How to Win an Oscar
As we reach the light at the end of the awards season tunnel, it feels like every day we get a new heap of articles telling us the diversity problem is even worse than we thought. Because it is. The conversations about race and gender that have swamped this year’s Oscars are necessary and way past due. Hopefully the first step toward a real change in Hollywood is persistent bombardment of graphs and statistics.
So for today’s It’s Worse Than We Thought (Or, New Evidence to Support What We Already Knew Was Terrible), Fusion’s Molly Fitzpatrick has broken down every past Oscar winner in the Best Actor and Actress categories, based on their professions. The results are… well, honestly, they’re probably just about whatever you’re imagining right now. Here are the top five for each:
Number six for women, by the way, is prostitute.
Fitzpatrick makes sure to note that, obviously, most characters have more than one defining characteristic. This breakdown used whatever the dominant descriptor was, and “the categories of spouse and widow or widower were only applied when they were vital to a character’s identity, typically in the absence of a career.”
Here’s the full breakdown:
So if you’re looking to win an Oscar, play a wife or a criminal. Oh, but women, don’t you go and try to play a criminal. That will significantly lower your odds of winning. I’d love to see how this broke down for the Supporting awards, too. My guess is men would still have a better chance winning for “Other” than for playing a “Boyfriend.” Even supporting male roles rarely “support” a female lead in the same ways women do men. A quick look through the Supporting Actress and Actor lists does seem to indicate that not too much is different than the lead roles’ professions.
I’d also love to know how this graph breaks down farther by race and age. Although again, I would hazard an assumption that we all pretty much already know what that would look like.