It’s here again! Awards show season. That time of year where the entertainment industry nearly breaks its arm patting itself on the back. Now don’t get me wrong. Other than Hollywood Blvd. and Highland being cut off from traffic for over a week causing tremendous jams, I don’t hate the different awards shows. A couple of years ago when my friend, Terry Gilliam’s, film, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus was nominated for two Academy Awards, I think I was more excited than he was! It’s just that in my opinion the different awards have turned too political. They no longer hold the meaning they once did that it is truly about the quality of the work. It’s about campaigning and ass kissing and compromise just to get the award to make more money. The trade papers and the LA Times are filled with expensive, opulent, full page “For Your Consideration” Ads. The money spent before the awards even take place is absolutely obscene.
To me the Oscar’s have been bastardized this year in awarding a statue to Oprah Winfrey. Now, before anyone jumps in my crap, I mean no insult to Oprah or her fans. But I ask you, what has she done in the film industry to warrant such an award. Philanthropic work? Lots of wonderful people have done that to a greater extent than her and remain without an Oscar. Since when should Oprah been given an Oscar when Rosalind Russell, Fred Astaire, Fred MacMurray, Glen Close, Cary Grant and a score of others remain without? That’s how political this has become.
Though I have a better chance of waking up with my head sewn to the carpet, I won’t lie, I’d be incredibly honored to have my or my daughter’s work nominated for any kind of award. To receive that kind of acknowledgement would be a tremendous thing. Hell, I’d be thrilled just to be able to share my work with a wide audience and share the laughter. Now that’s a dream.
The price tag that is now firmly attached to each Oscar statue that used to come freely given saddens me. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. And, what if you do win? In the majority of the cases all that has been won is more of a “Booby Prize” than an insurance of a great career. Rarely do the winners lead the charmed life they think they will. It brings to mind the old saying, “What price fame?”
Did you know that there is a phenomena called “The Oscar Jinx.” It has long been a superstition in Hollywood that there was a jinx on Oscar winners, but a few years ago, several scientific studies were performed that proved that it is not a superstition but a fact. It affects more female winners than male.
Have you ever wondered what happened to past winners like F. Murray Abraham, Louise Fletcher or Timothy Hutton. Wondered where they are and what they are doing? On Oscar night their lives seemed so magical. Their futures so golden. They were on top of the world. Fans dreamed of being them. Walking in their shoes. They are all victims of the “Oscar Jinx” and sadly it’s not that exclusive of a club. You might spot them in some horror flick, tv shot guest spot or little known indie film. Or, they seem to have just disappeared. Honestly, can you remember these once much touted winners?
Name: Timothy Hutton
Oscar For: Ordinary People (1980)
Where Is He Now: Playing a younger brother coping with survivor’s guilt following the tragic death of his golden boy sibling, Timothy Hutton became the youngest performer to ever win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. While he hasn’t struggled to find work (15 movies from 2006 to 2008), Hutton has never reached the lofty peaks of another Oscar nomination. He currently stars in the TNT series Leverage, and 2010 shows him scheduled to appear in such epics as Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Multiple Sarcasms.g that gold-plated trophy.
Name: Cuba Gooding Jr.
Oscar For: Jerry Maguire (1996)
Where Is He Now: “Show me the money,” had become a popular catchphrase across the country, and Best Supporting Actor winner Cuba Gooding Jr. appeared poised on the verge of superstardom. Dark career clouds began to roll in when Gooding Jr. appeared opposite Anthony Hopkins inInstinct, a film whose marketing campaign made it out to be Silence of the Lambs…but with apes. After that, Gooding Jr. starred in the awful Boat Trip, a film jam-packed with ignorant gay stereotypes. It only got worse from there, as he appeared in both Norbit and Daddy Day Camp. Despite these career missteps, Gooding Jr. received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002.
Name: Kim Basinger
Oscar For: L.A. Confidential (1997)
Where Is She Now: Like many of the women on this list, it’s difficult to determine if aging or the Oscar jinx was responsible for Kim Basinger’s career decline. She was a smokin’ hot 43-year-old when she won her Best Supporting Actress award, and now she’s 56. While still far more attractive than most women her age, the acting opportunities are growing increasingly slim (especially since her current demographic forces her to compete with the likes of Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren). She played Eminem’s white trash mom in 8 Mile, but following that up with Cellular and The Sentinel didn’t help her did not work for her. Most of her work these days is limited to television and indy films. A perfect example of the Oscar curse manifested when Basinger was cast in 2009’s The Informers, a film co-starring Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke and Winona Ryder. Despite the impressive cast, the movie never moved past limited release, and it only grossed a paltry $300,000.
Name: Mira Sorvino
Oscar For: Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
Where Is She Now: After a few small film roles, Sorvino shocked Oscar viewers by winning Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a hooker with a funny voice in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite. A number of critics called the win a fluke. Sorvino starred in the not-so-high-concept Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (which I personally loved) and Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam failed to generate much interest at the box office. Now she’s a staple on television, starring in original movies such as Human Trafficking (for which she did receive a Golden Globe nomination) and The Last Templar. She also appeared on the hit series House, but the Oscar curse made damn sure that the writer’s strike ended any chance of making her a recurring character.
