21 Actresses Hit By the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar Curse

Posted by Angela on March 23rd, 2010

Academy Award-winning actresses Sandra Bullock and Kate Winslet have recently been having marital problems, sparking numerous reports of the enigmatic Oscar carrying a curse. While the rumored curse has hit 10 of the 12 “Best Actress” Oscar winners since 1997 with relationship problems, we found that it’s been alive and kicking since the very first winner, Janet Gaynor. Here are 21 actresses hit by the “Best Actress” Oscar curse since the inception of the award in 1928 (in chronological order from most to least recent).

1. Sandra Bullock (2009)

America’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her performance in The Blind Side earlier this month. This week, it was revealed that Sandy’s husband of five years, Jesse James, had an 11-month affair with tattoo model and stripper, Michelle McGee, while leading lady Sandra had been filming her Academy Award-winning performance in Atlanta.

2. Kate Winslet (2008)

Kate Winslet was awarded the Oscar for her portrayal of a former Nazi concentration camp guard in The Reader. Nearly a year later, she announced that she and her husband, director Sam Mendes, are splitting up.

3. Reese Witherspoon (2005)

In 2006, Reese Witherspoon won for her performance in Walk the Line. She and husband Ryan Phillippe announced their separation in October of that year. The All-American pair were formally divorced a year later.

4. Hilary Swank (1999, 2004)

Hilary Swank won the Oscar in 1999 and 2004, for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby. The actress neglected to mention hubby Chad Lowe in her first acceptance speech, but made up for it by thanking him first during her second win. Perhaps it was too little too late for Chad though, as the pair decided to separate less than a yearlater.

5. Charlize Theron (2003)

South African actress Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for her role as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. At the time, Charlize was in a committed relationship with actor Stuart Townsend, with both having stated that they had no plans to marry until same-sex couples are granted the same privilege but that they considered themselves to be husband and wife. The couple separated six years later.

6. Halle Berry (2001)

Halle Berry’s win for Monster’s Ball was the first by an African American woman, but she certainly wasn’t the first to suffer the acting curse. Just seven months after the fact, Halle and her husband, R&B singer Eric Benét, announced that they were splitting.

7. Julia Roberts (2000)

In 2000, Julia Roberts won for her work in Erin Brockovich with her boyfriend of three years, Benjamin Bratt, by her side. Three months later, the pair split.

8. Helen Hunt (1997)

Helen was awarded an Academy Award for her role as Carol Connelly in As Good as It Gets. Unfortunately, her relationship with Hank Azaria clearly wasn’t as good as it gets; the couple separated just two years later.

9. Emma Thompson (1992)

English actress Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her performance in Howards End. Emma was with fellow Brit Kenneth Branagh at the time, who she had collaborated with in four films. The couple called it quits less than two years after Emma’s winning night though.

10. Faye Dunaway (1976)

Faye Dunaway was honored with an Academy Award for her performance in Network. Regrettably, the curse hit her relationship with rock star Peter Wolf of The J. Geils Band hard, and the pair split two years later.

11. Glenda Jackson (1973)

In 1973, British actress and politician Glenda Jackson won for her role in A Touch of Class. Glenda and her husband of 18 years, Roy Hodges, split three years later in 1976.

12. Liza Minnelli (1972)

Even highly-regarded actress Liza Minnelli wasn’t immune from the Oscar curse. She famously won in 1972 for her performance in Cabaret, but her first marriage, to Australian entertainer Peter Wolf, ended two years later.

13. Jane Fonda (1971)

Jane Fonda was celebrated for her performance in Klute in 1972, but split from her husband of eight years, Roger Vadim, a year later.

14. Maggie Smith (1969)

Maggie Smith won an Oscar for her role as Jean Brodie in The Prime of Jean Brodie in 1969. Five years later, she and husband Robert Stephens were divorced.

15. Julie Andrews (1964)

Julie Andrews was married to set designer Tony Walton when she won for her most famous role, Mary Poppins, in 1964. The couple filed for a divorce less than three years after Julie’s win.

16. Elizabeth Taylor (1960)

Elizabeth Taylor was awarded Oscars for her performances in Butterfield 8 in 1960 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff in 1966, married to singer Eddie Fisher at the time. They were officially divorced four years after Liz’s first win.

17. Ingrid Bergman (1956)

Actress Ingrid Bergman’s affair and subsequent marriage to Italian director Roberto Rossellini made headlines across the world, as did her Oscar wins for Gaslight in 1944 and Anastasia in 1956. The controversial couple divorced just a few months after Ingrid’s received her second statue.

18. Joan Crawford (1945)

In 1945, Joan Crawford won for her work in Mildred Pierce. She was sick at the time and husband Phillip Terry was by her side as she accepted her Oscar in bed at home. However, the couple split just a few months after Joan’s win.

19. Ginger Rogers (1940)

Ginger Rogers was honored with an Academy Award for 1940’s Kitty Foyle. That very year, Ginger and her husband Lew Ayres decided to end their seven-year marriage.

20. Vivien Leigh (1939)

British actress Vivien Leigh won for her performance in one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, Gone with the Wind. She divorced her husband, Hubert Leigh Holman, that month to marry fellow British actor Laurence Olivier after a three-year affair with Laurence.

21. Janet Gaynor (1927-28)

The very first “Best Actress” Academy Award recipient, Janet Gaynor, won for her performances in three different films: Seventh Heaven (1927), Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), and Street Angel (1928). Her marriage to Jesse Lydell Peck came to an end four years later.

Category: Julia Roberts, Lists, Sandra Bullock