Ahead of the Oscars there’s a lot for the stars to plan and prep; a heartwarming winner’s speech, an outfit to help them score a coveted place on best dressed lists, oh and not forgetting: their loser face. Because pulling off a gracious loser face (even if you’re five-time loser Leo) is a fine art. The Oscars cam doesn’t lie, after all.
So what’s the secret? Should you leap to your feet in support of your opponant, or cover your face (and your seathing expression) in mock shock? Here’s a rundown of the very best from Academy Awards gone by, plus pointers from body language expert Judi James on where they went wrong, or right.
The Loss: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street) to Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyer’s Club) in 2014 – his fifth snub
The Face: The ‘Hide’
This ‘only the bridesmaid, never the bride’ routine just had to hurt for Leonardo and it shows! He’s clearly smart enough to turn his face away from the camera rather than braving it out as he used to, though, and he raises his hands in a high clap to create an extra barrier. It’s that sharp intake of breath before he turns that lets us know he’s taken this about as well as a punch to the solar plexus.
The Loss: Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) to Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), 2008
The Face: The ‘Hide’ ‘Win Face’
When you want to keep your disappointment under wraps it can help if you try acting like you won – as Cate does here. This open mouth and wild seal-like clapping is an over-congruent, exaggerated display that is intended to hide the misery she must be feeling inside.
The Loss: Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) to Kate Winslet (The Reader), 2009
The Face: The Chin Punch
Poor Anne takes the news like a punch to the chin before she drops her head to re-assemble her facial expression. The one she comes back with is the ‘good loser’ look, cheering open-mouthed while her soul dies inside.
The Loss: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator) to Jamie Foxx (Ray) in 2005
The Face: The Poker Face
Back in the day Leonardo could sustain the kind of rigid facial expression that a poker player might die for. Nothing moves at all in terms of his facial expression here, showing high levels of self-control.
The Loss: Nicolas Cage (Adaptation) to Adrien Brody (The Pianist), 2003
The Face: The Look Of Agony
Nicolas began waiting for the winners name with an slightly anxious frown in place. Then came the micro-gesture of real agony followed by a swift glance to the right to ‘turn that frown upside-down’. It comes back looking just as hurt though and the ‘oh wow!’ looks a tiny bit desperate.
The Loss: Salma Hayek (Frida) to Nicole Kidman (The Hours), 2003
The Face: The Evil Eye
You just have to love Salma who probably puts in the least amount of effort to look wildly happy that she’s lost. She attempts a smile, but it seems to wither on the vine, and the up-and-down glance that follows suggests she’s got her rival’s measure for next time. That floppy clapping is equally hilarious.
The Loss: Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) to Kim Basinger (LA Confidential), 1998
The Face: The Look Of Surprise
Minnie attempts the classic winner’s face, looking every bit as though she heard her own name called and is ten tons of delighted. Her mouth opens in an ‘Oh wow!’ but that bottom lip caves in too early, meaning she struggles to make it to a smile of genuinely faked happiness.
The Loss: Sally Kirkland (Anna) losing out to Cher (Moonstruck) in 1988
The Face: The Two Faces Of Misery
Poor Sally starts off with a very honest-looking grimace, sucking her mouth in and looking suitably stricken before apparently remembering the camera. The re-adjusted flash smile happens way too quickly to be genuine but at least she had a go, rather than weeping uncontrollably into her evening bag.
By Hayley Spencer