Winning an Oscar isn't all about acting ability.
While the awards claim they recognize the top performances from around the world, a new study has found that you're more likely to win an Oscar if you're an American acting in a film that portrays American culture. And, the same applies to London's BAFTAs, with British actors more likely to take home an award.
Researchers say the trend suggests viewers are more likely to perceive a performance as 'truly brilliant' if they are members of the same social group as the actor.
It can be seen, perhaps most famously, in the case of Leonardo DiCaprio, who finally won a long-awaited Oscar last year for his role in The Revenant, which follows the story of an American frontiersman.
But, the trend also stretches back throughout the years.
In 2014, Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, and Jennifer Lawrence took an award home the year before for Silver Linings Playbook. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar in 2008 for his role in There Will be Blood.
The findings come from a new study published in the British Journal of Psychology. The team investigated a total of 908 merit prize winners: 97 winners and 383 nominees for the Oscars, and 97 winners and 331 nominees for the BAFTAs.
Overall, they found that US actors dominated the awards, claiming over 50 percent of the prizes across the Oscars and BAFTAs.
But, they also noted a trend within social groups.
When the performer and judge shared membership within a particular social group – for example, being American – the actor was more likely to win. American actors were found to win 52 percent of all BAFTAS, but 69 percent of all Oscars. And, British actors won just 18 percent of all Oscars, but 34 percent of BAFTAs.
Subject matter played a role, too, according to the researchers.
In the Oscars, Americans who performed in films about non-US culture accounted for just 26 percent of the award winners. But, those who performed in films about American culture made up 88 percent of the winners.