While we’d like to think that any movie or actor has a shot at Oscar gold, the reality is that’s just not the case. Here are the 10 best ways to win an Oscar … or at least get nominated for one. By Erik Davis
1. Lose a Lot of Weight
You want that Oscar, you’re gonna have to work for it. And we mean 'work out' for it. One of the best ways to earn an Oscar nod is to shed some serious poundage. Jared Leto is a great example. For 'Dallas Buyers Club,' the dude lost a ton of weight and won Best Supporting Actor.
2. Play a Handicapped/Mentally Ill/Deaf/Blind Person
Don’t feel like dieting? You can always play someone who is either handicapped, mentally ill, deaf, blind or autistic. The Academy loves that sort of challenging role, and it paid off for Cate Blanchett, whose portrayal of a woman’s complete nervous breakdown in 'Blue Jasmine' earned her a Best Actress statuette.
3. Get Two Straight People to Make Out with Each Other
'Blue Is the Warmest Color' won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and starred two straight actresses playing girls who fall in love. The Academy loves challenging stories about lovers of the same sex. Remember 'Brokeback Mountain'? Oh, we do. We definitely still do.
4. Do a Really Good Impression
Another good way to get nominated or win an Oscar is to pick a real-life person with a fascinating story and imitate them to the best of your ability. See: Tom Hanks in 'Captain Phillips' (and 'Saving Mr. Banks'), Idris Elba in 'Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom' and Judi Dench in 'Philomena.'
5. Become a Comeback Kid
Did your career go in the toilet after taking on roles in several horrible romantic comedies? Congrats! That means you’re only one step away from winning an Oscar. Now just play a stripper, an AIDS victim and change your name to Matthew McConaughey – and you’re gold!
6. Make a Period Piece About Something Awful
Whether it’s movies like 'The King’s Speech', 'Argo' or 'The Artist', the Academy loves a movie set back in the day. You get cool costumes, old-timey music and the feeling that you’ve been transported elsewhere. See: '12 Years a Slave' and 'Inside Llewyn Davis' as new movies that pull this off with great effect.
7. Play Dead...for Real
As unfortunate (and creepy) as it sounds, an actor or actress who dies right after making a film has a pretty good shot at scoring an Oscar nod the following year. Heck, it worked for James Dean in 1955 ('East of Eden') and 1956 ('Giant'), and who can forget Heath Ledger's Oscar win for playing the Joker in 'The Dark Knight' after he passed away due to a drug overdose.
8. Cast Meryl Streep
9. Involve Walt Disney
This option expired once Walt Disney passed away in 1966, but not before winning the most Academy Awards than anyone in the history of the ceremony. We can’t bring the man back, but we have actors who can play him, and 'Saving Mr. Banks' may prove that’s just as good as the real thing.
10. Make a Damn Good Movie
At the end of the day, though, the best way to win an Oscar is to simply make a good movie, one that entertains us more than any other film throughout the year.