Beginner’s Guide to. . . Oscar Bait

Screen

“And so, it is with great pleasure that I accept this Academy Award…”

Ever wondered how to win an Oscar? The answer may be more methodical than you’d think.

First thing’s first, actors make up by far the largest proportion of the Academy, and so are the strongest voting block.  Consequently your film should be predominantly actor-driven. This is one reason why The Hurt Locker was a shoe-in compared to Avatar.

Next you need to pick a subject. Traditionally the choices here would be a period piece, a serious literary adaptation or something involving World War II and the Holocaust. But as the elder crowd of voters are beginning to be replaced by members who cut their teeth on New Hollywood films by the likes of Scorsese and Coppola, things are starting to change and more contemporary films are being recognised. That said, voters will never get enough of the British, particularly the Royals.

Now it’s time to populate your film with actors. The lead actor should be in the prime of his career and have previously been overlooked by the Academy (this is important when trying to convince voters that this is “his time”). Leonardo DiCaprio is an obvious choice here, although Alan Rickman could be a possibility, particularly as he’s never even been nominated. The role should be morally ambiguous, a tortured anti-hero growing over the course of the film. The leading actress should be young and talented and be playing a role designed to show her as vulnerable or making her ugly. Choose someone like Ellen Page in a few years. Alternatively, just pick Meryl Streep. One of your characters has to have an affliction. This can be an addiction, physical disability or a touching mental illness. Just remember to never go full retard.

Release your film no earlier than November so that everyone doesn’t forget about it. Finally you need to convince the Academy to vote on your film. This is where it is a good idea to call in an expert. Hire Harvey Weinstein as a producer and allow him to work his magic. Now sit back and think up your speech!

Examples:

The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Rainman (1988)

Forrest Gump (1994)

The Hours (2002)

Million Dollay Baby (2006)

The Reader (2008)

The King’s Speech (2010)