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An actor is a person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

 who acts
Acting
Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play....

 in a drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

tic production and who works in film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, or radio
Radio programming
Radio programming is the Broadcast programming of a Radio format or content that is organized for Commercial broadcasting and Public broadcasting radio stations....

 in that capacity. The ancient Greek
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 word for an "actor," (hypokrites), means literally "one who interprets"; in this sense, an actor is one who interprets a dramatic character
Character (arts)
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

.

Terminology


After 1660, when women first appeared on stage, actor and actress were initially used interchangeably for female performers, but later, influenced by the French actrice, actress became the usual term. The etymology is a simple derivation from actor with ess added. The word actor refers to a person who acts regardless of gender, and "is increasingly preferred", while actress refers specifically to a female person who acts. Actress "remains in general use", although in a survey of a "wide cross-section of current British English", compiled in 2010, actor was almost twice as commonly found as actress. Within the profession, however, the re-adoption of the neutral term dates to the 1950s–60s, the post-war
Post-war
A post-war period or postwar period is the interval immediately following the ending of a war and enduring as long as war does not resume. A post-war period can become an interwar period or interbellum when a war between the same parties resumes at a later date...

 period when women's contribution to cultural life in general was being re-evaluated. Actress remains the common term used in major acting
Acting
Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play....

 awards given to female recipients.

The gender-neutral term "player" was common in film in the early days of the Motion Picture Production Code with regards to the cinema of the United States
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

, but is now generally deemed archaic
Archaism
In language, an archaism is the use of a form of speech or writing that is no longer current. This can either be done deliberately or as part of a specific jargon or formula...

. However, it remains in use in the theatre, often incorporated into the name of a theatre group or company (such as the East West Players
East West Players
East West Players is an Asian American theatre organization in Los Angeles, founded in 1965. As one of the nation's first Asian American theatre organizations, East West Players today continues to produce works and educational programs that give voice to the Asian Pacific American...

).

History



The first recorded case of an actor performing took place in 534 BC (though the changes in calendar over the years make it hard to determine exactly) when the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 performer Thespis
Thespis
Thespis of Icaria , according to certain Ancient Greek sources and especially Aristotle, was the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play...

 stepped on to the stage at the Theatre Dionysus and became the first known person to speak words as a character in a play or story. Prior to Thespis' act, stories were only known to be told in song
Song
In music, a song is a composition for voice or voices, performed by singing.A song may be accompanied by musical instruments, or it may be unaccompanied, as in the case of a cappella songs...

 and dance and in third person narrative. In honour of Thespis, actors are commonly called Thespians. Theatrical legend to this day maintains that Thespis exists as a mischievous spirit, and disasters in the theatre are sometimes blamed on his ghost
Ghost
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to...

ly intervention.

Actors were traditionally not people of high status, and in the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

 travelling acting troupes were often viewed with distrust. In many parts of Europe, actors could not even receive a Christian burial, and traditional beliefs of the region and time period held that this left any actor forever condemned. However, this negative perception was largely reversed in the 19th and 20th centuries as acting has become an honoured and popular profession and art.

Method acting



Method acting is a technique developed from the acting 'system' created in the early 20th century by Konstantin Stanislavski
Konstantin Stanislavski
Constantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski , was a Russian actor and theatre director. Building on the directorially-unified aesthetic and ensemble playing of the Meiningen company and the naturalistic staging of Antoine and the independent theatre movement, Stanislavski organized his realistic...

 in his work at the Moscow Art Theatre
Moscow Art Theatre
The Moscow Art Theatre is a theatre company in Moscow that the seminal Russian theatre practitioner Constantin Stanislavski, together with the playwright and director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, founded in 1898. It was conceived as a venue for naturalistic theatre, in contrast to the melodramas...

 and its studios. The Group Theatre first popularised the Method in the 1930s; it was subsequently advanced and developed in new directions by Stella Adler
Stella Adler
Stella Adler was an American actress and an acclaimed acting teacher, who founded the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City and the The Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Los Angeles with long-time protege Joanne Linville, who continues to teach and furthers Adler's legacy...

, Sanford Meisner
Sanford Meisner
Sanford Meisner , also known as Sandy, was an American actor and acting teacher who developed a form of Method acting that is now known as the Meisner technique....

, Uta Hagen
Uta Hagen
Uta Thyra Hagen was a German-born American actress and drama teacher. She originated the role of Martha in the 1963 Broadway premiere of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee...

, Lee Strasberg
Lee Strasberg
Lee Strasberg was an American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective"...

