Natalie Portman's Best Actress Oscar win was inarguably the highlight of the Oscars; but, as I cheered about her triumph something else struck me. With the assurance that Black Swan would definitely not win the Best Picture award, Natalie was perpetuating a Best Actress curse no one talks about: the Best Actress Oscar is the only award their respective movies get.
Think about it, during the last decade (and we could even go all the way to 1999 when Hilary Swank first defeat Annette Bening) only two movies have won another Oscar besides Best Actress and only one of these movies won Best Picture (Million Dollar Baby).
Compared to the fact that movies that win Best Actor have 8/11 in the "more than one Oscar" statistic, we really might be onto something here, right?
Let's take a year by year look:
(I also noticed Best Actresses like this fabric and color...)
2000 - Best Actress - Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich (Wins 1 - Nominations 5)
Best Actor - Russell Crowe for Gladiator (Wins 5 - Nominations 12)
One Best Actress nominee (Ellen Burstyn) was the sole nominee for her film.
2001 - Best Actress - Halle Berry for Monster's Ball (Wins 1 - Nominations 2)
Best Actor - Denzel Washington for Training Day (Wins 1 - Nominations 2)
One Best Actress nominee (Renee Zellweger) was the sole nominee for her film.
2002 - Best Actress - Nicole Kidman for The Hours (Wins 1 - Nominations 9)
Best Actor - Adrien Brody for The Pianist (Wins 3 - Nominations 7)
One Best Actress nominee (Diane Lane) was the sole nomination for her film.
2003 - Best Actress - Charlize Theron for Monster (Wins 1 - Nominations 1)
Best Actor - Sean Penn for Mystic River (Wins 2 - Nominations 6)
Three Best Actress nominees (Keisha Castle Hughes, Diane Keaton and Charlize Theron)
were the sole nominations for their respective movies.
2004 - Best Actress - Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby (Wins 4 - Nominations 7)
Best Actor - Jamie Foxx for Ray (Wins 2 - Nominations 6)
Two Best Actress nominees (Annette Bening and Catalina Sandino Moreno) were the
sole nominations for their respective movies.
2005 - Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line (Wins 1 - Nominations 5)
Best Actor - Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Capote (Wins 1 - Nominations 5)
One Best Actress nominee (Felicity Huffman) was the sole nomination for her film.
This is also the only year when all the acting winners were their films' only wins.
2006 - Best Actress - Helen Mirren for The Queen (Wins 1 - Nominations 6)
Best Actor - Forrest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland (Wins 1 - Nominations 1)
One Best Actress nominee (Penélope Cruz) was the sole nomination for her film.
Curiously this year four Best Actor nominees were their film's sole nomination.
2007 - Best Actress - Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose (Wins 2 - Nominations 3)
Best Actor - Daniel Day Lewis for There Will Be Blood (Wins 2 - Nominations 8)
This is the only year when all Best Actress nominees were accompanied by other nominations.
2008 - Best Actress - Kate Winslet for The Reader (Wins 1 - Nominations 5)
Best Actor - Sean Penn for Milk (Wins 2 - Nominations 8)
One Best Actress nominee (Anne Hathaway) was the sole nomination for her film.
2009 - Best Actress - Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side (Wins 1 - Nominations 2)
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (Wins 2 - Nominations 3)
One Best Actress nominee (Meryl Streep) was the sole nomination for her film.
Which brings us to Natalie Portman. Out of her film's five nominations she was the only one who even stood a chance of winning. After the Academy found ways to not love Black Swan as much as other organizations had (denying it Score, Screenplay and Costume nominations) it became clear that if Portman lost the movie would go empty handed.
This strange phenomenon would be less significant if it wasn't because it establishes something everyone keeps saying to no avail: Hollywood doesn't offer women interesting roles.
7/10 Best Actor winners during the past decade where in Best Picture nominees, with women it was just 5 and as obvious as it is that The Blind Side really didn't need another Oscar, what then about the editing in The Hours? Or Black Swan's breathtaking cinematography?
For that matter was Gladiator a better movie than Erin Brockovich?
The fact that Oscar voters just feel the need to reward one category out of this actresses' films might be saying that they think they were the only worthy thing in their films and that their award will be enough for the whole movie. But again, why wasn't Monster nominated for Best Makeup for example (when at least 70% of Charlize's performance is owed to that).
This would seem less conspicuous when measured against the number of Best Actor wins that often seem to provoke "en masse" vote for other categories.
Speaking of this, out of Meryl Streep's 13 Best Actress nominations, she's been the sole nomination for 5 out of these occasions. What is this really saying about Hollywood? Am I seeint too much into this blockade of opportunities for Actresses? When's the last time a Best Actress carried an entire Best Picture as opposed to having a film about men winning the top prize?
If we examined this we would run into even fewer cases where this happened which would include: Gone With the Wind, Mrs. Miniver, Annie Hall, Terms of Endearment, Driving Miss Daisy, The Silence of the Lambs, Shakespeare in Love and Million Dollar Baby.
Eight out of 83...hmm maybe I'm not being paranoid right?
If so what can this mean for filmmakers making movies about women? Let's be honest, in other years films like The Blind Side, Winter's Bone, The Kids Are All Right and to a lesser degree Black Swan would've never factored in the Best Picture race and movies about women competing for the main prize would be out of the question.
So young filmmakers of the world if you want to win a Best Picture Oscar make biopics about disabled men! Stay away from Amelia Earhart! Oh wait, that already happened...
What do you think about this? Do you think actresses will eventually be leading forces behind Oscar winning movies? If Meryl hasn't been able to do it, what are the chances of less beloved actresses ever achieving this?