The list of unfortunate winners goes on to include so many more.
And, have you noticed how many Oscar winners have had a seemingly good marriage and within a year of winning had that marriage end? This is the “Oscar Jinx” or “Oscar Curse.” The scientific take on this for the marriages that the other partner cannot deal with the success that has been attained by his/her wife or husband after they have struggled together. That coupled with the extreme lack of alone time and lack of privacy seems to end these marriages quickly. This behavior goes back a long time and lends itself to female actors almost solely. Some examples are:
- Claudette Colbert (1935 It Happened One Night) and husband Norman Foster
- Bette Davis (1936 Dangerous and 1939 Jezebel) and husband Harmon Nelson
- Luise Rainer (1937 The Great Ziegfeld and 1938 The Good Earth) and husband Clifford Odets
- Ginger Rogers (1941 Kitty Foyle) and husband Lew Ayres
- Joan Fontaine (1942 Suspicion) and husband Brian Aherne
- Jennifer Jones (1944 The Song of Bernadette) and husband Robert Walker
- Joan Crawford (1946 Mildred Pierce) and husband Phillip Terry
- Olivia de Havilland (1947 To Each His Own and 1950 The Heiress) and husband Marcus Goodrich
- Jane Wyman (1948 Johnny Belinda) and husband Ronald Reagan
- Elizabeth Taylor (1961 Butterfield 8 and 1967 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and husbands Eddie Fisher and Richard Burton
- Julie Andrews (1965 Mary Poppins) and husband Tony Walton
- Barbra Streisand (1969 Funny Girl) and husband Elliot Gould
- Maggie Smith (1970 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and husband Robert Stephens
- Glenda Jackson (1971 Women in Love) and husband Roy Hodges
- Jane Fonda (1972 Klute) and husband Roger Vadim
- Liza Minnelli (1973 Cabaret) and husband Peter Allen
- Louise Fletcher (1976 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and husband Jerry Bick
- Faye Dunaway (1977 Network) and husband Peter Wolf
- Cher (1988 Moonstruck) and boyfriend Rob Camilletti
- Emma Thompson (1993 Howards End) and husband Kenneth Branagh
- Helen Hunt (1998 As Good as It Gets) and boyfriend later husband Hank Azaria
- Julia Roberts (2001 Erin Brockovich) and boyfriend Benjamin Bratt
- Halle Berry (2002 Monster’s Ball) and husband Eric Benet. In 2010, Berry split with Canadian model boyfriend, Gabriel Aubry.
- Charlize Theron (2004 Monster) and longtime boyfriend Stuart Townsend
- Hilary Swank (2000 Boys Don’t Cry and 2005 Million Dollar Baby) and husband Chad Lowe
- Reese Witherspoon (2006 Walk the Line) and husband Ryan Philippe
- Kate Winslet (2009 The Reader) and husband Sam Mendes
- Sandra Bullock (2010 The Blind Side) and husband Jesse James
Best Supporting Actress
- Shirley Jones (1961 Elmer Gantry) and husband Jack Cassidy
- Goldie Hawn (1970 Cactus Flower) and husband Gus Trikonis
- Anjelica Huston (1986 Prizzi’s Honor) and boyfriend Jack Nicholson
- Geena Davis (1989 The Accidental Tourist) and husband Jeff Goldblum
- Kim Basinger (1998 L.A. Confidential) and husband Alec Baldwin
- Renee Zellweger (2004 Cold Mountain) and longtime boyfriend Jack White
- Jennifer Hudson (2007 Dreamgirls) and longtime boyfriend James Payton
I think it goes back to the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for. Or you just might get it.” All this being said, I think I’ll stick to my original dream of just having my work seen by a wider audience. At least that way it won’t become jinxed or simply disappear.
The entertainment industry is no longer a studio run by human beings with hearts who present brilliant, magical films to an adoring audience. It is a mess of political corporations who run their system like machines based on data focused on the almighty dollar. Their loyalty to their actors is just as strong as the dollars they generate. While they are bringing in the money they are the golden child, but the minute they turn in a not so stellar performance or a project they are in does not generate the money, all loyalty and “love” for that actor vanishes like the blink of an eye. The actor is no less talented than they were when they won the Oscar they simply aren’t the money hog they were at that time. As they say, “Fame is fleeting. ” There are very few exceptions to this rule. So is there really an “Oscar Jinx” on winner’s marriages or is it egos, jealousy and possessiveness. And, is there really an “Oscar Jinx” on winners furthering careers or is it a studio system based on greed and lack of support and a public that too easily follows the edicts of that system and no longer makes demands of the studios or supports these actors because they are no longer “cool” or “trendy” thus no opportunities are given them. I tend to think it is the latter in both cases. What are your thoughts?