 (at the Actors Studio
Actors Studio
The Actors Studio is a membership organization for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights at 432 West 44th Street in the Clinton neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It was founded October 5, 1947, by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, Robert Lewis and Anna Sokolow who provided...

 in the 1940s and 50s), and others.
In Stanislavski's system', the actor analyzes the character in order to play him or her with psychological realism and emotional authenticity. Using the Method, an actor may recall emotions or reactions from his or her own life and use them to identify with the character being portrayed.

Method actors are often characterized as immersing themselves so totally in their characters that they continue to portray them even off-stage or off-camera for the duration of the project. However, this is a popular misconception. While some actors do employ this approach, it is generally not taught as part of the Method. Stella Adler, who was a member of the Group Theatre, along with Strasberg, emphasised a different approach of using creative imagination.

Method acting offers a system
System
System is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole....

atic form of actor training in which the actor's sensory, psychological, and emotional abilities are developed; it revolutionized theatre in the United States
Theater in the United States
Theater of the United States is based in the Western tradition. Regional or resident theatres in the United States are professional theatre companies outside of New York City that produce their own seasons.- Early history:...

.

Presentational and representational acting



Presentational acting refers to a relationship between actor and audience, whether by direct address or indirectly by specific use of language, looks, gestures or other signs
Semiotics
Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

 indicating that the character or actor is aware of the audience's presence. (Shakespeare's use of pun
Pun
The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use and abuse of homophonic,...

ning and wordplay
Word play
Word play or wordplay is a literary technique in which the words that are used become the main subject of the work, primarily for the purpose of intended effect or amusement...

, for example, often has this function of indirect contact.)

In representational acting, "actors want to make us 'believe' they are the character; they pretend." The illusion of the fourth wall with the audience as voyeurs is striven for.

As opposite gender


In the past, only men could become actors in some societies. In the ancient Greece and Rome and the medieval world
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, it was considered disgraceful for a woman to go on the stage, and this belief persisted until the 17th century, when in Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 it was broken. In the time of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, women's roles were generally played by men or boys.

When an eighteen year Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

 prohibition of drama was lifted after the English Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 of 1660, women began to appear on stage in England. Margaret Hughes
Margaret Hughes
Margaret Hughes , also Peg Hughes or Margaret Hewes, is often credited as the first professional actress on the English stage...

 is credited by some as the first professional actress on the English stage. This prohibition ended during the reign of Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in part due to the fact that he enjoyed watching actresses on stage. The first occurrence of the term actress was in 1700 according to the OED and is ascribed to Dryden
John Dryden
John Dryden was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden.Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet...

.

In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, men (onnagata) took over the female roles in kabuki
Kabuki
is classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing , dance , and skill...

 theatre when women were banned from performing on stage during the Edo period
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

. This convention has continued to the present. However, some forms of Chinese
Culture of China
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

 drama have women playing all the roles.

In modern times, women sometimes play the roles of prepubescent boys. The stage role of Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, for example, is traditionally played by a woman, as are most principal boy
Principal boy
In pantomime, a principal boy role is the young male protagonist of the play, traditionally played by a young actress in boy's clothes.The tradition grew out of laws restricting the use of child actors in London theatre, and the responsibility carried by such lead roles...

s in British pantomime
Pantomime
Pantomime — not to be confused with a mime artist, a theatrical performer of mime—is a musical-comedy theatrical production traditionally found in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, India, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta, and is mostly performed during the...

. Opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 has several "breeches role
Breeches role
A breeches role is a role in which an actress appears in male clothing .In opera it also refers to any male character that is sung and acted by a female singer...

s" traditionally sung by women, usually mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

s. Examples are Hansel in Hänsel und Gretel, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata , K. 492, is an opera buffa composed in 1786 in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro .Although the play by...

and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière’s comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac...

.

Women in male roles are uncommon in film with the notable exceptions of the films The Year of Living Dangerously
The Year of Living Dangerously
The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 Peter Weir film adapted from the novel The Year of Living Dangerously by the author Christopher Koch. The story is about a love affair set in Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno...

and I'm Not There
I'm Not There
I'm Not There is a 2007 biographical musical film directed by Todd Haynes, inspired by iconic American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Six actors depict different facets of Dylan's life and public persona: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, and Ben Whishaw...

. In the former film Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt is an American film, stage and television actress. After making her film debut playing Mrs. Oxheart in Popeye , Hunt portrayed Billy Kwan, her breakthrough performance in The Year of Living Dangerously...

 played the pivotal role of Billy Kwan, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

. In the latter film Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
Catherine Élise "Cate" Blanchett is an Australian actress. She came to international attention for her role as Elizabeth I of England in the 1998 biopic film Elizabeth, for which she won British Academy of Film and Television Arts and Golden Globe Awards, and earned her first Academy Award...

 portrayed Jude Quinn, a representation of Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 in the sixties, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

. Women playing men in live theatre is particularly common in presentations of older plays, such as those of Shakespeare, that have large numbers of male characters in roles where the gender no longer matters in modern times.

