Smoking in 2015 Oscar® nominated films moving to minor characters

• Of the twenty English-language, live-action, non-documentary films nominated in any Oscar category this year, thirteen (65%) included smoking: half of those rated PG-13 and 71 percent of those rated R.

• While 65 percent of Oscar-nominated films include smoking, only 35 percent of the nominated actors smoked.

• Five of the seven smoking roles (71%) in 2015 were based on actual historical people. Last year, only one of the five smoking roles was based on an actual person (American Sniper, R, Time Warner).

• Seven of the thirteen films with smoking had a biographical element, but in most of these films most of the smokers were invented minor characters or uncredited extras. 


The growing number of films with biographical elements — but with invented characters smoking — is a trend to watch.

The proposed R-rating for smoking exempts films that depict an actual, historical person who actually smoked, as in a bio-drama or documentary.  What Hollywood seems to be doing is populating these films with invented smokers to pump up the smoking and keep audience exposures high.

On the bright side, actors and their agents seem to have figured out that you don't need to smoke to turn in an Oscar-worthy performance.