Oscar: Acting Branch–How Actors Influence the Best Picture

The Acting Branch’s large size vis-a-vis the other branches (about 24 percent of all members)means that the Best Picture nominees are often movies with strong acting.

The Dresser

A movie like “The Dresser” would probably not have been nominated for Best Picture if one-fourth of the members, all of whom nominate in this category, had not been players. It’s not that “The Dresser” was not a high-quality film (it was), but that its subject matter (backstage life through the relationship between an aging, selfish actor and his dresser in World War II England) and extraordinary performances by Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay made it a likely Best Picture candidate in the opinion of the Acting Branch. The Acting Branch’s large size translates into greater impact over the films nominated for the top award.

This is the reason why many films about showbiz or entertainment have been nominated for Best Picture: The Great Ziegfeld, Stage Door, A Star Is Born, All About Eve, Sunset Boulevard, The Country Girl, Funny Girl, Hello, Dolly!, Cabaret, Lenny, Nashville, The Turning Point, All That Jazz, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Tootsie, Amadeus, Shine, Shakespeare in Love, and, most recently, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, The Aviator, Ray, and Capote.