Having an actor dress as the opposite sex for comic effect is also a long-standing tradition in comic theatre and film. Most of Shakespeare's comedies include instances of overt cross-dressing
Cross-dressing
Cross-dressing is the wearing of clothing and other accoutrement commonly associated with a gender within a particular society that is seen as different than the one usually presented by the dresser...

, such as Francis Flute
Francis Flute
Francis Flute is a character in the play A Midsummer Night's Dream. His occupation is a bellows-mender. He is forced to play the female role of Thisbe in "Pyramus and Thisbe", a play within the play which is performed for Theseus' marriage celebration....

 in A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that was written by William Shakespeare. It is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta...

. The movie A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart....

stars Jack Gilford
Jack Gilford
Jack Gilford was an American actor on Broadway, films and television.-Early life:Gilford was born Jacob Aaron Gellman on the lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, and grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn...

 dressing as a young bride. Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis was an American film actor whose career spanned six decades, but had his greatest popularity during the 1950s and early 1960s. He acted in over 100 films in roles covering a wide range of genres, from light comedy to serious drama...

 and Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon
John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III was an American actor and musician. He starred in more than 60 films including Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Mister Roberts , Days of Wine and Roses, The Great Race, Irma la Douce, The Odd Couple, Save the Tiger John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III (February 8, 1925June...

 famously posed as women to escape gangsters in the Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder was an Austro-Hungarian born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age...

 film Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot is an American comedy film, made in 1958 and released in 1959, which was directed by Billy Wilder and starred Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and George Raft. The supporting cast includes Joe E. Brown, Pat O'Brien and Nehemiah Persoff. The film is a remake by Wilder and I....

. Cross-dressing for comic effect was a frequently used device in most of the thirty Carry On films
Carry On films
The Carry On films are a series of low-budget British comedy films, directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rogers. They are an energetic mix of parody, farce, slapstick and double entendres....

. Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Lee Hoffman is an American actor with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters....

 and Robin Williams
Robin Williams
Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance...

 have each appeared in a hit comedy film (Tootsie
Tootsie
Tootsie is a 1982 American comedy film that tells the story of a talented but volatile actor whose reputation for being difficult forces him to go to extreme lengths to land a job. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, with a supporting cast that includes Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman,...

and Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy film starring Robin Williams and Sally Field and based on the novel Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. It was directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup...

, respectively) in which they played most scenes dressed as a woman.

Occasionally, the issue is further complicated, for example, by a woman playing a woman acting as a man pretending to be a woman, like Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors...

 in Victor/Victoria
Victor/Victoria
Victor Victoria is a 1982 musical comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that involves transvestism and sexual identity as central themes. It stars Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras, and John Rhys-Davies. The film was produced by Tony Adams, directed...

, or Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Kate Paltrow is an American actress and singer. She made her acting debut on stage in 1990 and started appearing in films in 1991. After appearing in several films throughout the decade, Paltrow gained early notice for her work in films such as Se7en and Emma...

 in Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 British-American comedy film directed by John Madden and written by Marc Norman and playwright Tom Stoppard....

. In It's Pat: The Movie, filmwatchers never learn the gender of the androgynous main characters Pat
Pat (Saturday Night Live)
Pat was an androgynous fictional character created and performed by Julia Sweeney for the American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and later featured in the film It's Pat...

 and Chris (played by Julia Sweeney
Julia Sweeney
Julia Anne Sweeney is an American actress, comedian and author best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and for her autobiographical solo shows.-Personal life:...

 and Dave Foley
Dave Foley
David Scott "Dave" Foley is a Canadian comedian, writer, director, and producer best known for his work in The Kids in the Hall, NewsRadio, A Bug's Life, and Celebrity Poker Showdown...

).

A few roles in modern films, plays and musicals are played by a member of the opposite sex (rather than a character cross-dressing), such as the character Edna Turnblad in Hairspray—played by Divine in the original film, Harvey Fierstein
Harvey Fierstein
Harvey Forbes Fierstein is a U.S. actor and playwright, noted for the early distinction of winning Tony Awards for both writing and originating the lead role in his long-running play Torch Song Trilogy, about a gay drag-performer and his quest for true love and family, as well as writing the...

 in the Broadway musical
Hairspray (musical)
Hairspray is a musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray. The songs include 1960s-style dance music and "downtown" rhythm and blues...

