None of the distributors want to police or restrict category fraud (i.e., running Carol‘s Rooney Mara as a Best Supporting Actress contender) because they all want to keep the option open because sometimes you can get away with it and, you know, win
But if they did want to correct things, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg has offered a suggestion that makes basic sense. Feinberg proposed a uniform 50% rule — “If you’re onscreen for 50 percent or more of a film’s running time, you’re a lead, and if you’re onscreen for less than 50 percent, you’re supporting,” as he puts it. Feinberg adds that in the matter of the Oscars these designations would be open to appeal to the three representatives of the acting branch serving on the Board of Governors.”
But of course with the 50% rule Anthony Hopkins could have never won Best Actor for his performance as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (’91) because he was only on-screen for 16 minutes. So nothing’s going to change. Our brand is fraud or at least occasional fraud…and we like it that way.