There is growing Oscar buzz for The Disaster Artist (now in theatres). James Franco stars as Timmy Wiseau, a real-life Hollywood character, who wrote and directed what has been called one of the best worst movies ever made, The Room. But Franco will likely have stiff competition from, among others, Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Chadwick Boseman, (Marshall), Steve Carell, (Battle of the Sexes), Andrew Garfield, (Breathe), Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger), and Hugh Jackman, (The Greatest Showman). Each is portraying an actual person.
Actors love bio-pics. Can you blame them? Movies based on real life events offer great stories and great parts. Know what else? They often pay off in Oscars! Between 2010 and 2016, five Academy Awards went to actors who portrayed characters based on real people. Between 2000 and 2011, eight Academy Awards went to actresses whose characters were inspired by an actual person.
Here’s just a sampling of movies in the Box that prove truth may not be stranger than fiction, but it can be more entertaining and inspiring.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep can sing, but Florence Foster Jenkins, an heiress, could not. At all! But thanks to Jenkins’s devoted husband (Oscar-nominee Hugh Grant) and her conspiring pianist, she became a sensation of 1940s New York.
Michael Keaton gives a whopper (oops, wrong franchise) of a performance as Ray Kroc, who built the McDonald’s fast-food dynasty at the expense of the brothers who founded the company. This one is really well done (you saw that joke coming, didn’t you?)
Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield stars as Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss, who enlisted during World War II as a combat medic, but refused to carry a gun because of his religious beliefs.
Love and Mercy
God only knows how Paul Dano was not nominated for his brilliant performance as Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, whose life was anything but good vibrations.
Jake Gyllenhaal gives one of his best performances as Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, but was able to identify the terrorist. He struggles to cope with his recovery and his newfound fame as a hero.