What do Charlton Heston, Kevin Bacon, Tom Cruise, Ryan Rosling, Christopher Reeve and Kevin Sorbo all have in common? Handsome, recognized actors, yes, but what else? Here’s a hint… Oscar winners Maximilian Schell in 1961 and Lee Marvin in 1965 share this similarity… Still guessing? Okay, last BIG clue, picture Kirk Douglas, Patrick Swayze, Richard Burton, Anthony Quinn, Warren Beattie, Robert Redford and most certainly Paul Newman. See them? Yes, they all have blue eyes, and for a leading man, apparently, this is a must have feature.
Not only are blue-eyed men leading men, more often than not they are Oscar winners. From Burt Lancaster in 1960 to Jeff Bridges in 2010, this one, small distinction brought home the gold. Daniel Day-Lewis with his blue eyes won in 1989 and again in 2007. Blue-eyed Tom Hanks grabbed the golden statue in 1993 and 1994, Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2006, while Sean Penn did so in 2003 and 2008. There are endless decades of blue-eyed actors walking off with the top prize. (Which begs the question, how many Emmy’s has Alex Baldwin won? Blue eyes aside, I mean…really?)
Blue-eyes isn’t a U.S. only bias, it’s the same across the Atlantic, with UK actors Albert Finney, Michael Caine and Peter O’Toole gracing the screen for the last fifty years; and now the new British A-listers, James McAvoy, Elijah Wood, Daniel Radcliffe, Joe Anderson, Rupert Friend and our newest “Superman” Henry Cavill, all batting the bluest eye.
There really is no stopping the power of the blue eyes: Daniel Craig has four new upcoming movies in 2011, Brad Pitt and Ed Helms will star in three, while Matt Damon will bust out five new films this year. Seriously, where are the brown-eyed actors? Are there really none that can break the color line?
Okay you say, what about Oscar winners Benicio Del Toro or George Clooney? Well yes, these brown-eyed beauties did slip into front-row fame and do qualify as leading men; then there is the short list, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, also Oscar recipients, also sans blue, but leading men? Not in my book…However, Javier Bardem, Forrest Whitaker, Jamie Foxx and Denzel Washington cancel my argument, for they not only took home the golden statue, they pack them in at the box office too. Perhaps it is time for the anglo-saxon only box to be busted through once and for all! Johnny Depp’s black eyes certainly are dreamy enough to do that, right?
It’s not just about who wins on Oscar night or at the box office: Hugh Laurie’s blue eyes landed him on the Sexiest Man Alive list. In fact, of the “Top 10 Sexy Male Eyes,” six were blue-eyed men and one green-eyed, (which leads me to Adrien Brody, Channing Tatum and Richard Gere, three very-leading green-eyed leading men). Even our brown-eyed Orlando Bloom donned blue contacts to play the oh-so-sought-after Legolas in Lord of the Rings.
Imagine Tom Selleck. Picture Jared Leto. Leonardo DiCaprio, Zac Efron, period. I know, I know, it’s sort of frightening. The list is longer than I could create. In fact, the more I search, the more blue-eyed actors I find, but at some point I do need to stop and focus on my task at hand…
So let’s predict this year’s Oscar for Best Actor based on this fool-proof unscientific yet ridiculously reliable bias. First, let’s discuss the brown-eyed nominees for Best Actor: Colin Firth, Javier Bardem and James Franco. A-List and majorly sexy Firth has his next film ( My Fair Lady ) all lined up, but will a stuttering King really capture the gold? Doubtful. Not very sexy afterall. Three-time-nominee Bardem would make history if he wins for a Spanish film, and we do love making history, but still I am uncertain. Perhaps Franco, who’s on deck for three new films in 2011, might be the breakout brown-eyed winner. However, of the two blue-eyed nominees, Jesse Eisenberg and Jeff Bridges, Bridges brought home the gold man last year, and this year he reprised one of the biggest blue-eyes of all playing John Wayne’s 1969 Oscar winning role. Well, in my mind he’s got better than a 50/50 chance!
All I know is that blue-eyed-charm captivates like no other for as far back as colorized films dominated our imaginations. As the blue-eyed Roger Daltrey sang,
“No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes…” (The Who).
*Although I gave no mention to the Best Actress category, for the nuances for female actors are a bit more complex, think Elizabeth Taylor to Jennifer Aniston. Blue-eyed beauties for eons! Out of the five women nominated this year, only Natalie Portman has brown eyes, so, she’s the least likely; but Nicole Kidman, who won the Oscar in 2002 and has three films set for release in 2011 and three more in various stages of production for 2012, certainly does seem like the best and bluest choice…!
**The author did her best to check facts, dates, and references, but admits to being flawed from time to time. So please forgive any misinformation.