March 01, 2005
Academy Awards Redux
Posted by Christine Hurt

At the risk of being a day and a half late, I did want to mention that I did in fact predict the Best Actor and Best Actress awards correctly, although I guess that's hard to prove.  However, I can disclose my methodology.  About 8 or 9 years ago, I heard someone on the radio discuss the secret of predicting Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Film.  (I apologize for not being able to give accurate credit!  I wasn't blogging then. . . .)

The winning actress will have played the strongest female character among those nominated, a character who plunges through obstacles and stereotypes.  The character may even pose as a man (Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love; Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry).  Single moms are good, too (Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich; Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets).

The winning actor, by contrast, will have played a character with some weakness or defect, physical or mental.  The actor may overcome this weakness or use it to his advantage.  So, easy examples come to mind:  Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman), Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Jack Nicholson (As Good As It Gets).

The commentator said that the Best Picture will capture the angst of the nation.  I'm not too good at pinpointing the angst of the nation, so I'm not sure if this year's winner fits the bill.  However, Oscar nods to the performances of a female boxer and a sight-impaired singer do seem to follow the formula.

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