At the end of the day, voting for a Best Actor performance is a vote for the character, as in “I’d like to know that guy or at least have a drink with him” or “I may not like this guy, but I understand why he acted as he did and I respect him for that.” What Best Actor Oscar winner has played a character who didn’t impress viewers in one of these two ways?
A Best Actress vote comes from a similar but somewhat different place. People vote for this or that female character, yes, but mainly they vote for her inner strength, moxie, emotional givingness, fortitude. They vote, in short, for female characters whom they’d like to have as their mothers or loyal best friends. But it’s not necessarily about having a drink. I would have loved to sip a Jack Daniel’s with Erin Brockovich or or Judy Holliday‘s character in Born Yesterday, but I’m not so sure I’d want to raise a glass with Scarlett O’Hara or Mrs. Miniver.