What determines whether or not an actor or actress is in a supporting role for a film as opposed to a leading role (for example, Rachel Weisz in "The Constant Gardener" who won an Oscar for her Supporting Role despite being second-billed)?
#110168. Asked by kyleisalive. (Oct 25 09 6:35 PM)
The current rules:|
The official screen cast credits list of any eligible films are sent to the acting branch members of the Academy.
These are not the entire cast lists, but simply the credits that studio or producer send to the Academy for award consideration in all categoris, so only the major roles will be listed. I believe they used to submit names for specific acting awards, but no more.
The Academy members who are actors then receive the lists of all eligble films and vote for up to 5 performances in each of the 4 acting categories. It is up to the voter into which category they place the performance. The 5 highest vote totals are tabulated in each category, minus duplications (if one actor is nominated for two different films in the same category, they take the one they received the most votes on, throw the other one out, and bump the 6th place finisher to 5th.)
The final 5 are then announced as the nominees, and another round of voting takes place to determine the award recipient.
In the event that an actor makes the top 5 in both categories for the same performance , leading and supporting, then the category which received the highest percentage of votes is used, and the other is thrown out. An actor can (and has) been nominated for both leading and supporting performance, but only for two different roles. (A rule that was not always in effect: I believe Barry Fitzgerald was nominated for both leading and supporting Awards for Going My Way in 1944.)
There used to be massive publicity campaigns to get certain performances and roles nominated or awarded, but the Academy has curtailed that somewhat. Trade publications like Variety will still carry "For Your Consideration" ads, paid but the studio or production company, that will list the actor, and the award category they believe the role calls for. "For your Consideration for Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz in
The Constant Gardener'" etc. They're not allowed to do much more than that, nor can they mention that the performer has won X amount of the earlier awards, etc.
Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award Voting Rules:
These rules do show though why so many of the earlier awards are important, because they establish the front runners. The average Academy voter who doesn't feel like doing a lot of work sifting through the casts lists of dozens of submitted films will just look at who has been getting awards and nominate accordingly.
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