These Celebrities Were Hit with the Oscar Curse
18th June, 2021
Taking the golden statuette home is a common dream for actors around the world. But sometimes, it’s not all good. Have you heard about the Oscar curse? Winning an Academy Award can change an actor’s career drastically. It brings them millions of dollars, a ton of fame, and some of the best offers Hollywood has ever seen. But for some folks out there, winning an Oscar award did the opposite – they were struck with the Oscar curse. Their careers went downhill, the money dropped to half, and they barely received the fame they deserved. Here’s a glance at the actors and actresses who were victims of the Oscar curse.
Tatum O’Neal’s story is unlike other celebs who started their careers as kids. O’Neal won an Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actress at the tender age of ten for her phenomenal performance in the 1973 comedy, Paper Moon. In the movie, the real-life father-daughter duo team up as con artists to dupe people for money. O’Neal displayed exceptional maturity, intelligence, and talent in the role, which led her to become the youngest winner in the Academy Awards’ history. Unfortunately, life wasn’t easy for O’Neal after the big win. Although she managed to land quite a few decent roles as a child actor, she struggled to do the same growing up as an adult. She worked in a lot of films, including This Is 40 and reality television shows like Ryan & Tatum: The O'Neals, but nothing surpassed the bar that her role in Paper Moon had set.
Italy’s national treasure, Roberto Benigni is well-known worldwide for his comedy, film-making, and writing. In 1997, he wrote, directed, and starred in Life Is Beautiful. The movie is about a man who playfully protects his son from the horrors of the holocaust. It portrayed love and family to its finest, because of which it had over five nominations at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Foregin Film, and Best Screenplay. His impeccable writing, acting, and direction brought home the Academy Award for the Best Actor in a Leading Role. But despite his grand success, Benigni didn’t have much luck in the US again. Following Life Is Beautiful, he wrote and directed Pinocchio, which, surprisingly, performed poorly. It has an astonishing 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. He tried making another movie and playing a few side roles; nevertheless, success didn’t side with him.
When it comes to winning an oscar and the curses associated with it, Halle Berry tops the list. Not only was she hit with the Oscar curse but also with the Oscar love curse. Berry won the prestigious award in 2002 for playing Leticia Musgrove in Monster's Ball. The movie made her the first and only black woman to ever win an Oscar. Unfortunately, things didn't work out for Berry after the Oscars. Her career went slightly downhill and, along with it, so did her marriage. Although she got some pretty cool roles like Storm in X-Men, nothing compared to her fabulous work in Monster's Ball. Moreover, she ended up winning a Razzie for the Worst Actress in 2004 for her role in Catwoman. To top it all, she ended her marriage with Eric Benét a few months after winning the award.
When the queen of pop starred in Moonstruck, a romantic comedy co-starring Nicolas Cage, people were truly struck with awe. This was because of Cher’s phenomenal performance and her ability to display charm. She played the role of Loretta Castorini, a New Yorker who falls in love with the brother of the man she is supposed to wed. She won the Oscar for the Best Actress and it felt like she had opened doors to a whole new career. Things began to change after she won the award. The movies she worked in, such as Suspect and Mermaids, didn’t bring her the spotlight. This was probably because Cher was already an established singer, and the audience found it difficult to view her differently. Nevertheless, she has been an excellent actress and a wonderful singer and we’ll be happy to see whatever she has in store next.
Marlee Matlin won an Academy Award for her stunning performance in her debut film, Children of a Lesser God. The touching drama revolves around the romance between a speech teacher and a deaf woman who works at a school. Marlee, who was only 21 at the time and deaf in real life, brought passion and emotion to the role, making her the first ever deaf actress to be nominated for an Academy Award. However, roles for deaf people were scarce and came only once in a blue moon. This deprived Matlin of a career that could be. Moreover, the roles she played after the award didn’t bring her acclaim the way Children of a Lesser God did. She was seen on several television shows like Seinfeld, Dancing with the Stars, and The L word. She also starred in various movies like Hear No Evil and In Her Defence.
Before winning the Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actress for L.A. Confidential, Kim Basinger bagged huge roles like Vicki Vale in Tim Burton's Batman and Nadia Gates alongside Bruce Willis in Blind Date. Her roles often highlighted her physical appearance, and she was quite popular for her charisma, good looks, and comedy. However, along with her prestigious award also came the infamous Oscar curse. After L.A Confidential, Basinger didn’t give up. She tirelessly continued her attempts to succeed and prove herself as an actress, but to no avail. As her career began going downhill, she was only seen performing in a few big yet supporting roles like Eminem’s mother, Stephanie, on 8 Mile and Elena Lincoln in 50 Shades Darker. Some of these films didn’t perform well, leaving Basinger holding on to more supporting roles.
At age 29, Adrien Brody accepted the Academy Award for the Best Actor for his performance in the 2002 drama, The Pianist. This achievement made him the youngest actor in the history of the Academy Awards to win in this category. The role depicted a Jewish musician who, despite all struggles, manages to survive the ravages of the second World War by hiding in the remains of Warshaw. The emotions evoked by Brody’s phenomenal performance was what won him his Academy Award. Nevertheless, things haven’t been the same for Brody ever since. Although he worked in several major films, including box office successes like King Kong, The Darjeeling Limited, and Midnight in Paris, he hasn’t quite matched the standards he set during The Pianist. Brody is talented and charming and we’re hoping he’ll make a magnificent comeback in the near future.
Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden is one of the few actresses who actually confirmed the curse. She struggled a bit, but managed to bag roles in movies like Spy Hard and Flubber. Nonetheless, her performance in Pollock was her big breakthrough that brought her lots of recognition. It was a movie about the abstract expressionist painter, Jackson Pollock, and how his life was altered when he met abstract painter Lee Krasner. The role won her many praises and the prestigious Academy Award. In 2003, Harden was nominated again for another performance in the movie Mystic River, but didn’t win. In an interview, she confirmed the curse by saying that the Oscar is disastrous on a professional level. “Suddenly the parts you’re offered become smaller and the money less. There’s no logic to it,” she said. Harden continued working in movies; however, she received very little recognition.
Marisa was a familiar face on television for years. However, her character Mona Lisa Vito on My Cousin Vinny was her breakthrough. Although the competition was tough, she managed to bag the Academy Award for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Unlike most people on this list, Marisa Tomei had hope for herself even after being hit with the Oscar curse. Post her big win, she did a number of films that simply made it look as though her success was sheer luck. Nonetheless, things changed when she was nominated for the Oscars for the second time. It was for a movie called In the Bedroom. Unfortunately, Tomei didn’t win and went back to doing films that didn’t bring her much luck. She was nominated again for the third time for her performance in The Wrestler but, once again, she failed to win.