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 2001.
• In 2010 Colin Firth played King George VI, stuttering British royalty at the dawn of the radio era and won for Best Actor.
• 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.
The non-biopic winners: Natalie Portman (Black Swan), 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).
I wouldn't expect 2011 to be different. As a result we can almost plan on either Best Actor Oscar winner or Best Actress winner going to a performer who played in a biographical film as a "Real (Reel) Person."
2011 Real (Reel) People Performances:
• Reel People: Hiam Abbass is Hind Husseini
• Reel People: Matt Damon is Benjamin Mee
• Reel People: Leonardo DiCaprio is J. Edgar Hoover
• Reel People: Ralph Fiennes is Gaius Marcius Coriolanus
• Reel People: Ben Kingsley is Georges Méliès
• Reel People: Rhys Ifans is Edward de Vere
• Reel People: Liya Kebede is Waris Dirie
• Reel People: Keira Knighley is Sabina Spielrein
• Reel People: Viggo Morteson is Simgund Freud
• Reel People: Haley Joel Osment is Helmuth Hübener
• Reel People: Robin Wright Penn is Mary Surratt
• Reel People: Brad Pitt is Billy Beane
• Reel People: Andrea Riseborough is Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson Windsor, Duchess of Windsor
• Reel People: AnnaSophia Robb is Bethany Hamilton
• Reel People: David Strathairn is William J Flynn
• Reel People: Meryl Streep is Margaret Thatcher
• Reel People: Rachel Weisz is Kathryn Bolkovak
• Reel People: Michelle Williams is Marilyn Monroe
Click to links to see the previous Real (Reel) People projects from 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.