Get fat, go ugly
As Basinger notes, the Academy loves a role that shows you have range. "If you're beautiful, we can't trust that," she says. "If you're playing the same role, we can't trust that." The Academy particularly loves a woman who'll play a prostitute or a nun, because it's the opposite of what a movie star's image is supposed to be. "Take off the makeup," the professor says. "Get the false eyelashes off. We seldom give Oscars to glamorous women in lamé, doing comedy." And of course, if you're a man, pile on the pounds, get your face smashed up like Mike Tyson, and get a really, really bad haircut. That can work wonders.