Sex Roles

, Volume 50, Issue 11–12, pp 781–794 | Cite as

The “Best Actress” Paradox: Outstanding Feature Films Versus Exceptional Women's Performances

  • Dean Keith SimontonEmail author


On the basis of prior research on acting careers, it was hypothesized that exceptional women's performances are less likely to be associated with outstanding feature films than is the case for men. This hypothesis was tested in 2 studies. In Study 1, 2,157 films that received Oscar nominations or awards between 1936 and 2000 were examined, whereas in Study 2, I scrutinized 1,367 films that received awards or award nominations from 7 major professional, journalistic, and critical associations from 1968 to 2000. In both studies, a significant gender discrepancy was found, a differential that persisted after the introduction of a large number of statistical controls and that showed no tendency to diminish over time. The results are discussed in terms of possible explanations and directions for future research.

film acting awards gender differences 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavis

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