, and John Travolta
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta is an American actor, dancer and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease...

 in the 2007 movie musical
Hairspray (2007 film)
Hairspray is a 2007 musical film produced by Kolaja Productions and distributed by New Line Cinema. It was released in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom on July 20, 2007. The film is an adaptation of the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was based on John...

. Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt is an American film, stage and television actress. After making her film debut playing Mrs. Oxheart in Popeye , Hunt portrayed Billy Kwan, her breakthrough performance in The Year of Living Dangerously...

 won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously
The Year of Living Dangerously
The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 Peter Weir film adapted from the novel The Year of Living Dangerously by the author Christopher Koch. The story is about a love affair set in Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno...

. Felicity Huffman
Felicity Huffman
Felicity Kendall Huffman is an American film, stage, and television actress. She is known for her role as executive producer Dana Whitaker on the ABC television show Sports Night , which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination, and as hectic supermom Lynette Scavo on the ABC show Desperate...

 was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for playing Bree Osbourne (a male-to-female transsexual) in Transamerica
Transamerica
Transamerica or Transamerican may refer to:*Transamerica Corporation**The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco*TransAmerica , a railroad boardgame*Transamerica , a 2005 film**Transamerica...

.

See also


  • Acting
    Acting
    Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play....

  • Bit part
    Bit part
    A bit part is a supporting acting role with at least one line of dialogue . In British television, bit parts are referred to as under sixes...

  • Body double
    Body double
    A body double is a general term for someone who substitutes for the credited actor of a character in any recorded visual medium, in shots where the character's body is shown but the face is either not visible or shown indistinctly, or in shots where the image of the credited actor's face is joined,...

  • Cameo appearance
    Cameo appearance
    A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

  • Casting (performing arts)
    Casting (performing arts)
    In the performing arts, casting is a pre-production process for selecting a cast of actors, dancers, singers, models and other talent for a live or recorded performance.-Casting process:...

  • Cast member
    Cast member
    A cast member is:* An actor who performs in a theatrical production, motion picture, or television program. The actors who perform in the show are collectively referred to as the cast....

  • Celebrity
    Celebrity
    A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media...

  • Character actor
    Character actor
    A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...

  • Charisma
    Charisma
    The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

  • Child actor
    Child actor
    The term child actor or child actress is generally applied to a child acting in motion pictures or television, but also to an adult who began his or her acting career as a child; to avoid confusion, the latter is also called a former child actor...

  • Drama school
    Drama school
    A drama school or theatre school is an undergraduate and/or graduate school or department at a college or university; or a free-standing institution ; which specialises in the pre-professional training in drama and theatre arts, such as acting, design and technical theatre, arts administration, and...

  • Dramatis personæ
    Dramatis personæ
    Dramatis personæ is a phrase used to refer collectively, in the form of a list, to the main characters in a dramatic work —- commonly employed in various forms of theater, and also on screen. Typically, off-stage characters are not considered part of the dramatis personæ...

  • Ensemble cast
    Ensemble cast
    An ensemble cast is made up of cast members in which the principal actors and performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of importance and screen time in a dramatic production. This kind of casting became more popular in television series because it allows flexibility for writers to focus on...

  • Extra (actor)
    Extra (actor)
    A background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking, nonsinging or nondancing capacity, usually in the background...

  • GOTE
    GOTE
    GOTE, which stands for "Goal, Obstacle, Tactics, and Expectation", is an acronym devised by Robert Cohen to remind actors of four basic elements to consider while preparing a character for the theater....

  • Improvisational theatre
    Improvisational theatre
    Improvisational theatre takes many forms. It is best known as improv or impro, which is often comedic, and sometimes poignant or dramatic. In this popular, often topical art form improvisational actors/improvisers use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously...

  • Leading actor
    Leading actor
    A leading actor, leading actress, star, or simply lead, plays the role of the protagonist in a film or play. The word lead may also refer to the largest role in the piece and leading actor may refer to a person who typically plays such parts or an actor with a respected body of work...

  • Lists of actors
  • List of awards in theatre
  • List of film awards
  • Master of Fine Arts
    Master of Fine Arts
    A Master of Fine Arts is a graduate degree typically requiring 2–3 years of postgraduate study beyond the bachelor's degree , although the term of study will vary by country or by university. The MFA is usually awarded in visual arts, creative writing, filmmaking, dance, or theatre/performing arts...

  • Matinee idol
    Matinee idol
    Matinée idol is a term used mainly to describe film or theatre stars who are adored to the point of adulation by their fans.The term almost exclusively refers to male actors. Invariably the adulation was fixated on the actor's looks rather than performance...

  • Method acting
    Method acting
    Method acting is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances...

