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Baby steps on the red carpet #3: Acting without acting

As we move deeper into the awards season, very good performances are hitting our screens for academy voter. Why are these names nominated for Best Actor? Probably because they are not just acting, they are trying to get inside the heads of their –sometimes unlikeable- characters. Cate Blanchett contemplates what it feels like to slowly lose one’s mind in Blue Jasmine and Leonardo DiCaprio had to keep up the overall adrenaline and insane hedonism in the Wolf of Wall Street.

There are number of techniques and actors spend years, even lifetimes perfecting their craft. One of these techniques is known as Eric Morris style. In his book ‘No Acting Please!’ he allows the actor to fulfill every aspect of the material from an organic, real place. For example, if you have a headache, then don’t act like you don’t have it, but act like also your character has an unbearable headache and reflect it to your all movements. In other words, the reality of the character matters and actor has to realize the needs of the character.

This kind of understanding requires both mental and physical transformation,  as a result academy voters appreciate it and reward with the Oscar. Here’s a selection of successful transformations:

Marion Cotillard:


The physical transformation into Piaf took 5 hours in a make up chair, an hour each night removing all the latex and glue and even more irritating? her voice. ‘my voice was the more the voice of the character than mine’ she says. More than the physical transformation, Cotillard had to understand why Piaf is someone tyrannical and very extreme. Apparently she succeeded and playing ‘La Môme Piaf’ won Cotillard her Oscar.

Charlize Theron: 


Her transformation into serial killer brought her the best actress Oscar for 2003’s “Monster.” Gained weight, wore makeup for imperfect skin and used a set of crooked, yellowed teeth. She was no longer World’s Most Desirable Women in the world, but paid off with the Academy Award.

Christian Bale:

Christian Bale American Psycho The Machinist

Without a doubt Christian Bale is deserving of his spot here. Even though he didn’t win the Best Actor, he is a very good example of dedication and sacrifice for a character considering he lost 63 pounds by a diet of tuna, apple and coffee a day.


Image source:

Elvin Levinler

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