In his last post, Dave asks whether Heath Ledger will benefit from Brokeback Mountain likely winning Best Picture. This got me wondering just how often the best actor and best picture from from the same film.

After doing some research, I found out that in the past 30 years the best actor and best picture winners have been matched up only 30 percent of the time. However, in the past 10 years, this match up has occurred fourty percent of the time. If we look only at the past five years, the best actor and picture have matched up 2 times. Kevin Spacey won for American Beauty in 1999 and Russell Crowe won for Gladiator in 2000. From this, we can conclude that if anything the best actor nominee has less of a chance of winning if he is connected to a winning picture.

A more interesting trend in predicting whether the best actor is in the best picture seems to be the title of the film. For the nine best actor winners, six had a reference to the best actor in the title.

The best actor winners came from the following films:

Title Includes Best Actor
Kramer vs. Kramer
Rain Man
Forrest Gump

Title Does Not Include Best Actor
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Silence of the Lambs
American Beauty

Based on the fact that he is associated with a strong contending film and is not in the film’s title, it seems that Heath Ledger’s changes of Oscar victory are poor. However, if Brokeback Mountain were to lose best picture, then he might have a chance. As it stands, I plan to hold to my prediction that Hoffman will take home the statue.