Want to Win an Oscar? Be an American Actor in a Film Portraying American Culture, Study Says

Feb 07, 2017 10:50 AM EST

A new study from the University of Queensland revealed that American actors in a film portraying American culture are most likely to win an Oscar.

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, showed that U.S. actors have won more than 50 percent of all prizes across the Los Angeles-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars) and the London-based British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs) since 1968.

"These results show that whether we see a given performance as extraordinary is not just a function of the objective quality of that performance," said Dr. Niklas K. Steffens, from The University of Queensland's School of Psychology, in a press release. "Perceivers are much more likely to recognize a performance as truly brilliant when perceivers and performers share membership in a social group."

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The researchers conducted the study by analyzing the distribution of the best actors and actress awards given by the Oscars and BAFTAs. The analysis included 908 merit winners from both the Oscars and BAFTAs -- 383 (unsuccessful) nominees and 97 winners, and 331 (unsuccessful) nominees for the BAFTAs, respectively.

Results showed that most of the award recipients were American, with 69 percent from the Oscars and 52 percent from the BAFTAs. This is a big difference compared to British actors' percentage of winning at 34 percent from the BAFTAs and a mere 18 percent from the Oscars. With regard to nominations, American actors also had the upper hand at 67 percent of Oscar nominations.<

The researchers also notes that American actors who play in a film portraying American culture have higher chances of winning an award. In fact, the research shows that 88 percent of Oscar winners who are American got their award while starring in an American culture film, while on 26 percent received their awards in a non-U.S. culture film.

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