The Best Supporting Actress Curse
Myth: According to this legend, it’s actually not a career boost for a female actor to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In fact, it puts some kind of hex on careers. Perhaps it’s because while the leading actress Oscar often goes to huge movie stars, the supporting Oscar often goes to character actresses and newcomers. Case in point: past winners like Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck), Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot), Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King), Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), and Mo’Nique (Precious) failed to set Hollywood on fire.
Truth: Recent winners include Renée Zelweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Whoopie Goldberg, Angelina Jolie…
The Oscar Love Curse
Myth: A disproportionate number of women who won the Academy Award for either Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress saw their marriages end very soon after finding Oscar glory. Examples go all the way back to the 1930s: Winners like Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, and Luise Rainer all wound up divorced. More recent victims of the curse include Kim Basinger, Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, and Hilary Swank (who was widely maligned for forgetting to thank her husband in her victory speech for Boys Don’t Cry).
Truth: This might just speak more to the old clichê that Hollywood marriages don’t last. After all, three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep has been married to artist Don Gummer since 1978.
Marisa Tomei Didn’t Really Win an Oscar
Myth: Oscar prognosticators did not expect Marisa Tomei to win the Best Supporting Actress award in 1992 for her work in the broad comedy My Cousin Vinny. In fact, Judy Davis was widely expected to win for Husbands and Wives. But when the envelope was opened by presenter Jack Palance, who seemed a little confused and stumbled over his lines, Tomei won. Palance’s odd behavior, coupled with the fact that Tomei’s was the last name on the TelePrompter clearly meant that Palance hadn’t read the name in the envelope, but had repeated Tomei’s name.
Truth: Those accountants that they show on every awards ceremony guarding a briefcase full of the envelopes with the winners’ names inside? They really do maintain the security and accuracy of the Oscars. Had Palance read the wrong name, one of the representatives of the accounting firm Price Waterhouse would have stepped in to announce the real winner.