Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Real (Reel) People Win Oscars: 2010 Edition

When it comes to win an Academy Award, recent years have shown that not any bio-pic performance means a guaranteed nomination, but if you get nominated for your performance playing a real person, then there is a good chance you will win.

Of the past 10 years (20 Lead Actor/Actress winners), 12 of these winners have won for playing real life people. That's 60% of winners since 2000.

• In 2009 Sandra Bullock played a surprise hero as the Southern mother Leigh Ann Tuohy and won for Best Actress.
• In 2008 Sean Penn played controversial politician Harvey Milk and won the Oscar for Best Actor.
• In 2007 Marion Cotillard played French singer Ediath Piaf and won the Oscar for Best Actress.
• In 2006 Helen Mirren played Queen Elizabeth II and won the Oscar for Best Actress.
• In 2006 Forrest Whitaker played Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and won the Oscar for Best Actor
• In 2005 Reese Witherspoon played country music celeb June Carter and won the Oscar for Best Actress.
• In 2005 Philip Seymour Hoffman played author Truman Capote and won the Oscar for Best Actor.
• In 2004 Jamie Foxx played musician Ray Charles and won the Oscar for Best Actor.
• In 2003 Charlize Theron played prostitute/serial killer Aileen Wuornos and won the Best Actress oscar.
• In 2002 Adrien Brody played Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman and won the Best Actor oscar.

• In 2002 Nicole Kidman played author Virginia Woolf and won the Best Actress oscar.
• In 2000 Julia Roberts plays the unlikely activist Erin Brokovich and won the Best Actress oscar.

The non-biopic winners: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Kate Winslet (The Reader), Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby), Sean Penn (Mystic River), Denzel Washington (Training Day), Halle Berry (Monster's Ball), Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

I will add films to this list as the post go up, but a few performances previously discussed appear to be 2010 eligible.

2010 Real (Reel) People Performances:

Reel People: Hiam Abbass is Hind Husseini
Reel People: Jesse Eisenberg is Mark Zuckerberg
Reel People: Colin Firth is King George VI
Reel People: James Franco is Allen Ginsberg
Reel People: James Franco is Aron Ralston
Reel People: Aaron Johnson is John Lennon
Reel People: Diane Lane is Penny Chenery
Reel People: Haley Joel Osment is Helmuth Hübener
Reel People: Julia Roberts is Elizabeth Gilbert
Reel People: David Strathairn is William J Flynn
Reel People: Hilary Swank is Betty Anne Waters
Reel People: Mark Wahlberg is "Irish" Micky Ward
Reel People: Naomi Watts is Valerie Plame Wilson
Reel People: Rachel Weisz is Hypatia
Reel People: Rachel Weisz is Kathryn Bolkovak

See the 2009, 2008 and 2007 Real (Reel) People projects.


joe burns said...

Yeah, it happens a lot! I don't really like it though, since there are unworthy winners who win for biopic performances. Bullock is one of them.

Danny King said...

I agree with your theory, although I think Morgan Freeman is an interesting exception from this past year. In my opinion, the only reason he got nominated was because he was playing Nelson Mandela, and this what a performance he'd been preparing for his entire career.

In reality, there wasn't a lot of passion behind Invictus, as evidenced by the Best Picture snub, and I think the only reason Freeman got nominated was because it was a true story.

Peter Chan said...

I was just talking to a casual moviegoer friend on the way out of the theater when he made a comment regarding how he doesn't like watching biopics anymore because all of them seem like "Oscar chasers" and "overdramatic".

I couldn't help but chuckle because it's oh-so-true.