Is Oscar's curse real?

Is Oscar's curse real?
Reese Witherspoon.

What do Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock all have in common?

They are the latest in a long string of actresses who split with their husbands immediately after taking home the Best Actress Award at the Oscars.

According to the popular myth of the "Oscar curse," the winners of the award are destined for misfortune as soon as they bag the coveted award.

However, a recent study found that male Oscar winners were more likely to get divorced than their female counterparts and, in terms of professional growth, an Oscar only means more opportunities and career success.

In their paper, published in Organisation Science journal, Kim Hee-yon, a professor at the National University of Singapore Business School, and Michael Jensen, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, examined a sample of 808 actors and actresses ― including 165 Oscar winners, 227 nominees and 416 nonnominees ― from 1,023 top commercial films from the 1930s to 2005.

They the out that Oscar wins increased the divorce rate for male actors, but decreased the divorced rate for actresses.

Also, while the average divorce rate was similar for all actors, Oscar-winning male actors were three times more likely and nominees were twice as likely in comparison to nonnominees to divorce during their first year of marriage.

They say that a sudden shift in status and wealth can have a deteriorating effect on personal relationships, and that male actors are more likely to be affected by this than females.

However, the study also concluded that there was no evidence of negative professional consequences for Oscar recipients ― either male or female. "Oscar winners appear, on average, in more films than Oscar nominees, who, in turn, appear in more films than nonnominees," said Jensen and Kim.

 

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