Why is it that women who win Oscars are so at risk of curses? Did you know
that women who win Best Actress are supposedly at a higher risk for divorce? And
that Best Supporting Actress winners never work again? Luckily, Best Actress
front-runner Jennifer Lawrence isn't married, but
what about Best Supporting Actress shoo-in Anne Hathaway? Will Sunday night mark the
effective end of her career?
It could be that these curses are total bunk. But because we are Forbes and
we like to use numbers to find truth, I decided to do a little evaluation of
what actually happens to Best Supporting Actress winners. I looked at the
10 women who won the award between 1997 and 2006 to see how they performed at
the box office the five years before they won vs. the five years after they won.
(I stopped at 2006 in order to ensure five post-Oscar years of box-office
returns.) I used domestic box-office numbers from Box Office Mojo to figure out
how each actress fared.
It turns out, when you look at the numbers, there is something to the curse.
Six out of 10 of the nominees we looked at saw their box-office earnings fall by
quite a bit. Cate Blanchett, who won in 2004 for "The Aviator," had the biggest slide. Her
box-office earnings for the five years after she won were $844 million less than
what she earned five years before she won.
But Blanchett's extreme fall was due less to the fact that she suddenly
became Hollywood poison than to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy coming to an end. Those
three movies earned $1 billion at the U.S. box office and they all hit theaters
before 2004. If you subtract Blanchett's "Lord of the Rings" earnings, her
box-office returns actually climbed $156 million after her Oscar.
A more worrying example (for Hathaway's team) is Renée Zellweger, who has the second-biggest fall.
Her box-office earnings five years after she won her Oscar for "Cold Mountain"
in 2003 fell $378 million from the previous five years. And Zellweger
doesn't have a profitable franchise to blame. For whatever reason, her movies
just started flopping and she hasn't been heard from much in the past few
Zellweger's "Chicago" co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones also had a rough ride after
winning her Best Supporting Actress Oscar. For the five years after she won for
"Chicago," her box-office earnings were $361 million less than her earnings the
five years before she won.
But not everyone saw a drop. Four of the actresses we looked at actually
earned more the five years after their Oscar win. Jennifer Hudson, who won in 2006 for
"Dreamgirls," had no box-office earnings before she
won her Oscar. In the five years after she won, her movies brought in $384
million at the box office.
Angelina Jolie also got a big boost from her
Oscar. The actress won in 1999 for "Girl, Interrupted." Her box-office take the
previous five years was $118 million. Her box-office returns the five
years after: $436 million.
According to the Internet Movie Database, Hathaway doesn't have any firm
plans for her next movie. The actress is as likely to do an indie (like "Rachel
Getting Married") as a big blockbuster (like "The Dark Knight Rises," which
grossed $1 billion at the global box office). Her choices will help add credence
to, or dispel, the curse.
Curse? Nah. It's all dependent on the actress and what they do:
Renee only suffered because she kept doing small, romantic roles and never put herself out there. Catherine may not of been a Hollywood star but she's done Broadway with the best... I think Miss Hathaway will be hunky dory.
First off, the Oscars do not necessarily go the "best" actor or actress. Especially with the women when the average age of a "Best Actress" is 32. (About 10+ younger than the average Best Actor). The awards generally seem to go to whoever is popular who hasn't won yet. They should really be called "Movie Star", not "Actor" or "Actress" in many cases.
Isn't it ironic that so many of the "Best Actresses" were also nominated for "Razzies", sometimes in the same year? It makes it seem that actual talent is far less important than other more transient factors.
Also, it seems that specific roles are award winners. Jennifer Hudson won her Oscar for "Dream Girls" and Jennifer Holiday won a Tony for the same role. The same with the breathtaking performance of F. Murray Abraham as Salieri in "Amadeus" when the also talented Sir Ian McKellen won a Tony for the same role on stage.
To summarize, these awards are given to young women who, usually, just do a decent job in a role within a year that their popularity is at an apex.
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