THE OSCAR JINX STALKS HOLLYWOOD

1972 — Liza Minnelli. Inheriting her mother’s larger-than-life personality and performing skills, Minnelli was the rare performer who was actually too big for the big screen. Her turn as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret” matched the scope of her musical skills and the depth of her acting, earning her the Best Actress Oscar. But Minnelli’s star ascended at the time when musicals were beginning to ebb in popularity, and later appearances in “Lucky Lady” (1975) and “New York, New York” (1976) gave her the reputation of being box office poison. Her leading lady role opposite Dudley Moore in “Arthur” (1981) was the last hit film she’s had to date.
1972 — Joel Grey. The dynamic entertainer made his first film in 1952, but for some reason proved impossible to cast. Repeating his Broadway triumph as the master of ceremonies in “Cabaret” brought Grey the Best Supporting Actor honor, but again he experienced difficulty in securing substantial roles in memorable films and his cinema work has primarily been restricted to small roles in big films (“The Seven Per Cent Solution” and “Buffalo Bill and the Indians,” both in 1976) and big roles in small films (The Fantasticks in 1995).
1973 — Tatum O’Neal. The precocious ten-year-old star of “Paper Moon” warmed the hearts of Academy voters, who voted her the Best Supporting Actress Award. Her tomboy role in The Bad News Bears (1976) helped secure her stardom, but later wobbly roles in “Nickelodeon” (1976) and “International Velvet” (1978) gave the impression she could not make the transition into adult parts. O’Neal’s career then fell victim to abrupt stops and starts, and any momentum or audience she may have enjoyed as a child has long since disappeared.
1975 — Louise Fletcher. While some observers felt Fletcher’s Nurse Ratchet in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” belonged in the Supporting Actress category, Fletcher won the Best Actress Oscar. However, she followed that victory immediately on the wrong foot with “Exorcist II: The Heretic” (1977) and her career stumbled down the path of awful, barely-seen flicks which tarnished her viability in a quick period of time. Unflattering weight gain further aggravated her chance at landing good parts, and most recently she was in the unenviable position of giving stooge support to Ryan Philippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions (1999).
1976 — Beatrice Straight. Perhaps the greatest single upset in Oscar history was Straight’s Best Supporting Actress honor for her eight-minute appearance as the betrayed wife in Network. A veteran character actress whose career spanned two decades, Straight suddenly found herself in a spotlight which long eluded her. It didn’t last long. Outside of her small role as the jittery ghost hunter in Poltergeist (1982), Straight’s career diminished into brief parts in films which barely saw release.
The curse continues in part seven of THE OSCAR JINX STALKS HOLLYWOOD>>>




Posted on March 20, 2003 in Features by
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