8 Lessons You Can Learn from Oscar Winners for Best Actor

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Often times we watch actors who have made it to the big screen and forget that they started somewhere. We forget that they are human and that even though talented, they do things to help them perform. It is not just something magical that happens that allows them to put on a performance that gets them nominated for an Oscar, Academy Award, or Emmy. Once in a while you will come across interviews with an Oscar winners Best Actor, or other award winning actors. They will let you in on some tips, tricks, and experiences that you can use to get yourself in acting mode. But you can also get your career in perspective as well.

Sometimes it can be insight into how certain projects helped them expand their skills. Other times they will reflect on how they wished they knew some of the things they know now when they were starting out. This article will present some of those tidbits of information for you.

oscar winners best actor

8 Oscar Winners Best Actor with Winning Tips for Actors

1. Find Where Your Creativity Resides

In January 2014, the premiere of Looking occurred. You can find a candid interview with actor Jonathan Groff as he speaks with the magazine that helped launch his career. Jonathan is not among the Oscar winners Best Actor. Yet, he has been nominated and has won several awards.

  • During the interview, he reveals that everyone finds their strength and creativity through different places within themselves.
  • Some may perform best when reaching into some tortured state. Meanwhile, others can get that same level of creativity from joy. He personally finds his through his happiness.
  • Thus, when he feels like a child playing pretend. He is able to really get into the mode. With his HBO show and working with Disney on Frozen, he has had a lot of opportunity to be in that zone.

2. Do Not Be Afraid to Fail

Lupita Nyong’o has definitely made a name for herself through her incredible acting skills. Lupita has not become among the Oscar winners Best Actor. But she did win an Oscar for best supporting actress for her work in the film, 12 Years a Slave. And her list of other awards and nominations is extremely impressive.

  • She has revealed in interviews that actors are experts at restarting and starting over. This is because every time you are given a role, it is new and there is a level of ignorance that comes with it.
  • You need to approach each new part with curiosity and humility to be able to portray it to your best ability.

She reflects on working with Steve McQueen during the film that got her the Oscar. She said that he gave her the environment where it was okay to fail. He would tell her to:

Fail and then fail better.

This was to shoe her that getting the scene and character truthful meant more than just getting it right.

3. Believe in Yourself

James Wolk is known for his performance in the hit series Mad Men. He recalls that when he was going to school at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater, and Dance. There, his instructor had a straightforward approach to telling the students that the business was going to be a difficult one to pursue.

  • Wolk says that he owes a lot of his success to having a sort of blind ignorance. This helped him to keep pushing forward.
  • So, his belief in his convictions and that he was in the business he was meant to be in, really helped him maintain a fervor that made him believe it would happen for him.

And we can see that in the successes of his career. Maybe he is not in line with Oscar winners Best Actor. But with his extensive television career- he did something right.

James Franco

4. It Is Not All about Only You

James Franco has not won an Oscar winners Best Actor award. But he has been nominated for an Oscar for his work in 127 Hours. He has also won over 30 awards and been nominated for over 90. There is no doubt there is talent in this actor. He has also graced the stages of Broadway, so he knows about theater as well.

  • Franco told an interviewer during a session that it is important to remember the vision of a character is not yours alone. It is a highly collaborated effort that involves the director.
  • Thus, it is incredibly important to listen to your director, take what he says to heart, and work closely with them. This is because:

I view it as the director’s creation as much as mine.

  • Whether you are on stage or behind a camera, there are other people involved. Yes, you are responsible for bringing a character to life. But a director seeing it from the outside can help guide the character and their traits appropriately.

5. Produce Your Own Work

Kevin Spacey has won an Oscar winners Best Actor award twice. Those are just two awards among his plethora.

  • Spacey encourages actors to self produce their material.
  • The avenues of acting have opened up with the new streaming media platform and you should take advantage of it.

He has been known to help pioneer new and innovative production techniques. These can be seen by his involvement in House of Cards. The series itself has been influential in legitimizing a Web series as a real type of acting venue.

  • There is no reason not to explore all facets of exposure in the industry. You never know what it can lead to or what opportunities you may get.

6. Give Yourself Some Credit

Michael Emerson was not nominated for an Oscar winners Best Actor award. But he was nominated for a Golden Globe and Emmy’s are no stranger to him.

  • He takes time out during an interview to let actors know they should throw away their desperation. At some point every actor will feel small. Yes, they might feel even desperate like a child looking for that crumb thrown their way from the big table.
  • You need to, at some point, give your skill and ability credit. Realize:

You know what, I’m good at this.

  • Have some self confidence in your ability. It will shine through in your acting. Then, it will give you a push to stop being helpless.

7. Expand Your Character Story

Marion Cotillard is not an Oscar winning Best Actor recipient. Yet, she has won two Oscars for Best performance by an actress in a leading role.

  • She encourages actors and actresses to take the time to delve into and even create a back story for their character.
  • Be inventive and write about their life before the films timeline.
  • She explains how she built a structure of stories that she could later use to reflect upon. These stories she created would allow her to reach extreme emotions of the character during filming.
  • Take the time to put in the work for your character. Do not find them for face value or that is all you will be able to show when you perform. Bond with them as a real person and in a way become them.

emily blunt

8. Suck It Up

Emily Blunt is a Golden Globe nominated actress. She has been recognized for her role in the big screen adaptation of Into the Woods.

  • Her advice to young actors was very simple, develop a thick skin. The business can be rough on you. It is an art and like any other art endeavors you will have critics. You will have haters. You will be criticized. So, you really have to:

Get the thickest skin possible. Like a rhino hide.

  • You cannot always take things so personally. Especially now with social media, there is a platform for everyone to express true thoughts or just criticize because they like to tear others down. You have to realize there are those out there that want to do just that. Therefore, take what they say with a grain of sand.
  • Listen to the constructive criticism to help make you better. But weed out the people who only say things to be hurtful. Regardless, a thick skin will come in handy.

Final Thoughts

Everyone starts somewhere even if you are an Oscar winners Best Actor. No matter how seasoned you become, there will be highs and lows to deal with. There will be wins and losses. Your success will revolve around your passion, humility, and your ability to remain in the game. Draw your creativity from sources that work for you. Then, find your own niche in the industry. These were some tips from actors and actresses who are very successful and you can see they face all of the same dilemmas. Take a few pieces of advice from them and remind yourself that you can get there too.

What things do you do to help keep you focused? How do you maintain your creativity? Please leave any helpful tips for other actors finding their way.

The images are from depositphotos.com.