10 actors who broke the curse of the Oscars

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The “Oscar curse” is believed to negatively affect an actor’s career after a win. Which actors were able to break the Oscar curse and become successful?

Will Smith’s recently released video apology for the Chris Rock slapping incident at the 94th Academy Awards has many wondering if this was done to avoid the Oscar curse. Over the years, winning an Academy Award has been a cruel twist of irony with the careers of some winners seeing their careers on a downward trajectory rather than an upward one.

It can also contribute to the lack of substance in subsequent role selections, and there have been many instances of romantic relationships falling apart. This is a curse that cannot be broken by true love’s kiss, but by luck and a few tricks of the trade. Fortunately, some actors are able to avoid the curse thanks to willpower and absolutely wonderful talent to back up their Oscar win.

Sean Penn

Harvey Milk smiling while giving a speech to Milk.
The fourth time was the charm for Sean Penn on the way to winning an Academy Award. He would win his first Oscar for Best Actor for his phenomenal performance in Clint Eastwood’s crime drama
Mystic River
. His successful projects would not be up to par
Mystic River
the acclaim of, but this was not permanent.
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A year after directing the critically acclaimed
In the wild
Penn would return to strong acting, playing gay rights activist Harvey Milk in 2008.
. The role would earn him a second Academy Award for Best Actor. He currently headlines Starz’s
alongside Julia Roberts in 2022.

Julia Roberts

Barbara smiling and looking tired in August Osage County.
At the height of Julia Roberts’ reign as romantic comedy queen, she won an Oscar for Best Actress in her second nomination in the category. She played environmental activist Erin Brockovich in the biopic of the same title, which is widely regarded as one of Julia Roberts’ most beloved roles. Serious attempts were made at roles in non-comedic genres, but they did not meet the expectations of viewers. A second Best Supporting Actress nomination for 2013
August Osage County
put Roberts back on Hollywood’s radar. He will next be seen opposite George Clooney
Entrance to Paradise
launched in October 2022.

Forrest Whitaker

Cecil Gaines wearing a suit and smiling in The Butler.
Playing a historical leader can be quite overwhelming. Actor/director Forrest Whitaker rose to the challenge with
The last king of Scotland
. Whitaker would win Best Actor for his powerful portrayal of Idi Amin, Uganda’s third president. Such a monumental victory would inadvertently pave the way for a slew of forgettable projects.
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The title role in Lee Daniels’ 2013 historical drama
the butler
revived Whitaker’s acting career. He would eventually join two major franchises with his roles
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Black Panther

Sandra Bullock

Ryan Stone crying in Gravity 2013
Usually a comedy star, Sandra Bullock has shown emotional depth very well with her roles in
Hope floats
. It is for this reason that in 2009 she won her best actress
The blind side
it was well deserved. Ironically, she would also win the Razzie Award for Worst Actress that same year. Like Reese Witherspoon before her, Sandra Bullock’s win was followed by a divorce from husband Jesse James over his extramarital affairs. However, Bullock emerged victorious. In 2013 it earned her a second nomination for best actress
one of Sandra Bullock’s best movies, which made her the highest-paid actress in 2014.

Reese Witherspoon

Madeline smiling on the beach in Big Little Lies.
A favorite film blonde, it was Reese Witherspoon, turned brunette, who would win her an Academy Award. Witherspoon learned to sing for her role as musician June Cash, Johnny Cash’s wife in the musical biopic.
walk the line
. Future roles after his win were incredibly formulaic or less than memorable. Produced and starred in the 2014 series
it would prove to be a renaissance of the career, being nominated for the second time for the best actress. He has also excelled in television, winning an Emmy for his production
Little Big Lies
and receiving a nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2022 for Apple+
The morning show

Alan Arkin

Albert smiling warmly in Going In Style.
Alan Arkin is an incredibly well-rounded actor, who has cemented his status as an artist in film, theater and television. 2007 saw him win Best Supporting Actor for his role as Olive’s drug-addicted grandfather Edwin in
Little Miss Sunshine
RELATED: 10 Actors Who Deserve More than an Oscar
A supporting role in Ben Affleck’s 2012 historical thriller
it would earn Arkin a second nomination in the supporting actor category and serve as his comeback. He would later be nominated for an Emmy in the category of Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Netflix.
The Kominsky method
the years 2019 and 2020.

Anna Paquin

Sookie Stackhouse looks serious on True Blood
A film debut sets the stage for an actor’s future in Hollywood. Anna Paquin’s debut in 1993
the piano
is rather exceptional. She is the second youngest winner to receive an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Anna Paquin hasn’t been nominated since, but that doesn’t mean her post-Oscar career has been a failure.

Having become a regular in teen roles and in a superhero franchise (
X Men
), HBO’s supernatural romance series True Blood
it was an opportunity to highlight Paquin’s talent. She played Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress at the center of a vampire love triangle, and cemented herself as a pop culture staple.

Helen Hunt

Cheryl smiling in bed at The Sessions.
Once an actor wins an Academy Award, there’s a certain amount of pressure to keep the momentum going. This can lead the actor to select movies that are more bankable rather than outdoing previous performances, which happened to Helen Hunt. Helen Hunt’s performance as a distraught single mother in 1997.
Like the goods that arrive
she was charming and vulnerable, earning her the lead actress statue. Some of Hunt’s films after his win fell short of his acting abilities. 2012 would bring her back to the good graces of the Academy, receiving a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a sex surrogate in
The Sessions

Renee Zellweger

Judy Garland singing during a concert at Judy 2019.

Whether he was opposite Tom Cruise (
Jerry Maguire
) or Jim Carrey (
Me, me and Irene
), Renée Zellweger is a charming protagonist with courage and charm. However, the drama worked in his favor. Zellweger would go on to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in 2003’s C.
old mountain
.The years following his victory would see small successes and many mistakes. Zellweger’s comeback vehicle playing the famous actress Judy Garland in 2019
she won the Oscar for best actress. Her follow-up performance as the sociopathic killer Pam Hupp on NBC
Pam’s thing
it’s easily one of his best.

Adrien Brody

Adrien Brody in Season 3 of Succession
Adrien Brody set an Oscar record to become the youngest actor to win Best Actor at age 29.
The Pianist
, played the Polish Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman, the film following his journey of survival during the Holocaust. Such a deep performance should have secured more roles along similar lines, but the opposite seemed to be the case. Brody continued to work steadily but without lasting impact. 2014 miniseries
it earned Adrien Brody an Emmy nomination and restored the public’s belief in his versatility. He would earn another Emmy nomination for his guest appearance on HBO
in 2022.

NEXT: Top 10 Movies That Won Oscars, According to Ranker

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