Winning – and even just being nominated for – an Academy Award is supposed to be the defining moment of an actor’s career. Yet for some recipients it can bizarrely be the beginning of the end.
Rather than propelling them further up the Hollywood echelon this so called Oscar curse can actually lead careers to stagnate and sometimes, even go into reverse.
Whose been afflicted by this jinx in the past though? Here are 10 Oscar nominees that are now making straight-to-DVD films.
The youngest actor to ever win the Academy Award for Best Actor, Adrien Brody picked up the gong for his performance in The Pianist at the tender age of 29. Since then though things haven’t gone quite as smoothly.
Sure, he popped up in Midnight In Paris and The Grand Budapest Hotel, but other than that, Brody’s film career has stalled to such an extent that he co-starred in the 2014 indie action American Heist with the rapper Akon and Hayden Christensen, a film that never even received a UK release. He was most recently seen lending star power wattage to Peaky Blinder S4.
Nicolas Cage is a cinematic enigma. He can go from the glorious, like when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for 1995′s Leaving Las Vegas, to slumming it in things like Chinese co-production Outcast alongside Hayden Christensen, which was released through video on demand in 2015 after a wave of negative reviews. His lowest point arguably came in 2014′s religious thriller Left Behind which currently has a 2% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Still can’t help but root for him though.
Travolta’s career has more ups and downs than a runaway rollercoaster. In fact, following Travolta’s Oscar nominations for Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction it plummeted with the 1991 made for TV movie Chains Of Gold and 2013’s Killing Season, respectively.
The latter of which, even with Robert DeNiro as his co-star, was released on both the home screen and in cinemas simultaneously, and grossed the grand sum of £30,000. Which brings us neatly on to…
Robert De Niro
In between cameo performances in David O Russell films and legacy-threatening howlers like Dirty Grandpa, the two-time Oscar winner can be found in straight-to-DVD thrillers like Heist and The Bag Man.
We’re not sure what De Niro’s agent is thinking, or whether Bobby just does not give a hoot any more, but the Raging Bull star deserves much more than this. He’s reteaming with Martin Scorsese for mob thriller The Irishman, out later this year, which could be a return to form.
The Welsh acting titan’s acting career has taken a bit of a downwards turn since his mid-90s heyday where he received four Oscar nominations, winning one for Silence Of The Lambs. His nadir came in 2015 with the release of two straight-to-DVD quality movies Solace, and Kidnapping Mr. Heineken which Variety called “about as appealing as day-old beer littered with cigarette butts”.
Before Gary Busey became the Gary Busey that equally enthrals as beguiles the world, he was nominated for the 1978 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in The Buddy Holly Story. Those times are long gone though. His last IMDb credit was in 2018’s The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time.
The late 1980s and early 1990s were very kind to Geena Davis. She received Oscar nominations for Thelma & Louise and The Accidental Tourist, the latter of which she won a Best Supporting Actress gong.
Since the Shane Black scribed The Long Kiss Goodnight though, Davis’ cinematic career has nose-dived. In fact, except for the Stuart Little franchise, voice work in When Marnie Was There, and Accidents Happen, which was only released in Australia, she has inexplicably been unable to find other great movie roles. Her most high profile role of recent years came in the largely overlooked 2017 sci-fi thriller Marjorie Prime.
Proof of just how cruel Hollywood can be some times.
The winner of the 1992 Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Fisher King, Mercedes Ruehl’s career has rather petered out since then. In fact her most recent movie role came all the way back in 2014, when she appeared in a comedy called Chu and Blossom. Never heard of it? No, us neither. Ruehl recently featured in the TV series Power.
The youngest ever actor to win a Best Actress Academy Award, which she did for her leading role in 1986’s Children Of A Lesser God, Marlee Matlin is also the only deaf performer to win an Oscar too.
As was always likely, this was the pinnacle of Matlin’s career. However that still means she deserves more than roles like Diner Patron in 2014’s The One I Love and Unknown in How To Make Love Like An Englishman. She’s a series regular in Quantico, The Magicians, and Family Guy.