The present research examines the extent to which the recognition of creative performance is structured by social group membership. It does this by analysing the award of merit prizes for Best Actor and Actress in a Leading Role for the international award of US-based Oscars and British-based BAFTAs since BAFTA's inception of this category in 1968. For both awards, the exclusive assessment criterion is the quality of artists' performance in the international arena. Results show that US artists won a greater proportion of Oscars than BAFTAs (odds ratio: 2.10), whereas British artists won a greater proportion of BAFTAs than Oscars (OR: 2.26). Furthermore, results support the hypothesis that these patterns are more pronounced as the diagnostic value of a quality indicator increases - that is, in the conferring of actual awards rather than nominations. Specifically, US artists won a greater proportion of Oscar awards than nominations (OR: 1.77), while British artists won a greater proportion of BAFTA awards than nominations (OR: 1.62). Additional analyses show that the performances of in-group actors in movies portraying in-group culture (US culture in the case of Oscars, British culture in the case of BAFTAs) are more likely to be recognized than the performances of in-group actors in movies portraying the culture of other (out-)groups. These are the first data to provide clear evidence from the field that the recognition of exceptional creative performance is enhanced by shared social identity between perceivers and performers.