Washington, Feb 20 — Leading actresses who win Oscars are almost twice as weepy as the leading actors at the Academy Awards ceremony, says a study.
Only one director has ever choked up: Steven Spielberg for “Schindler’s List” at the 1993 ceremony, says Rebecca Rolfe, Georgia Tech master’s student in Digital Media, who analysed 60 years of award-winning acceptance speeches.
However, crying is a recent trend. Seventy one percent of tears have been shed since 1995, including 12 of the last 15 best actresses, adds Rolfe, according to a Georgia Tech statement.
“Much like the movies, acceptance speeches are a type of performance,” she says. “I believe the tears are real, but perhaps, maybe even subconsciously, actresses know what is expected of them when they accept the honour. Maybe the public has come to expect an emotional speech, so actresses are more emotional than they would be otherwise.”
While every speech is unique, Rolfe noticed a certain pattern that is used by winners. “Winners tend to start their speeches broadly by thanking the Academy or fellow nominees, then gradually make it more personal,” Rolfe said.
“After reflecting on the win’s significance, they typically thank their peers, colleagues and sometimes even their lawyer before mentioning family,” Rolfe added.
Rolfe watched more than 200 speeches from 1953, the first year the awards ceremony was televised, to 2012, and has outlined the trends and patterns on an interactive website. She has also determined the anatomy of an Academy Awards speech, or at least the one that winners tend to give.
Rolfe focused on five categories: actor/actress in a leading role, actor/actress in a supporting role and best director. Rolfe was able to watch 207 of the 300 speeches since 1953.
Among the other findings: you might see a man hoist Oscar into the air with one hand (26 percent), while nearly 60 percent of winning actresses cradle the statue with both hands, like a baby.
Almost half of winners thank their family. Only five percent (11 total mentions) thank God, who loses out to Hollywood power player Harvey Weinstein. The co-founder of Miramax has been thanked the most times (12) in Oscar history.
Speeches have become considerably longer over the years. In the 1960s, a typical speech was about 40 seconds long. Now it averages nearly two minutes, although the orchestra has only cut off nine winners in these prestigious categories.
The research project was funded by the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship Programme, which is overseen by the Online News Association.