Oscar night is as much about the clothes as anything else. The Academy Awards give Hollywood an excuse to dress up and to indulge in a little pomp and circumstance. In 2013, Seth MacFarlane drew some flack for his hosting of the event. Critics called his performance sexist and juvenile, thanks in large part to a song, delivered from the Oscar stage: “We Saw Your Boobs,” in which he called out Oscar nominated ladies for the movies where they had appeared topless.
If someone were bothered to defend the song, they might say that MacFarlane was looking to puncture the pomp of the Academy Awards and point out, as directly as possible, that the purpose of movies is to entertain. And entertainment can often mean titillation. Maybe, the mistake wasn’t the song itself, but the fact that it was too narrow. A lot of any year’s nominated actors have appeared naked on screen, as well. With that in mind, here’s a list of this year’s acting nominees who we’ve all had the chance to see naked. These men and women will all arrive at the red carpet in tuxes and designer dresses, but here’s a reminder that they got there, in part, because they were willing to drop their clothes altogether in front of the camera.
16. Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett is known for playing high-class characters. With her statuesque beauty and regal demeanor, she brings out the best in roles like the elfin queen Galadriel in Lord of the Rings or Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. With that reputation in mind, it’s not a surprise that Blanchett does not get called on to do many nude scenes. True, she’s nominated this year for Carol, which features Blanchett in a lesbian sex scene. But the nudity in that movie mostly came from co-star Rooney Mara (more on her later in this list). Ironically, the most prominent nudity that Blanchett has done in her career has come in her most regal role of all: Queen Elizabeth I. Early in her career, Blanchett landed the plum role in the biopic Elizabeth, which earned her the first of her now seven Oscar nominations. And despite playing “the virgin queen,” the role also included a topless sex scene.
15. Brie Larson/Jennifer Lawrence
This entry leads to kind of an uncomfortable subject. Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence are both among the most accomplished actresses of their generation. Both are nominated for an Oscar this year, Larson for playing a kidnapped mother in Room and Lawrence for her role as the spunky lead character in Joy. Neither has ever appeared naked in a movie. And yet, seeing them naked is just a Google click away. That’s because both actresses were victims of the massive phone hack that led to private photos from dozens of celebrities being dumped onto the Internet. And, of course, once the pictures hit the net, there was no way to remove them. So while it’s probably true that we’ve seen them naked, it might be the higher moral ground to pretend like we haven’t.
14. Matt Damon
Like Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon has avoided nude work for most of his career, although he did disrobe for some earlier roles. He was especially prone to nude scenes in more prestige projects early in his career. The most notable of these was The Talented Mr. Ripley from 1997, in which he played a man with a dangerous obsession with his upper-class friend, played by Jude Law. A little earlier in his career, Damon appeared in a group shower scene in the movie School Ties. This year, Damon is nominated for his performance as a stranded astronaut in The Martian.
13. Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams is nominated this year for a very buttoned-down role. As an overworked investigative reporter in Spotlight, she has little opportunity to show off much more than her brain. Usually her roles aren’t as serious, however. Yet, even though the actress has a number of teasing roles, she rarely strips down for the camera. There are romantic scenes and quick flashes in movies like To the Wonder, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Notebook. But her most overt nude scene came in her very first credited movie role, a little known film called My Name is Tanino. In it, McAdams plays an American girl visiting Italy, stripping down from a nude beach romp with some friends.
12. Alicia Vikander
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander had a busy 2015. She is nominated for her role as artist Gerda Wegener in The Danish Girl and appeared as the key character in the sci-fi hit Ex Machina. And those were just the big roles – she also appeared in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Burnt during the year. Vikander also had a busy year in terms of nude scenes. In both her major films from 2015, she appears completely naked. In The Danish Girl, her character strips for her soon-to-be transgender husband (played by Eddie Redmayne). In Ex Machina, Vikander spends most of the movie as a robot, but at one point, tries on some human body parts.
11. Christian Bale
The general vibe around Christian Bale seems to be that he’s no stranger to nudity. This is largely based on one memorable role as the sexy killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, in which he spent a good amount of time in sex scenes of various levels of depravity. But recently, Bale’s roles have been rather staid. With three appearances as Batman (generally locked inside a plastic suit), a role as a futuristic general in Terminator Salvation and Oscar nominated roles in prestige projects like The Fighter and American Hustle, Bale has stayed away from bare skin lately. This year, Bale is nominated for his role as a hedge fund manager with Asperger syndrome in The Big Short.
10. Sylvester Stallone
There was a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Sylvester Stallone showed his butt on film a lot. Movies like The Specialist, Demolition Man and Tango & Cash featured the star’s physique prominently, even though he was in his 40s at the time.
While Stallone’s core nudity run came later in life, he was no stranger to explicit films. Before becoming famous, he took a couple hundred bucks to star in a skin flick, 1970’s The Party at Kitty and Stud’s (he played Stud). After Rocky became a hit in 1976, the soft core movie was re-released as The Italian Stallion, named after the character Rocky’s nickname.
9. Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara is an easy pick for this list, given that she appears topless in this year’s nominated film Carol, which includes a lesbian love scene with co-star Cate Blanchett. However, that’s not the first time Mara has disrobed on film. The actress had a number of nude scenes in the 2011 thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While not all of those were sexy (one of them included a brutal r*pe), it proved that Mara was willing to appear naked (both literally and emotionally) if that’s what the role required. Mara also received her first best actress nomination for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, though she lost to Meryl Streep.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t shy about taking off his clothes. If gossip about his love life can be believed, this is probably more true off the screen than on it. But in a number of his most famous roles, Leo is ready to take it off: he showed skin in the sex-heavy Wolf Of Wall Street and striped down for the role of the psychologically damaged billionaire Howard Hughes in The Aviator. However, his most graphic on-screen nudity came in a movie most fans have never heard of. The 1995 drama Total Eclipse features DiCaprio as 19th century poet Arthur Rimbaud. The actor bared it all in a movie that also included a gay love scene with David Thewlis. This year, DiCaprio is nominated for his role in The Revenant.
7. Mark Ruffalo
With his unassuming good looks and affable charm, Mark Ruffalo has made a career playing romantic comedy leads and off-beat characters. Even his big-budget vehicles, like The Avengers, use him more like a friendly brother-in-law rather than a sex symbol. He’s not a guy you’d expect to see naked on film. But in 2003, he starred in the erotic thriller In the Cut with Meg Ryan. The movie was famous at the time for its graphic nude scenes – surprising in themselves, but even more so for the clean-cut on-screen reputations of the two stars. This year, Ruffalo is nominated for playing an intrepid investigative reporter in Spotlight.
6. Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne‘s most notable nude scene probably comes from this year’s nominated movie. In The Danish Girl, Redmayne plays Einar Wegener (who would become Lili Elbe), a transgender pioneer who, in the 1920s, became one of the first sex change recipients. The part involved a full frontal nude scene for Redmayne. The actor, who won an Oscar last year for his role in The Theory of Everything, has been naked in film before, most notably in 2007’s Savage Grace. In that Indie drama, he played a son with an explicitly incestuous relationship with his mother, played by Julianne Moore.
5. Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy is considered a brave actor, willing to push himself to find the emotional depth of a character. He’s definitely a brave actor when it comes to nudity. Hardy isn’t shy about taking off his clothes on screen, including a number of full-frontal scenes. The most prominent of these is in the film Bronson. The British indie stars Hardy as an intimidating prisoner with no problem showing off his body (Hardy appears shirtless on the movie poster). The movie was little seen in this country, but helped establish Hardy’s reputation. This year, Hardy is nominated for his appearance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.
4. Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh couldn’t be further from naked in her Oscar nominated role from this year, bundled in layers of clothes against a Wyoming blizzard in Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight. Over the course of her career, she’s shown a willingness to disrobe, however.
It started as early as 1982’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Phoebe Cates gets all the topless buzz from that movie, but Leigh (who turned 20 in the year Fast Times came out) has two sex scene of her own. Her most famous nude scene is probably from a decade later. In 1992’s Single White Female, she played an obsessed stalker who seduces her roommate’s unsuspecting boyfriend.
3. Michael Fassbender
Despite being one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, both in terms of his box office appeal and in terms of his classical good looks, Michael Fassbender‘s most famous nude scenes tend to be less than sexy. Take 2011’s Shame. The movie involves plenty of nude scenes of Fassbender. But the movie – about a sex addict self-destructing over the course of the movie – goes out of its way to sap any joy out them. This year, Fassbender is nominated for playing the title character in Steve Jobs, a biopic about the founder of Apple. One could argue that Jobs, with his penchant for turtle necks, this is yet another high profile Fassbender role with the sex drained out of it.
2. Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet basically made her name with a nude scene. She was already an established actress when 1997’s Titanic came out (she had already been nominated for an Oscar for 1996’s Sense and Sensibility). Still, the role alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in one of the biggest juggernauts in Hollywood history made her an established star. And key to the movie’s popularity was the romance with DiCaprio, centered on the sexy scene where he sketches her in the nude.
Winslet’s latest Oscar nod marks her seventh nomination, with several of the nominated roles involving graphic nude scenes (2008’s The Reader comes to mind – the movie that represents her only Best Actress win). This year’s role lets the 40-year-old keep her clothes on. She’s up for her role in Steve Jobs, where she plays Jobs’ loyal executive Joanna Hoffman.
1. Charlotte Rampling
Charlotte Rampling has been stripping for the camera for more than 40 years. This year, she’s nominated for her role in 45 Years, a story of a couple whose marriage faces a breaking point just as their 45th anniversary approaches. The film doesn’t ask much in the way of sexiness from the 69-year-old star, but that’s unusual for her career as a whole. Rampling has been naked on screen dozens of times, most notably in The Night Porter, which involves her performing topless while wearing a sexed-up Nazi uniform. Her most recent notable nude appearance took place in 2009’s Life During Wartime, where the actress, then 63, performed yet another topless bed scene.
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