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Is winning an Oscar always a good thing?


#1

As a kid I always used to notice that the movies I loved never won an Oscar. Then in my 20s I noticed that the people I loved who won an Oscar stopped doing interesting work.

I think something shifts inside them. They’ve often got enough money by this point so they start chasing cred and when you start gunning for awards it all kinda goes belly up creatively I think. I had a look at the last 20 years of Oscar winners and I would say only four directors went on to make another good picture following their win. I don’t want to name names as it’s rude and I know some of the people personally, but even the ones who followed their Oscar with ONE good picture have rarely managed a second in 20 years, which is a tragedy.

Likewise actors, but if you look at that list and look at the work that followed their Oscar only 3 or 4 out of 20 went on to make another good movie. Have a look on Wikipedia. It’s quite a surprise. It’s all just a matter of opinion of course, but the ultimate proof that it can be a creative road-block is that almost all of these winners never went on to win another Oscar, even if their pre-Oscar work was littered with classics.

Best Actress I think is strangely immune to this and around 17 of the last 20 winners have gone on to do more excellent work. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe there’s more great actresses around in this generation. Maybe they pick their movies more carefully than the men. But from Streep to Winslet to Lawrence to Moore to Blanchett it’s a very impressive body of work both before and after the big award.

I love DiCaprio. I think he’s one of the last movie stars and he picks projects and directors carefully enough that I’m pretty much there first day when he has a release. With that in mind, DON’T DROP THE BALL, LEO!!! :slight_smile:

MM


#2

It’s an interesting theory, but it seems to rely on the idea that Oscar-winners are chasing success in a way that non-Oscar-winners aren’t. I always assumed that there are a lot more people who would be gunning for an Oscar than there were Oscars to go around!

If there is a trend along those lines (and I’m still not sure - I’d have to think about it a bit more and look at what films people made before and after their wins) perhaps the motivation is the opposite: that once Oscar winners have been rewarded for their craft, they lose a bit of the creative drive that was pushing them to try and achieve recognition in the first place - a sort of ‘resting on their laurels’ thing.


#3

This is interesting - looks like somebody tried to do a study to test the theory:

[quote]The researchers in the study followed the career paths of 1,023 actors and actresses from the year 1930 to 2005, and tracked their career trajectories after their leading or supporting role wins. In addition to finding that these performers would get more work post-win, they also found that there was a trend for the winners to take on more prestigious work (as indicated by features that got big festival premieres or won notable awards).

The idea of an actor benefiting from an Academy Award win may seem like a no-brainer, but the story of the Oscar Curse has been ingrained in Hollywood history since the 1930s - thanks to one famous example. In 1937 and 1938, actress Luise Rainer won Academy Award wins for her performances in The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth, respectively, but then saw her career basically go kaput. The actress reportedly blamed her Oscar wins for the decline, and the legend of the curse was born. (One could argue that she wound up the true victor in the end, as she only died a few weeks ago at the impressive age if 104.)

While the statistical evidence suggests that the idea of the Oscar Curse is a myth, there have been some actors in very recent memory who did see their careers falter after their big Academy Awards wins. Cuba Gooding Jr. is a pretty famous example, winning the big prize back in 1997 for his turn in Jerry Maguire, but others on the list include Halle Berry (who won in 2002 for Monster’s Ball) and Adrien Brody (who took home the award in 2003 for The Pianist). Mo’Nique, who won an Academy Award in 2010 for her performance in Precious, is the most recent name that can be added to this group, though the actress says she’s been told that her lack of work post-Oscar is because she’s been “blackballed.”[/quote]

Of course, career success doesn’t necessarily translate into ‘making good movies’.


#4

I’m hoping Leo stops making so many Oscar-y movies now that he’s finally won one. It’s started to feel desperate over the last few years.


#5

It will be interesting to see where Leo’s career goes after this. If he’s smart, he’ll sit down with agent and start mapping out his path.

But I have a sinking feeling that this win may have messed up his career.


#6

Best Supporting Actress is an award that is traditionally a kiss of death for young actesses. Look at the last 20 years or so:

The Best Supporting Actor award is more of a lifetime achievement award for actors who never got one.

With Best Actor it is interesting. I think it ruined Al Pacino’s career. He went on to play every role like Scent of a Woman for a long time (“Hoo-AH!”) and has only gotten out of that recently.


#7

I thought Tom Hanks’ wins made his choices a bit boring for a long time after that. It wasn’t until Catch Me If You Can that I thought he was interesting again.


