marlon brando

5 Times the Oscars Made History

The Oscars are the most important and coveted awards in cinematic history and eagerly watched by millions all over the world. But as you wait for this year’s nominees to be announced and wonder if your favorite actors have made the cut, we bring you a list of five pivotal moments when the Academy Awards indeed made history — by honouring those marginalized or neglected, alerting the audience to social inequality and recognizing genuine talent that had been shunned erstwhile.

1.  When Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Best Director Award at the Oscars in 2010.  


Despite it being the 21st century, gender inequality is still rampant in Hollywood, especially when it comes to women filmmakers. Which is why Kathryn Bigelow literally made history by being the first-ever woman to win the much-coveted Best Director Award for her low-budget war thriller “The Hurt Locker,” about a bomb disposal team — winning over her former husband and industry favorite James Cameron’s 3D extravaganza “Avatar.”  She dedicated her win to the servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan and added, “May they come home safe.”

2. When Marlon Brando refused the Best Actor Award at the Oscars in 1973. 

Marlon Brando created a huge controversy when he refused the Award for the Best Actor for his role as Vito Corleone in the mafia film “The Godfather.” Not only did he boycott the ceremony, he sent actress Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. She waved away the Oscar and read out a letter saying that Brando  “very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry –” Given the way America has maltreated and ostracized and even culturally appropriated the Native American community, Brando’s refusal was a powerful and ground-breaking move to raise awareness.

3. When Charlie Chaplin Received His 12 Minute Standing Ovation at the Oscars in 1972.


Chaplin is a worldwide icon and a pioneer in the field of silent comedy, but after he was labelled a communist he was not allowed to return to the United States for 20 years. Thus his Honorary Oscar Win was important not only because Hollywood finally realized his great contribution to the industry, but also because his presence at the award ceremony marked his first return to the United States. He received a 12-minute standing ovation from the audience, which is still the longest standing ovation in Oscar history.

4. When Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to win the Best Actress Award at the Oscars in 2002.

Halle Berry created history by becoming the first black woman to win the prestigious Best Actress Award for her role in “Monster’s Ball.”  She was so full of tears that she was unable to speak for a minute and when she finally did, she acknowledged the importance of the moment and said, “This moment is for all the nameless, faceless women of color who now have a chance because this door tonight has been opened.” The night was made even more special when fellow African-American actor Denzel Washington also took home the Best Actor Award for the film “Training Day.”

5. When Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the Oscars in 2015.


When Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in the Richard Linklater film “Boyhood,” she used the opportunity to champion women’s rights across the country. In her acceptance speech, she said, To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

So which are your favorite Oscar history-making moments from the list? Did we miss anything? And what are your expectations for this year’s Academy Awards? Let us know in the comments below!


Method To The Madness: 3 Actors That Took Method Acting To The Next Level

Method acting is a much-revered practice that has received its fair share of attention for producing naturalistic, award-winning acting performances. Not coincidentally, some of the greatest actors of the last century have been ruthlessly committed method actors. In some cases, they are a pain to work with, in other cases their erratic behavior becomes downright unsafe, but one thing is for sure; their performances are something to behold. Check out this list of five actors who took method acting to the next level.

Marlon Brando

1. Marlon Brando

“Simply put, in film acting, there is before Brando, and there is after Brando. And they are like different worlds.” – The New York Times

Widely regarded as the greatest film actor of all-time, Brando studied acting under Stella Adler and Elia Kazan in New York City. During his Broadway debut in 1946, Brando played a psychopathic murderer in the play Truckline Café. For his climactic scene, he needed to appear as if he had just emerged from an icy lake, so every night, before he went on stage for that scene, Brando would run up and down the stairs until he was out of breath and then he’d have a stagehand dump a bucket of ice water on his head. Audiences were thrilled by his performance. Of the young Brando, Kazan said, “It’s like he’s carrying his own spotlight.” From there, Marlon Brando went on to perfect his craft, ultimately winning two Best Actor Oscars for On the Waterfront and The Godfather.

Dustin Hoffman

2. Dustin Hoffman

Think it’s hard to follow Marlon Brando on this list? Then you aren’t two-time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman (Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man) whose devotion to The Method made him a star. Hoffman studied at the Actor’s Studio in New York during the early 1960’s and made his breakout in the 1967 film The Graduate. But, it’s Hoffman’s performance opposite Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man that illustrates his madness for method acting. As legend has it, Olivier (a classically trained stage actor) and Hoffman had the following exchange during the shoot.

“How did your week go, dear boy,” Olivier said.

Hoffman told him that he had filmed a scene in which his character was supposed to have been up for three days straight.

“So what did you do?” Olivier asked.

“Well, I stayed up for three days and three nights.”

Laurence Olivier then uttered this famous line, “Why don’t you just try acting?”

The exchange is oft-quoted to show the difference in thinking between classical actors and modern film actors. In essence, Hoffman’s method became acting legend.

Robert De Niro in The Last Tycoon

3. Robert De Niro

Actors who manipulate their body for roles have always been regarded as the most committed and daring. Think Christian Bale who slashed dozens of pounds for The Fighter and gained nearly 100 lbs. for his role as Batman in Batman Begins. Where did this trend come from and why is it all the rage with awards nominators? The answer is Bob De Niro, who got shredded to play the role of young boxer Jake La Motta, only to gain 60 lbs. to portray La Motta later in life. Not surprisingly, De Niro is an alumnus of Stella Adler’s Conservatory and the Actor’s Studio, where he learned to commit himself fully to his roles.

While shooting Raging Bull, De Niro filmed all his boxing and flashback scenes at a weight of 145 lbs. Then, production was shut down for four months while De Niro ate his way through Italy and France, gaining over 60 lbs. in the process. When he returned to the States, production commenced and the remaining scenes were shot at a rapid pace because the extra weight was taking a toll on De Niro’s health.

Still interested in amazingly mad method actors? Try researching Charlize Theron’s transformation for her role in Monster and Daniel Day-Lewis’ unrelenting devotion to his role in My Left Foot. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this list; they are all Academy Award winners. There must be a method to the madness.

Whether you consider The Method madness or genius, there’s no denying it gets results!

Learn more about the School of Acting at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.