Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How To Get An Oscar Nomination

Variety has a guide:
  • Talk funny. Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" was a prime example of a long, proud tradition of speaking in a strange voice, using eccentric rhythms and speech patterns and -- this is important -- doing it while squinting. The glorious roster includes everyone from Billy Bob Thornton in "Sling Blade" to Renee Zellweger in "Cold Mountain." (Anthony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs" and Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump" managed Oscar wins without the squint, which is remarkable.) Here's the rule of thumb: If a standup comic can do an impression of your performance that's immediately recognizable, you're in.
  • Have a distinctive haircut. Kate Winslet in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada," Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement," all great. If at least three men dress up as your character in the West Hollywood Halloween parade, Oscar voters will remember you.
  • Be threatening and playful. When Forest Whitaker encounters James McAvoy in "Last King of Scotland," he terrorizes him then pretends he was joking. Same thing for Joe Pesci with Ray Liotta in "Goodfellas." It's part of the "He's scary!/Oh, he's kidding!/No, he's really scary!" school of drama.
  • Kill somebody. 2007 was a banner year, thanks to performances from Johnny Depp and Casey Affleck, but recent winners include Catherine Zeta-Jones, Charlize Theron, Denzel Washington, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. Other noms include William Hurt ("A History of Violence"), Mark Wahlberg ("The Departed"), Ben Kingsley ("Sexy Beast") and Paul Newman ("Road to Perdition").

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