Refuting The ‘Babe’ Theory.

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  • Jaffas85
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    #91635

    I’ve read quit a bit about how various Oscar pundits believe that the youth and good looks of female acting nominees contributes, if not overwhelmingly, towards whether Oscar members will want to vote for them to win.

    I simply don’t buy that.

    The reason why the overwhelming majority of female acting nominees are women in their 20’s and 30’s is because the majority of roles written for women in Hollywood are for younger actresses. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the majority of female acting nominees each year tend to be young women as the majority of roles in Hollywood are written and cast for them. Generally, the few roles that aree written for older actresses to play (at least over 40) tend to be taken by the same respected stalwarts such as Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Sandra Bullock.

    For instance, I believe that the main reason why Glenn Close stopped receiving consistent Oscar nominations (she received no Oscar nominations between 1990 – 2011) was because as she aged into her 40’s and 50’s there were less and less quality, and promoted, roles for older female actresses. Not due to suddenly losing any semblence of desirability that she had, to cause Oscar voters to forget her. 

    I’m not naive in thinking that Academy members only look at the quality of the performance in determining whom they should vote for  and realise that how the nominee ‘presents’ themselves to the media plays a role but the Academy voters aren’t to blame for younger actresses usually being the age group that get nominated since that is generally the pool of potential nominees they have to choose from as Hollywood consistently writes, and emphasises, role for younger actresses.

     

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    Baby Clyde
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    #91637

    I agree with every word.

    Have always thought ‘the babe factor’ was a load of nonsense.   

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    ENGLAND
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    #91638

    Thank God I am not the only one who just realised that there are more roles for younger actresses which is why they tend to get the nominations.

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    Jaffas85
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    #91639

    Thank God I am not the only one who just realised that there are more roles for younger actresses which is why they tend to get the nominations.

    Ever since I first read about the “baby theory” I thought it was just completely ridiculous (as well as being disrespectful to both actresses and Oscar voters).

    The fact that there are much more substantial roles written, and cast, for actresses in their 20’s and 30’s (in films) makes it very obvious that the majority of actresses nominated each year are obviously going to be in that same age group.

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    Stardust
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    #91640

    I agree with every word as well.

    The “babe” factor is a complete load of bs.

    What the OP stated regarding the proportion of role availability within age groups – that is also why there tends to be more younger actress (teens-30s) wins than younger actor wins.. not because the Academy can’t fathom giving an award to a pretty boy lol.

    Why do you think the older female nominees and winners are nearly always vets (and not relative newcomers), and the majority being previous nominees or winners?

    What I would call a factor is the “transformative role” influence (for noms and wins)- which the majority go to.. younger females (Streep and that [tiny] ilk being the exception).

    Yet again, most of those roles are inhabited by females and not males.

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    Ethel Charles
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    #91641

    I think also that these hot starlets would appear to be on fast career trajectories, often with prestigious directors, often with gritty roles & performances versus they’re more glamorous off-screen personas, so the “package” gets lotsa press and helps propel them to the noticeability needed to get oscar buzz.

    But I think there must be something to the babe factor given the predominance of older men voting, often it seems, for their womanly ideals.

    Rarely, there seems to be a convergence of youth, beauty and extreme talent (Hilary Swank, Charlene Theron, arguably Marion Cotillard, but the movie was a barrier to appreciating the performance frankly, and arguably Natalie Portman, but it was hard to tell how much of the crazy perf seemed crazy because of all ther other insanity happening onscreen) but really, do we think the winning performances were really the best? I wonder how much these more recent oscar wins will stand the test of time compared to some truly iconic wins from the early years.

    Julia Roberts (against Ellen Burstyn?), Kate Winslet & Sandra Bullock and myabe even Streep 3rd time around won because of a decent performance but also as a force of nature, career type win.

    Others I think won because of an ok perf and because they were considered “flavor of the year” types – Helen Hunt, Gwyneth (against Fernanda Montenegro?)Halle Berry (against Sissy?), Nicole Kidman (against Julianne Moore?), Reese Witherspoon (against Felicity Huffman?) and possibly Jennifer Lawrence (against Riva or even Chastain)? Seems lately that the Academy throw a few bones to the older ladies who can’t be denied (Streep & Mirren) so they can get quickly and blessedly back to giving it to who they really want to give to – the pretty girls who can go on to beauty endorsement riches.

     

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    Henry Zambrano
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    #91642

    I don’ think the babe theory is real, but I do think it’s simply conicendtal. Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep were outliers – they were very due for a win though. I don’t think they will reward Emmanuelle Riva at the Oscars. Yes – she won the BAFTA, but she missed out on the SAG and the Globe. She’s 85 years old and her performance is in the French language. These are just factors that are not common. Emmanuelle Riva is not overdue because this is her first nomination. 

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    Guest2014
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    #91643

    in the last 30 years, the average age of a best actress Oscar winner, per Wikipedia, is 41.1 (this, from the 55th to the 85th ceremony). Not too much babe factor when it came time to pull the winner’s name out of the envelope.

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    Laactingnyc
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    #91644

    I doubt a voter will vote for a younger actress or actor who is hot just because of their looks.

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    babypook
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    #91645

    Perhaps I should start a thread ‘refuting’ the sexist, cultural bias, ageist, racist, and non-English speaking theories.

