Branded Actors

The 83rd Academy Awards reward the best of the best in cinema. Actors and actresses are rewarded for their great work throughout the year, and just to be nominated is an honor. The best of the profession are able to make all of us believe that the character they are playing is real. Colin Firth won the Best Actor Award for his role in “The King’s Speech” and it was unlike any performance he has delivered. But what about the actors and actresses that play the same character in almost all of their movies. In the profession this is referred to type-casting: an actor who gets scripted to play the same funny guy, action hero, or typical house wife for all of their movies.

In IMC we refer to branding often. There are name brand companies, products, and now actors and actresses. By being type-casted to certain roles actors are branding themselves for a certain role each film. Many actors make a living off of their brand, and I’m sure the money they acquire makes them happy to sell their brand. Tom Cruise is known for his action movies, and some would say that he plays the same role every time. This seems like criticism he can’t shake. In “Tropic Thunder” he played an arrogant studio executive in a movie that was making fun of war movie production. He was able to embrace the criticism of being type-casted, and make fun of himself. While he didn’t win an Oscar his character was extremely funny.

So do the Academy Awards reward the actors who are able to break away from their brand and try a new role? I think all actors and actresses have a personal brand they are trying to fulfill, but when they step out of that shadow and give a great performance they should be rewarded. Adam Sandler might have not won an Academy Award for his role in “Spanglish” but it was great to see him not portray a type casted comedy role. Most find it very safe and reassuring to stick to their brand and continue to play that character, but I applaud those who embrace the challenge. Now that the 83rd Academy Awards are over we can all look forward to a great year in film. Let’s all wish that more actors will step away from their personal brand in hopes of Oscar recognition.

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