Best actor and best actress


Sir, – Louis Hogan points out that the last two Oscar best actor winners were playing real people, and as such the performances were “impersonations rather than interpretations” (Letters, February 28th).

I agree, and am surprised that more isn’t made of the distinction. This year, as in 2014 and 2015, all but one of the five nominated as best actor were playing real people. Seven of the last 10 best actor awards have been won through portrayal of non-fictional characters. This, of course, gives a definitive “gold standard” by which the performance can be measured, and it may even possible for the actor in preparation to meet with, or spend time with, the “character” – as, say, Eddie Redmayne did with Stephen Hawking. Those playing entirely fictional characters clearly cannot prepare, or be appraised, in this way, nor can they bear “uncanny” resemblances. Yet they arguably have to do more creative preparation in imagining the character from a written page. And it is of course possible that someone might play themselves in a major film, thereby giving a portrayal that would be difficult to beat.

The gender division is perhaps also an issue with some specific roles. Eddie Redmayne was nominated for playing a transgender character in The Danish Girl, and Cate Blanchett won a best supporting actress Oscar playing Bob Dylan. It is presumably only a matter of time until someone is nominated of non-binary gender identity or with a physiologically intersex state. This will create a difficulty in regards to what category to nominate them – adtress or actor – analogous to developments in athletics.

It might ultimately be fairer to award separate Oscars for the best acting portrayal of a fictional and of a non-fictional character, rather than along male/female divisions. If members of the academy want to discuss this idea further, I will try to make myself available. – Yours, etc,


Kinsale, Co Cork.

Sir, – In about 1952 our school play was entered in the Cavan Drama Festival, and I played Queen Anne.

Shortly before we were due to go on, our producer Nancy Carroll arrived from Dublin in an agitated state.

She had just discovered that Queen Anne had red hair. I had black hair. She produced a bag of red powder, and I appeared on stage as a redhead.

The makers of The Favourite do not seem to have been bothered by this problem! – Yours, etc,


Greystones, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Could I gently suggest that a new film classification rating be introduced? A big colourful “V” sign to let us know that there is vomiting in the film.

I went to see The Favourite. A great film, but I am afraid I lost count of the amount of times one of the characters threw up. I would love to see the film – but minus the “you know what”. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 13.