A new study in the British Journal of Psychology may help you win your Oscar pool. We’ve seen the OscarsSoWhite protest and OscarsSoOld too, as members of the Academy have proven to be overwhelmingly white and not quite spring chickens. But how about OscarsSoAmerican? Though actors nominated for Academy Awards come from all over the world, the Academy’s Best Actor and Best Actress prizes have gone to American actors 78 percent of the time.
As one of the study’s authors, Dr. Niklas K. Steffens, puts it: “American actors win two out of three of all Oscar nominations but almost four out of five of all Oscar awards.” Steffens’ point is that a viewer sharing a social identity with an actor will demonstrate an increased ability to understand and appreciate stirring performances. The study also found a heavy bias in subject matter — toward films that explored American culture. The study is called Genius begins at home: Shared social identity enhances the recognition of creative performance.
This year’s Best Actress candidates include only two non-hyphenated Americans:
Ruth Negga (Ethiopian-Irish)
Meryl Streep (American)
Isabelle Huppert (French)
Natalie Portman (Israeli-American)
Emma Stone (American)
This year’s Best Actor candidates include only two non-hyphenated Americans:
Denzel Washington (American)
Casey Affleck (American)
Ryan Gosling (Canadian, but probably passes as American)
Viggo Mortensen (Danish-American)
Andrew Garfield (British-American)