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March 21, 2003

The Oscar Briefing I wrote

Daniel Radosh

The Oscar Briefing I wrote for The Week last year is already out of date. According to the invaluable EDI Nielsen Academy Awards Guide, a careful analysis of the data reveals three cherished myths to be out of date:

1. Oscar loves retards: It's been five years since the the best actor award went to someone playing an even mildly afflicted character: Jack Nicholson's star turn as an obsessive-compulsive romance novelist in As Good as It Gets. (Prior to that, eight of 10 best actor recipients played characters suffering from some malady.) For the best actress award you have to go back to Jessica Lange's win for her role as a bipolar military wife in 1994's Blue Sky. "I took a solemn oath years ago not to vote for drunks or retards," says William Goldman.

2. Oscar loves dying legends: In the last 20 years the oldest best actor nominee has hoisted the trophy just twice; the senior best actress nominee only four times.

3. Oscar loves British accents: In the last 25 years, English actors have taken the best actor award just four times.

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