#8

I think that the same could be argued for both Russell Crowe (who I still think should have got the Oscar for The Insider…Gladiator just isn’t that good) and Nicholas Cage.


#9

But what did they do before they won?

Sure, there are people like Scorsese who had a body of excellent work which wasn’t rewarded with an Oscar for many years, but for a lot of actors in particular, the Oscar appears to be a random event.

They’re doing a perfectly good job, having a perfectly good career, and then they win the award and nothing after is seen as worthy of an Oscar winner?

EDIT:
I think for a lot of people it may not mean fame and fortune, but it should mean steady employment.

Having an Oscar winner attached to a project means something, it pushes that TV show or film up a few notches.


#10

For the vast majority of people in that line of work (actors, directors, writers etc.) being employed puts you ahead of the game at the best of times.


#11

Some will get more work from being in an Oscar winning film than others;

https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtl1/v/t1.0-0/s480x480/12804806_10154058898949497_6165233898315490531_n.jpg?oh=8814e278fbd5c8e94050de01ecbe9ef6&oe=57569B4D


#12

I don’t totally agree with your edit.

Having an Oscar winning actor attached to a project doesn’t mean a lot actually. It’s always about the fame and rating of the actor during the time you are making the film.

You could easily cast a Nicolas Cage in your movie and still would have to fight to get the budget for your film. While on the other hand if I would cast the lead dude from Arrow, I would have more interest from producers and easily get a better budget.


#13

I don’t even know who the lead dude from Arrow is?

Not making that up. I don’t watch the show, never have. I’m sure he’s great, but I could stand next to him in a cinema queue and not recognise him.

Nicholas Cage though. I think we’d all recognise him?

And to be serious, how many films is Arrow dude in, and how much did they cost?

Cage is still making movies every year.


#14

The only movie Amell has done since Arrow started is the new TMNT sequel, and he’s not even a lead; he’s playing Casey Jones.


#15

Cage’s career slumped off a bit, but it was well after he won an Oscar. He won the Oscar in 1995 and was nominated again for Adaptation in 2002.

After his award he starred in movies by Michael Bay, John Woo, Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze, Ridley Scott, Gore Verbinski, Oliver Stone, Werner Herzog, Matthew Vaughn, David Gordon Green, and more. Some great movies, some massive hits. All in all not bad.


#16

Many folks in show biz have a desire to have an effect, to make their mark on the world. Comedians, for the most part, acknowledge this and revel in it. What happens to a person striving all their life to “make their mark” and then, in front of millions, do so?

I think all the post-Oscar/award pomp tends to bury the processing of these deep feelings and thoughts. In a way, this short-circuits the “reward of completion” mechanism, leaving such reactions unexamined and ill-defined, rather left chaotic.

So the neuroses kick in. “Best” is no longer good enough. What are you doing next? The “ultimate award” loses its luster, and in doing so allows the striving to be “best” to stop.

It’s a main reason I prefer the term “favorite”. It ain’t nuthin’ but a popularity contest anyhow. It’s the arts. There cannot be a “best”.


#17

So Cage is the problem and not Oscar? :wink:

Here is something to make sure @RonnieM gets his daily Cracked fix:
http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/5-behind-scenes-facts-about-how-oscars-dont-work/


#18

Lets put it this way

If I would go to Cannes at the Marche du Film with two movies and in one I have Nic Cage, or Forest Whitaker (also an Oscar winner) in it, and in a different movie I would have lets say… Liev Schreiber or even Stephen Amell, (even though he doesnt have enough features and the reason is actually a lack of time), I would get more cash for the production. Why? Because of the market. Nic Cage and Whitaker are not as marketable as they used to be… Okay Nic Cage is going strong in the meme world and imgur loves him, but his glory days are over. Most of his movies don’t even hit the theaters anymore. Liev Schreiber and Stephen Amell are doing strong in the tv world, lots of fans, for different reasons, but lots of potential buyers.

Edit: Since Whitaker has won an Oscar, he made a few features that are unsold in most territories. And have been unsold for years.


#19

Liev Schreiber had a major role in Spotlight, so that’s an odd example.

Aside from that though, he hasn’t had a successful movie in which he had a lead role since Salt back in 2010. There’s a reason he’s doing TV now.


#20

TV is not as it used to be. It’s standing more and more on the same level as films. In production value and quality.

The reason why actors do tv is not anymore because it’s cheaper or lower than film. It’s because it’s a safe pay, a lot of times better, and a long character development.

Honestly films have bored me the last years, while tv shows have become better and better.