Until Oscar do us part

Posted by · 7:06 am · February 1st, 2011

A few days ago, a reader responded to a trivia note by Steve Pond, about the number of Best Actor nominees whose Christian names begin with the same letter, with the question, “Is this the point at which we are officially over-saturated with Oscar stats?”.

Well, if we weren’t there then, we might be now.

Yesterday, the Huffington Post ran an interview with an academic who has invested far too much time looking into the so-called “Oscar Curse” — the unfortunate trend that has seen many a star headed for divorce court shortly after winning the Best Actress Oscar. Recent examples include Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank and Halle Berry, but a University of Toronto research project (!) suggests the curse goes further back than that.

From the article:

Researchers compared actresses who won Best Actress statuettes from 1936 to 2010 to those who were nominated but didn’t win, and found that winners were, indeed, 1.68 times as likely to divorce as non-winners. Of the 265 married nominees, 159 eventually divorced–a whopping 60 percent. The same was not true for men–there was no significant difference in divorce risk for Best Actor winners and Best Actor nominees.

What follows is some clich├ęd if not wholly implausible pop psychology about a woman’s career ascent placing strain on her marriage when it eclipses that of her husband — though they do at least acknowledge the somewhat dampening argument that divorce is a likely outcome for many a Hollywood marriages, whether Oscar is involved as a third party or not. They don’t, however, offer conclusive stats on the likelihood of imminent Oscar success pre-emptively sending spouses into the arms of tattoo models.

Important stuff, I’m sure you’ll all agree. At the very least, perhaps it’ll serve as some consolation to Annette Bening if she loses the Oscar for the fourth time. Or not. Meanwhile, anyone know if the University of Toronto offers classes in this stuff?

[Photo: Alt Film Guide]

→ 11 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

11 responses so far

  • 1 2-01-2011 at 7:12 am

    Amir said...

    because university of toronto’s cool like that ;)

  • 2 2-01-2011 at 7:15 am

    Amir said...

    and i’m not sure they offer classes.
    back when i took stats at uoft, we had to do a project on some nonsense about rabbit population.
    i’m sure i would have gotten an A if we worked on oscar statistics instead.

  • 3 2-01-2011 at 7:45 am

    Jim T said...

    I’m sure Portman read the research results, laid on her bed and processed the idea of calling every member of the Academy and tell them not to vote for her.

    Then she remembered she’s not married yet so the curse might not influence her.

    I love Oscar madness.

  • 4 2-01-2011 at 7:51 am

    Paolo said...

    I went to UofT. I’m gonna take my HBA degree off my wall and burn it.

  • 5 2-01-2011 at 8:11 am

    Jim T said...

    My the way, I remember another research about Oscar winners living longer than Oscar nominees. They didn’t prove much…

  • 6 2-01-2011 at 9:55 am

    Loyal said...

    Hmmm, I may have to put Hershlag back into my iPhone.

  • 7 2-01-2011 at 12:29 pm

    San FranCinema said...

    I’m calling it first: Beyonce’s recently announced star-turn in the re-remake of “A Star is Born” will win her an Oscar and promptly end her marriage to Jay-Z.

    Life imitates art imitates life imitates art…

  • 8 2-01-2011 at 1:18 pm

    Mike said...

    I think the curse started after Helen Hunt won. And I don’t think it is if you win, I think it is if you thank your husband/significant other in your speech. Helen H., Gwyneth, Julia, Halle, Charlize, Hilary (2nd time), Reese, Kate, and Sandra all thanked their husbands/ boyfriends, while Hilary (1st time), Nicole, Helen M., and Marion did not. It’s a curse I tell you, just not the same one that you think. Oh well, Natalie’s thing with that dancer was never going to last anyway.

  • 9 2-01-2011 at 8:21 pm

    Andrew F said...

    Well, I think I know where I’m *not* applying for my PhD.

  • 10 2-01-2011 at 8:26 pm

    Sertan said...

    Gimme a break! I cant believe a school like UT spends time with a research like this. It could be a class project or something like that (when I teach Marketing Research, I use some silly examples to explain some stat methods. This could be something like that!
    When the divorce rate is around 50% in society, how can we conclude that 60% divorce rate is significantly higher than the base rate (random chance)?

  • 11 2-01-2011 at 9:29 pm

    sam said...

    I don’t care Annette Bening should still win, even though nicole kidman gives the best performance of the year — natalie portman doesn’t give the best performance of the year. Its unfortunate that academy voters vote for the young actresses and older actors irregardless of who the best is.