"And the Academy Award goes to..." Surely there's no sentence any film actor is more eager to hear their own name at the end of. And many of them will go to tremendous lengths to make that dream a reality.
It's one thing to just read the script, learn your lines, and perform the role accordingly. There are plenty of actors who'll insist that's all that ever needs to be done, and some have wound up with Oscars to their name having followed that very approach: Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, for instance.
However, in order to really sell a performance to the voters at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (to give them their full title), you can't beat a nice, juicy story about the levels of behind the scenes torment an actor subjected themselves to for the sake of the role.
Intensive, traumatic research; learning, and mastering, an entirely new skill from the ground up; gaining or losing a potentially dangerous amount of weight. These are the things that most spectacularly declare an actor's dedication to their craft.
We might very well debate how essential such measures really are in all instances, and whether any of it would amount to much were the performers in question not already sufficiently talented.
But there's no denying a lot of it sounds very impressive, both to Joe Bloggs on the street, and the Oscar voters in the Hollywood hills.