There might a psychological reason behind how to win an Oscar, according to new research from the University of Queensland's School of Psychology in Australia.
Researchers took a look at 908 winners and nominees of the Best Actor and Best Actress categories at both the Oscars and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards — or BAFTAs, the U.K. equivalent –– since 1968 to see what factors played into those who won. When it came to the Oscars, the research team came to the conclusion that award voters identified with the social characteristics winners had with them.
"These results show that whether we see a given performance as extraordinary is not just a function of the objective quality of that performance, but that perceivers are much more likely to recognise a performance as truly brilliant when perceivers and performers share membership in a social group," Niklas Steffens, the lead researcher said to the University of Queensland's news.
Australian news site News.com.au took a look at what researchers found and gave its own take on the Oscar-winning matter by looking at some of the traits Best Actor and Best Actress award winners have in common.
Here are some of those factors and more:
1. Play the lead role in a film.
First and most obviously, in order for an actor or actress to win the most coveted awards at the Oscars, they have to be the face of the film. An Oscar voter should be able to recognize you and your role in order to vote for you, right? News.com.au reported that since only 10 percent of actors are "working at any time," the chances of a nomination for a lead role can be slim, but it's not entirely impossible.
2. Be an American actor in an American-centric film.
Researchers found that 88 percent of American actors who starred in a film that revolved around U.S. culture were more likely to win an Oscar over their British peers, and other Americans who starred in films about British or other non-U.S. cultures.
"The culture that a movie represents makes a difference to the likelihood of it winning awards, and we are more likely to recognise actors from our in-group when their performance is in movies that portray 'our' in-group culture," Steffens said.
This year will be interesting, as many of the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress weren't born in America.
3. Have some nominations under your belt.
While the quality of a performance is sometimes valued over quantity of nominations, the University of Queensland study found that an actor's previous nominations increase someone's chances of winning an Oscar among other leading actors. However, winning previous Oscars reduces their chances of winning.
4. Play a character with an obstacle to overcome.
Whether it's race, class, gender, or something more complex, Oscar voters love a good underdog story where the protagonist(s) comes out on top.
5. Be an expert crier.
No one tugs on heartstrings better than a lead actor or actress crying on screen, and that definitely merits an award.
Cover image: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com