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Read This: How Mark Rylance won an Oscar without groveling for it

The fifth time was the charm for Leonardo DiCaprio in 2016, as he finally won an Oscar for Best Actor after four previous unsuccessful nominations. To get that precious statuette, DiCaprio gamely participated in the traditional Oscar campaign, hobnobbing with such important cultural gatekeepers as Barbra Streisand and Pope Francis to raise awareness of his profoundly uncomfortable role in The Revenant. Best Actress winner Brie Larson survived a similar gauntlet of Q&As, meet-and-greets, and gala luncheons on her way to Oscar glory. But another winner this year, Best Supporting Actor champ Mark Rylance, did no such thing to promote his role in Bridge Of Spies, and yet he still managed to triumph in his category over sentimental favorite Sylvester Stallone. Acclaimed as a stage actor in his native England, Rylance is not even particularly well known in America. So how did he nab the Oscar? Deadline’s Pete Hammond writes about this anomaly in a thought-provoking column about Oscar politics and declares that Rylance’s win was “about as pure as you can get.”

Hammond says that Rylance got his award the old-fashioned way: He earned it. Academy members actually saw Bridge Of Spies, liked what they saw, and voted accordingly. No Oscar campaign required. According to the article, Rylance was “almost invisible” during awards season, ducking out on the usual publicity events. There were no ads specifically promoting him either, and he appeared on exactly zero talk shows. So what was he doing all this time instead of kissing up to the media? His job. He was treading the boards in London in a production of Farinelli And The King last fall, and then he came to New York to do Nice Fish off-Broadway this winter. Hammond believes that, in so doing, Rylance has set an excellent example for other actors to follow. “In these days of Oscar being under siege from all corners,” he writes, “it is nice to see you can win just on the power of the work.”

[via Deadline]


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