Method acting as a concept has been around since the 1930s, derived from Stanislavski's system (predating the former by a few decades) of actors creating 'real' emotions by Meisner, Adler and Lewis.

Though it has evolved slightly over time, the core component is that the actor employing the technique of method acting 'becomes' the character they're playing by taking the (either hypothetical or explicit) psychological and emotional motivations of the character and making them their own.

Actors utilizing the techniques promoted by Stanislavski, Meisner, Adler or Lewis include: Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Daniel Day Lewis, Meryl Streep, Marilyn Monroe, etc. etc.

Is there any correlation between using these techniques and success (success being measured by awards, box office tallies, long career)?

  • 1
    While I think there is a clear correlation that method acting is successful, there is no clean way of proving the opposite "If you don't employ method acting, you'll be unsuccessful." People get awards for bad acting all the time, because awards also have a popularity factor to them.
    – wbogacz
    May 23 '12 at 15:09
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    Also, there's just plain randomness to awards - does anybody still think Judy Dench deserved Best Supporting Actress for her 5 minute role in Shakespeare in Love?
    – wbogacz
    May 23 '12 at 15:18
  • Yeah there's definitely no ideal answer. But I think it's possible to produce a good one. Combing Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor + top grossing films each year for the past x years for method actors could yield some interesting results.
    – stevvve
    May 23 '12 at 15:45
  • If enough people feel this is an unanswerable question, I say vote to close. I don't necessarily feel that way, though I agree with the arguments against made by @wbogacz and andrei. My hope was for a interesting and challenging question, not an unanswerable one.
    – stevvve
    May 23 '12 at 18:43

I do not believe this question is inherently answerable. While we know of successful actors who "Ascribe" to "The Method" we don't have a full list nor we do really have a list of actors who don't.

You'd have to basically research each "Successful/Awarded" actor to get their comments on this acting approach. (I suggest using "Inside the Actor's Studio" as it's the best insight to a performer's approach). Granted you'd also have to examine their career as a whole. And honestly whether they use "The Method" or just give it public lip service.

We can say that the famous actors who've credited "The Method" give some sense of credibility, but the field is so wide that you can't correlate based only on those who've satisfied the requirement of one point of correlation.

We really don't have a huge list of actors who use "The Method" who don't get famous or Famous actors who poopoo on "The Method"

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