  • Meisner technique
    Meisner technique
    The Meisner technique is an acting technique developed by the American theatre practitioner Sanford Meisner.Meisner developed this technique after working with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler at the Group Theatre and as head of the acting program at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse and...

  • Mime
    Mime
    The word mime is used to refer to a mime artist who uses a theatrical medium or performance art involving the acting out of a story through body motions without use of speech.Mime may also refer to:* Mime, an alternative word for lip sync...

  • Movie star
    Movie star
    A movie star is a celebrity who is well-known, or famous, for his or her starring, or leading, roles in motion pictures. The term may also apply to an actor or actress who is recognized as a marketable commodity and whose name is used to promote a movie in trailers and posters...

  • Movie studio
    Movie studio
    A movie studio is a term used to describe a major entertainment company or production company that has its own privately owned studio facility or facilities that are used to film movies...

  • Pornographic actor
    Pornographic actor
    A pornographic actor/actress or a porn star is a person who appears in pornographic film. Most actors appear nude in films...

  • Practical Aesthetics
    Practical Aesthetics
    Practical Aesthetics is an acting technique originally conceived by David Mamet and William H. Macy, based on the teachings of Stanislavsky, Sanford Meisner, and the Stoic Philosopher Epictetus. An in-depth description of the technique may be found in A Practical Handbook for the Actor and also...

  • Pre-production
    Pre-production
    Pre-production or In Production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or other performance.- In film :...

  • Presentational acting and Representational acting
    Presentational acting and Representational acting
    Presentational acting and the related representational acting are critical terms used within theatre aesthetics and criticism.Due to the same terms being applied to certain approaches to acting that contradict the broader theatrical definitions, however, the terms have come to acquire often overtly...

  • Q Score
    Q Score
    The Q Score is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, company, celebrity, or television show used in the United States. The higher the Q Score, the more highly regarded the item or person is among the group that is familiar with them...

  • Stunt work
  • Supporting actor
    Supporting actor
    A supporting actor is an actor who performs roles in a play or film other than that of the leads.These roles range from bit parts to secondary leads. They are sometimes but not necessarily character roles. A supporting actor must also use restraint not to upstage the main actor/actress in the...

  • Thespis
    Thespis
    Thespis of Icaria , according to certain Ancient Greek sources and especially Aristotle, was the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play...

  • Understudy
    Understudy
    In theater, an understudy is a performer who learns the lines and blocking/choreography of a regular actor or actress in a play. Should the regular actor or actress be unable to appear on stage because of illness or emergencies, the understudy takes over the part...

  • Vaudeville
    Vaudeville
    Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

  • Viewpoints
    Viewpoints
    Viewpoints is a technique of composition that provides a vocabulary for thinking about and acting upon movement and gesture. Originally developed in the 1970s by choreographer Mary Overlie as a method of movement improvisation, The Viewpoints theory was adapted for stage acting by directors Anne...

  • Voice Actor


Sources

  • Csapo, Eric, and William J. Slater. 1994. The Context of Ancient Drama. Ann Arbor: The U of Michigan P. ISBN 0-472-08275-2.
  • Elam, Keir. 1980. The Semiotics
    Semiotics
    Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

     of Theatre and Drama
    . New Accents Ser. London and New York: Methuen. ISBN 0-416-72060-9.
  • Weimann, Robert. 1978. Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theater: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Form and Function. Ed. Robert Schwartz. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-3506-2.

Further reading

  • An Actor's Work by Constantin Stanislavski
  • A Dream of Passion: The Development of the Method by Lee Strasberg
    Lee Strasberg
    Lee Strasberg was an American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective"...

     (Plume Books, ISBN 0-452-26198-8, 1990)
  • Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner
    Sanford Meisner
    Sanford Meisner , also known as Sandy, was an American actor and acting teacher who developed a form of Method acting that is now known as the Meisner technique....

     (Vintage, ISBN 0-394-75059-4, 1987)
  • Letters to a Young Actor by Robert Brustein
    Robert Brustein
    Robert Sanford Brustein is an American theatrical critic, producer, playwright and educator. He founded both Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut and the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he remains a Creative Consultant, and has been the theatre critic for...

     (Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-00806-2, 2005).
  • The Empty Space by Peter Brook
    Peter Brook
    Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH, CBE is an English theatre and film director and innovator, who has been based in France since the early 1970s.-Life:...

  • The Technique of Acting by Stella Adler
    Stella Adler
    Stella Adler was an American actress and an acclaimed acting teacher, who founded the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City and the The Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Los Angeles with long-time protege Joanne Linville, who continues to teach and furthers Adler's legacy...


External links