challenging. They pick roles that will make people love them because, deep down, they hate themselves so much. The least we can do is award them with some kind of trophy for all their hard work on top of their enormous salaries. We’re just the little people, after all.
If you want to go through all of the mess of going on auditions and getting discovered, go right ahead. That’s the hard stuff. If you want to find a role that will win you an Oscar, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tricks of the trade I’ve picked up from being an avid movie watcher:
Make yourself fugly. No one wants to be on the big screen and look awful, right? Well, if you do, The Academy will most likely consider you “brave” and nominate you for one thing or another. For example, look at Anne Hathaway’s choice this year. She could’ve opted for a different role, but she chose the shave-your-head-snot-dripping-crying role. I can’t get over her bravery.
Others that have won or been nominated for awards by making themselves gross are: John Hurt (The Elephant Man), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Charlize Theron (Monster), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious).
Side note: I realize that Mr. Rourke and Ms. Sidibe already looked like that before their roles, but still. They’re on the list.
Go insane. Crazy characters are always fun to watch. There’s nothing better than a good old fashioned break-down. I believe that in order to play someone who goes off the deep end, you’ve had to have experience of it yourself. Just keep that in mind.
Examples of expert crazies: Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire), Bette Davis (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream), Natalie Portman (Black Swan).
Hey all girls! Whadda know?!
The old switcheroo. To show The Academy what an amazing skill set you have, try portraying the other sex. This should prove difficult even for the best of them. If you go through with it though, you’ll no doubt be awarded for your talent. I mean, even Gwyneth Paltrow won for dressing up as a guy in Shakespeare in Love. Is that really Oscar quality? No. But she dressed up as a boy so it’s fine.
Other examples of people that can play the opposite gender well are: Hillary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry), Dustin Hoffman (Tootsie), Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game).
Mental disability fall-back. This type of role is tried and true. It’s basically a guarantee that you will win an award for playing someone “special”. It’s also a guarantee that someone is going to comment on this post and tell me that I’m being offensive. I’m just being brave, okay?!
Examples of people that were itching for an Oscar: Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade), Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man), Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Sean Penn (I Am Sam).
Oh look, all men. This type of role seems to come easy to them.
Holocaust roles. Everyone knows how disturbing the Holocaust was, yet for some reason we like to keep reliving it by watching movies about it. For those of us who didn’t get a chance to actually be there, it’s a great way to see what really happened, right?
Examples of these challenging and brave roles: Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List), Adrien Brody (The Pianist).
If all else fails, try to morph into Daniel Day Lewis.