February 11, 2014

Want To Win An Oscar? Then Do A Biopic…
by James

by James Forryan

hmv London; 11/02/2014


"Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Want To Win An Oscar? Then Do A Biopic…

As part of Awards Season at hmv, each week we’ll be examining trends at the Oscars and dishing out some helpful advice to any aspiring actors and actresses hoping to take home a golden statuette in the form of some ‘do’s and don’ts’.

This week’s theme is ‘Best Actor’ (don’t worry ladies, ‘Best Actress’ is coming next week!), and after reviewing all the available evidence, our piece of advice for all the gents aiming for that Best Actor gong is this: Want to win an Oscar? Then do a biopic…


Daniel Day Lewis

Abraham Lincoln

Scooping a record-breaking third ‘Best Actor’ Oscar in 2013 for his role in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Daniel Day Lewis gives a stellar performance as the iconic former president. The film follows Abraham Lincoln’s trials as the 16th president of the United States in his final year of office, prior to his assassination at the hands of Confederate spy John Wilkes Booth in 1865. In particular, the film details Lincoln’s mission to pass a constitutional amendment that will lead to freedom for the nation’s slaves. A heroic portrayal of a heroic historic figure, Lewis is well worth Oscar number three.

The King's Speech

Colin Firth

King George V

Starring as the stammering, reluctant monarch King George V, Colin Firth took home the Best Actor award in 2011 for his leading role in The King’s Speech, battling the pressure of a surprise accession to the throne following the abdication of his elder brother Edward VII and knowing he must drastically improve his public speaking abilities if he is to rally the nation for war. We can only speculate as to whether it was the excitement or the champagne that caused the actor to leave the coveted golden statuette in a toilet. Lucky for Firth the bathroom attendant had his wits about him…he chased after the actor and handed it back, saving the Brit’s blushes.


Jamie Foxx

Ray Charles

From relatively humble beginnings as a stand-up comedian, Foxx was already beginning to make a name for himself as an actor with appearances in films such as Any Given Sunday, but in 2004 he took the Oscars by storm, not only bagging a nomination for his supporting role alongside Tom Cruise in Collateral, but also walking away with Best Actor for his stunning depiction of Ray Charles in Taylor Hackford’s Ray. Right down to the tiniest mannerisms, Foxx absolutely nails it, serving up one of the most convincing performances in a biopic ever.


Philip Seymour Hoffman

Truman Capote

Following his utterly tragic and untimely death last week, many of the tributes that poured in described Hoffman as ‘the greatest actor of his generation’, and one look at this film should be enough to tell you that this isn’t just inflated hyperbole. Hoffman’s flawless portrayal of Truman Capote in Bennett Miller’s 2005 film rightfully saw the late actor take home the Best Actor award that year, and with 3 other nominations to his name we can only wonder how many more he could have gone on to win. Sadly, we’ll never know…


Ben Kingsley

Mahatma Gandhi

It takes something fairly extraordinary for an actor to play a well-known figure of a different race and pull it off, but in 1982 Ben Kingsley did exactly that, taking home the Best Actor award for his efforts. Richard Attenborough’s films are usually lovingly assembled and Gandhi is no different, but it is Kingsley’s depiction of the Indian lawyer-turned-revolutionary that makes this film what it is and the Oscar is well deserved.


Will Smith

Muhammad Ali

Prior to the release of Michael Mann’s Ali in 2001, there probably weren’t to many places you would find Will Smith listed in the same company as actors like Ben Kingsley and Robert De Niro, that is until Smith bulked up and threw everything he’d got at his depiction of ‘The Greatest’. It paid off bigtime, with Smith taking home the Best Actor award for his role as the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. If anyone thought Will Smith only did comedy, they soon changed their minds after this.

Raging Bull

Robert De Niro

Jake LaMotta

Last but by no means least on our list is Robert De Niro, whose portrayal of another boxer, Jake LaMotta, won him a richly deserved Oscar in 1980 for his work in Martin Scorcese’s film Raging Bull. The fourth outing for the Scorcese / De Niro partnership that has also produced films such as Taxi Driver and Goodfellas, the film is a warts-and-all look at the boxer’s troubled life and career that features De Niro at his very best.