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    Logan
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    #91646

    Was just trying to figure out the average age of the Best Actress winners per decade (starting in the 1980s):

    80s: 45.4 years old
    90s: 35.8 years old
    00s: 36.1 years old

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    lalecture
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    #91647

    The youth/ beauty formula is a facinating one. I think any and all of the comments here have some bareing on the outcome for awards. Specifically the “old boys club” of the Oscars!!  And yes tI concur that most of the roles these days-good and bad-are written for young actresses.
    This year it is interesting that Riva has gained so much traction just for winning the Bafta. There is a lot of talk about the ceremony being on her birthday. About the film being perhaps seen by fewer voters by its  non-english language nature. About her lack of campaigning being seen as less desparate. And “this is her last chance at an award whereas the other youngins have years ahead of them…
    I would hate to be a frontrunner. To have to go through weeks and weeks of people suggesting that you will win. How can that not affect how you approach the ceremony mentally. That’s really gotta play mind games with ones head! 

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    BenitoDelicias
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    #91648

    I also think the theory is a load of crap. Unless I’m mistaken in the definition of what a “babe” is. 

    Since 1980, can anybody find more than five REAL babes to support this theory? Getting into the sexist side of things, I would put Berry, Theron and maaaaybe Portman and Cotillard in that list. And even then, can somebody say it was the babe factor and not the performance that won them the Oscar?

    The example I read about the most (in Tom’s book, and others) about “the babe factor”, is how Michelle Pfeiffer kept winning all those critics prizes against Jessica Tandy because the critics wanted “the babe” at their dinner/lunches and not the oldest best actress winner ever. Same with Cameron Diaz and her NYFCC prize for Mary. I can understand and agree that Michelle Pfeiffer was a babe in 1989/1990, and the story could make sense because of the way those awards are presented, but at the Oscars is a another story.

    In the end, most of these women came to the Oscars with a factor far more convincing than a “babe” theory. The career achievement Oscar, or a “finally a good performance in a good movie!” or “the story” that publicists and the media create for these women have all been more popular theories than a “babe” factor ever was in the last 30 years.

    So when you can find just two or three “babes” in more than 30 years, you know the theory is crap. I’m sure this thread is because of this year and Lawrence/Riva/Chastain, but even Lawrence has needed more than her “babeness” (and Chastain is much hotter, if we’re goint to get into that) to get to where she is on the race.

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    Jaffas85
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    #91649

    Reasons for Jennifer Lawrence winning the Best Actress Oscar, over Emmanuelle Riva, which have nothing to do with the mythological “babe theory”:

    1. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ acrued significant nominations in all four acting categories, adapted screenplay, director and picture which clearly indicates that it was an extremely popular film among Academy members that the majority of them were motivated to watch and want to support.

    2. ‘Since ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ was nominated in all four acting categories the Academy really had to vote for at least one of those four nominees to win. Weaver and Cooper had zero chance in their respective categories and De Niro had come into this years’ Academy Awards with no precursor support which would have made it extremely unlikely for him to win. Also, while the Supporting Actor category was the most wide open of all the big categories Christoph Waltz still came in with the most credible chance of winning since he won the Golden Globe and Bafta.

    3. ‘Amour’ was not exactly a ‘feel good movie’ and a lot of Academy members probably didn’t either watch it or, if they did, didn’t enjoy the stark depiction of an elderly woman’s slide into Dementia.

    4. Jennifer Lawrence was available throughout the entirety of the awards season to campaign and make herself visible to voters, whilst Riva didn’t ‘campaign’ and the most ‘positive buzz’ we heard about her was a result of her winning Bafta which was an expected win anyway as ‘Silver Linings’ has not been as successful in the U.K. whilst Bafta voters tend to be more open to voting for European nominees.

    5. Jennifer Lawrence won the SAG award whilst Riva wasn’t even nominated (an incredible important voting group as it indicated that Lawrence had strong support among fellow actors, who make up the largest voting body within the Academy).

    Jessica Chastain was the only other nominee in the ‘Best Actress’ category that had a somewhat realistic chance of winning, and since she’s 13 years older than Lawrence, I’ll just go over a few legitimate reasons why Chastain would have lost to Lawrence:

    1. ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ lost a lot of momentum due to the ridiculous ‘torture controversy’.

    2. Jessica Chastain didn’t win SAG which demonstrated that Lawrence had stronger support among actors.

    3. Oscar tends to like voting for ‘showier’ roles (which Lawrence’s role was) while Chastain’s performance was more subdued and restrained.

    4. As I mentioned earlier, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ was nominated in all four acting categories and Lawrence was the most realistic candidate for where Academy members could reward the film.

    I’ll just finish this by reiterating that the ‘babe theory’ is clearly a myth, and that the overwhelming majority of actress nominees at the Academy Awards each year tend to be in their 20’s and 30’s obviously because the overwhelming majority of roles in American films, that are written for women, are written for actresses to portay that are in their 20’s and 30’s.       

    If more movies are written with substantive roles for older actresses to play (ie: in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s) then as a trickle down result we’ll obviously then see more actresses within that age group nominated at the Academy Awards.

    To say that just because many Academy voters are older men somehow then means they don’t take their role as voters seriously when assessing the years acting work is both insulting to those Academy voters and disrespectful to the actresses.      
         
     

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    Brad B.
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    #91650

    I’m sorry but they were never gonna give Riva the Oscar.

    The argument that this was the last chance to honor her was ridiculous?  When were they clamoring to give her an Oscar before?  Unless you are a fan of International Cinema, chances are you never heard of Riva before this.

    Jennifer Lawrence deserved it.  She had to play many emotions – often times, more than one at once.  Riva had to lay there like a dead fish gasping for air.  That may sound harsh, but it’s kinda true.  It was a one note performance.  For me, the heart and soul of AMOUR was Jean-Louis Trintignant, who in my opinion gave the best Lead Acting performance of the year.  

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