After the Oscars

Now all the fuss is over it's a good time to pause and reflect for a moment. The hype of the Oscars is part of the buzz of the film industry and over the top though it all is, it reflects a truth about the business of acting with which actors have to live.

In the commercial world of film production and promotion an Oscar is the ultimate reward. The "Oscar" carries the image of being the pot of gold at the end of every actor's rainbow. Yet from the variety of views examined by the media in recent times it can be assumed that the quality of the acting is only one of the considerations amongst many others that all seem to be perceived as contributing factors when it comes to Oscar selection,

  • the ability to attract publicity,
  • the showiness of a performance (i.e. is it a good vehicle to display the actor's skills),
  • the political correctness of the choice,
  • the emotive qualities of story and performance,
  • whether the actor deserves recognition because of previous achievements and
  • whether the actor is liked or not.

Who is the Winner?
It's interesting to note that in Australia Russell Crowe seemed to get more press for not winning than Halle Berry did for taking out The Best Actress award. And the debate about whether Russell should have won Best Actor continues. In fact some are still arguing that Russell should have received the Best Actor Oscar for "The Insider"(in 2000) and not for "Gladiator" (in 2001). This again serves to highlight the diverse points of view that every actor faces when it comes time for public assessment of a performance. Inevitably there will be a range of views. In Russell's case there are those who say that his performance in "Beautiful Mind" is contrived and mannered and those who argue that it was clearly the best performance of the year. Who is right? These questions have as many answers as there are bums on seats

Actors have to live with the side effects of the awards circus.

What About the Acting?
It would be hoped that, somewhere in all of this analysis that the quality of the performance is also ultimately a contributing factor. Assuming this to be the case it is worth looking at Denzel Washington in "Training Day", Russell Crowe's performance in "Beautiful Mind" or any other Oscar nominated performance and building your own perspective on what were the active ingredients in the debate about the perceived quality. Identify the -

  • moments of truth - and their source;
  • moments of contrivance - and their source;
  • successful story telling;
  • not so successful story telling

and build your own understanding of the process that achieved these outcomes.

From this information you can continue to develop and practice your own acting skills to enable your performance contribution in the next story you are involved in telling to be truthful, purposeful and rewarding.

Jack Thompson suggested, in assessing the outcome of the 2002 Oscars, that Russell Crowe's most important task was to start work on preparing for his next role - for his job is to be a good actor and not an award collector. Jack's comment provides a most appropriate focus for all actors.

Keep working - the real rewards are in doing the next job well.

April 2002

Copyright © The Rehearsal Room 2002. All rights Reserved.



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