Joining the gong show
It seems there are a few simple rules that the women of Hollywood must adhere to if they are to win on Oscar night, writes Anna Carey
WE ALL KNOW that a woman has never won an Academy Award for Best Director (although with a bit of luck that might all change this Sunday night if Kathryn Bigelow wins for The Hurt Locker). But what, exactly, does a woman have to do to win an Oscar? Well, based on the evidence of the past 71 years, here are a few simple rules . . .
Grazia. If you can’t be a prostitute, you might as well try being a boozer. In 1964, a whopping four out of five nominees for Best Actress played alcoholics and drug addicts. Since then, several other women have won Oscars for playing tragic drunks, most recently Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose. You’d think that playing a prostitute devoted to an alcoholic, as Elisabeth Shue did in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas, would be a guaranteed win, but it seems that Mira Sorvino fulfilled the hooker-playing-winner quota that year. Shirley MacLaine famously said that roles for women usually fall into three categories: hookers, victims and doormats. Although this year’s Best Actress nominees are, in general, a refreshing change from this rule, it can’t be denied that the Academy does love gorgeous actresses pretending to sell their bodies. The very first woman to win an acting Oscar, Janet Gaynor, got her award for playing a prostitute back in 1929 and since then over a dozen actresses, including Kim Basinger ( LA Confidential), Mira Sorvino ( Mighty Aphrodite), Liz Taylor ( Butterfield 8) and Jane Fonda ( Klute) have taken home acting Oscars for playing ladies of the night.
‘Brave’ Charlize Theron plays ugly in Monster. Below: Marion Cotillard as a boozy Edith Piaf