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Oscar Myth Busters

[IMG:L]Think there’s a formula to winning an Oscar? Think again. Over the last 10 years, there have been quite a few myths floating around about the Academy Awards and its time-honored traditions—and we are here to debunk some of them.

Myth: Veteran actresses tend to have the edge over the newbies when it comes to winning the Oscar.
Busted: There have been some classic battles to prove this myth wrong. The most astounding win was by Marisa Tomei, who won Best Supporting Actress in 1992 for My Cousin Vinny, beating out four veteran actresses, including Vanessa Redgrave, nominated for Howard’s End and Joan Plowright, nominated for Enchanted April. And in the last six years, the Best Actress winners have been mostly first-timers, who were all under 35 when they won.
The reality of it is…There just isn’t any rhyme or reason to who gets an Oscar. The Best Supporting Actress category has been notorious for picking winners out of the blue. But lately, the Academy seems to like to reward A-list beauties who do something extraordinary to “change” their appearance for the role (Charlize Theron for MonsterNicole Kidman for The Hours) or show some other talent, such as singing (Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line). Even this year’s shoo-in for Best Actress, the lovely Helen Mirren—who is bucking the formula as a definite veteran actress—had to downplay her looks and be dowdy in The Queen.

[IMG:R]Myth: A Best Actress winner who forgets to thank her husband in her acceptance speech is headed for splitsville.
Busted: It’s just the opposite. Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank forgot to thank her husband, Chad Lowe, the first time she won her Best Actress award for Boys Don’t Cry in 1999 but remembered it loud and clear when she won for Million Dollar Baby in 2004. Swank then filed for divorce in May, 2006. As a follow up, Reese Witherspoon, who won the Oscar last year for her work in Walk the Line and thanked her adoring hubby at the time, Ryan Phillippe, is also headed for divorce.
The reality of it is… Bruised egos? Oscar envy? Any of our business?

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[IMG:L]Myth: Movies released in December usually go on to win more major awards than those released earlier in the year.
Busted: Wrong again. Here are four out of the last 10 Best Picture winners and their release dates: Crash (May 2005); Gladiator (May 2000); American Beauty (September 1999); The English Patient (November 1996).
The reality of it is… While December releases still play a big part in keeping an Oscar contender fresh in the Academy voters’ minds (i.e. Million Dollar Baby coming out of nowhere to win), there are those few movies whose quality—and expertly managed marketing campaigns—make a lasting impression. Little Miss Sunshine, anyone?

[IMG:R]Myth: A film doesn’t necessarily have to be a period piece to win Best Costume Design.
Busted: Um, yeah, actually they do have to be a period film to win the Oscar. In the last 10 years, all the Best Costume winners came from movies set at least 60 or more years ago, including last year’s winner Memoirs of a Geisha, with its gorgeous kimonos. The exception could be The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which is sort of timeless in its own right.
The reality of it is… Let’s face it, modern-day clothes are boring compared to what people used to wear—from The Aviator’s stylish 1930s suits to the 16th century gowns in Shakespeare in Love to the early 20th century attire in Titanic.

[IMG:L]Myth: If you have two nominations under your belt already, you are bound to win the Oscar if nominated for a third time.
Busted: Maybe if you are Meryl Streep, but for many others, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. To name a recent few who have yet to win the Oscar for an individual film or performance, despite being nominated several times: Director Martin Scorsese (seven nominations); Annette Bening (three nominations); Peter O’Toole (nominated seven times, has one honorary Oscar); director Robert Altman (nominated five times, has one honorary Oscar). The list goes on.
The reality of it is… Be it politics or whatever, the Academy Awards isn’t always the fair and just award ceremony we’d like it be. In other words, don’t place bets on a repeat nominee until you’re absolutely sure this will be their year—like Martin Scorsese, finally.

[IMG:R]Myth: The Golden Globes are probably the most accurate barometer for who and what will win an Oscar.
Not necessarily. In fact, the less glamorous but equally prestigious Guild Awards (DGA, SAG and the WGA) have a much better track record than the Globes. For example, in the last five years, four out of five directors who won the DGA award went on to win the Oscar. The exception was in 2002, when Roman Polanski won the Oscar for The Pianist while Rob Marshall won the DGA award for Chicago. In comparison, only three out of the five won the Golden Globe.
The reality of it is… Timing, marketing strategies, etc. could all play a part on who or what wins between the time the Golden Globes are handed out (early January) and the Academy Awards (in late February, early March). If we were to guess, however, peer-to-peer accolades probably hold more water than choices from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who run the Globes.

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