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Does "Playing Ugly" Win Women Oscars?

Is It True That "Playing Ugly" Wins Women Oscars?

We're excited to present this article from Allure!

They say the secret to winning an Oscar is "playing ugly:" bad skin, a prosthetic nose, a little extra weight (or a grotesque weight loss), and you're a shoo-in. (Remember all the talk surrounding Charlize Theron in Monster and Nicole Kidman in The Hours?) Based on this criteria, the obvious Oscar winner this year is... everybody!

The Academy Award nominations were announced this week, and if there's one theme that unites the movies and their leading ladies, it's a lack of glamour (with the possible exception of Barbie in Toy Story 3). For Blue Valentine, Michelle Williams gained weight and spent the entire film makeup-free. Melissa Leo wore her character's age—and hard life—with conviction in The Fighter. In True Grit, Hailee Steinfeld was covered in dirt (natch). Other makeunders: Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in The Kids are All Right, and the women of The Social Network, who are extremely convincing as makeup-free college students. Even Black Swan, which used makeup to underscore its darkest themes, can't exactly be described as beautiful. The pale skin, heavy black makeup, and red eyeliner is sinister, not ethereal. And star Natalie Portman, having lost 20 pounds for the role, looks emaciated to the point of being just moments away from collapse.

What do you think—is it easier to consider a woman's role important and Oscar-worthy if she's done something to temper her beauty?


More stories from Allure:
So what if Obama colors his hair?
Halle Berry reveals her favorite things

Source: The Weinstein Company

Join The Conversation
Burkina Burkina 6 years
You ladies pretty much summed it up.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
I absolutely agree with you*
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
I think it's an absolutely agree with you, socialitedreams. Denzel Washington won for playing a scumbag in Training Day when he should have won for playing Malcom X (I cringe every time I think about him winning for Training Day and not Malcom X). I also think that Don Cheadle should have won for his role in Hotel Rwanda rather than Jamie Foxx for Ray. I seriously think the Academy won't allow an Oscar win for any black male who plays a positive political role. I hate awards shows.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 6 years
Interesting. Halle's character in Monster's Ball was a mess, right? I didn't see the movie (though I heard she really was excellent) but if I recall, she played down her looks a lot, too. I am trying to think of the last time a woman won for a happy, light role. It seems like black men get slightly (slightly) better odds than black women when it comes to picking up Oscars through more positive characters -- Jamie Foxx and Sidney Poitier didn't have to play bad guys. Denzel got an Oscar for Glory, too, right? Or was he just nominated?
socialitedreams socialitedreams 6 years
as a white woman you have to play ugly, as a black woman you have to be a whore or lead a depressingly tragic life (like Mo'nique) or be a fat mammy, and for black guys you have to be a bad guy (like denzel has had plenty of great roles and only won for being a thugged out cop). definitely a trend for all of it
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