CATEGORIES Movies, Oscars


If you're an Academy Award–nominated actress and you're married, you'd better seek a couples therapist. A surprising study has shown that out of the 265 married women who were nominated for the Best Actress Oscar between the years 1936 and 2010, 159 of them eventually divorced. In other words, with a 60 percent majority, the so-called "Oscar curse" is in fact "Oscar stone-cold fact."

The study, which was conducted by the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and Carnegie Mellon University, looked at 751 married nominees -- both men and women -- over the past 74 years. Results showed that women who go on to win the Oscar for Best Actress have a 63 percent chance of their marriage ending sooner than a non-winner. Oddly enough, however, Best Actor winners experience no increased risk of divorce, post-Academy victory.

To get more insight into why the female winners were so adversely affected by this fact, the Huffington Post spoke with Tiziana Casciaro, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto, and the co-author of this study. She offered insight into how these strange statistics could form around the acting accomplishment.

Casciaro explains, "Winning an Oscar can be construed as a big jump in professional status that an actor or actress has in their world and in the eyes of the broader audience. There are few phenomena that are so clean. You are never the same after you've secured an Oscar for Best Actor or Best Actress." She elaborates that the "sudden status change" comes into conflict with "the general social norm that kind of requires a man to have higher professional and economic status over the wife. So whenever that social norm is violated, both husband and wife may feel discomfort -- could be either one of them. We know from other situations that the strain that marriages feel under that circumstance is not unusual and people try to overcome it in a variety of different ways."

The University of Toronto's study also offered a statistical analysis on fame level -- based on references in The New York Times -- and discovered that unlike men, the more fame that was achieved for the woman, the higher the rate of divorce. The factors that lowered the rate of divorce were age and shared children. Another interesting realization that Casciaro discovered is that "Hollywood people always got divorced, unlike more 'normal' people, who in the 1940s and 1950s were less prone to that then they are today. That was a world that was always particularly at risk. We found relatively stable patterns over time."

The so-called "Best Actress curse" has been especially prevalent in recent years. Last year's winner, Sandra Bullock, infamously went through a painful divorce from her husband, Jesse James, last year after it was revealed that he had cheated on her.

The category's previous winner, Kate Winslet, also split from her husband, Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes ('American Beauty'), last year, though it was reported to be amicable.

Among some of the notable Best Actress Oscar winners to get divorced are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank and Reese Witherspoon.

Check out the video round-up of some of the most recent notorious "Oscar Curse" victims!

Tell us: Do you believe in the Best Actress Oscar curse?