‘Oscars love curse’: The curious pattern that’s touched some of Hollywood’s biggest stars

Oscar season is upon us, and in a few short weeks, the winners – and losers – of the 96th Academy Awards will be announced at a star-studded ceremony at LA’s Dolby Theatre.

So of course, attention has turned to the nominees across the 23 categories, with special attention for the actors and actresses vying for the best actor and actress gongs.

But for the women vying for the honour of being named best actress in a leading role or best actress in a supporting role, while winning may mark the pinnacle of their careers, it can also sound the death knell for their personal life, thanks to the so-called ‘Oscar love curse’.

READ MORE: Oscars insider explains Margot Robbie’s ‘snub’

The ‘Oscar love curse’ refers to a trend that has seen the winners of the best actress or supporting actress categories go on to seemingly suffer some sort of personal love-life related crisis, whether that be a break-up or divorce.

According to the UK’s Grazia, which did a deep-dive into the phenomena in 2022, 41 best actress winners had experienced the break-up of a long-term relationship shortly after their Oscar win, while 23 best supporting actress winners had suffered a similar fate.

The list of best actress winners who went on to suffer heartache includes Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Hilary Swank, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and Charlize Theron, while best supporting actress winners includes Jennifer Hudson and Rachel Weisz.

READ MORE: Surprising celebrities who have never won Oscars

Sandra Bullock suffered perhaps the most public heartbreaks shortly after winning her Oscar in 2010 for her starring role in The Blind Side.

The same month she collected her Oscar, multiple women came forward to accuse James of cheating, and their marriage did not survive, with Bullock swiftly divorcing her husband of five years and going on to complete the adoption of her son Louis alone.

Meanwhile, Witherspoon won her Oscar in 2006 for the movie Walk the Line and was seen in what appeared to be a heated exchange with then husband Ryan Phillippe after the ceremony. They announced their split just six months later.

READ MORE: Inide Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe’s shock split

Then there is Kate Winslet, who won the Oscar for her role in The Reader in 2009 – the same year her marriage to Sam Mendes ended.

To be fair, Grazia found plenty of actresses – 18 to be exact – stayed with their partners, but it does appear more headed to Splitsville shortly after their win than stayed together.

However, in a town where the divorce rate exceeds even the ‘one-in-three marriages end in divorce’ statistic we constantly hear about, the figures are compelling.

Maybe the other halves of the most powerful women in Hollywood just can’t take the spotlight being so firmly on their partners

Or maybe these actresses, on being so heavily revered by their peers in their chosen profession, realise their worth and decide to step away from a bad relationship.

Either way, it appears there is some correlation between the career high of a woman winning an Oscar and the personal low of a relationship break-up.

Hilary Swank and then-husband Chad Lowe backstage during the 77th Annual Academy Awards in 2005 after her Oscars win.

So who is at risk of falling victim to the Oscar love curse this year, if in fact it exists?

The list of nominees for best actress in a leading role include Annette Bening, Lily Gladstone, Sandra Hüller, Carey Mulligan and Emma Stone.

Meanwhile, the nominees for best actress in a supporting role include Emily Blunt, Danielle Brooks, America Ferrera, Jodie Foster and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

Emma Stone

Bening, has been married to reformed Hollywood lothario Warren Beatty since 1992. Mulligan has been married to singer-songwriter Marcus Mumford since 2012, and the couple shares three children, while Stone married comedian Dave McCary in 2020, and welcomed a daughter a month later.

Neither Gladstone nor German actress Hüller are known to be in a relationship right now.

Of the supporting actresses, Blunt married fellow actor John Krasinski in 2012. The couple shares three children and seemed to be rock solid, until a video clip of them on the red carpet of this year’s Golden Globes went viral after a TikTok user claimed he told Blunt he ‘couldn’t wait to divorce’.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 14: (L-R) Emily Blunt and John Krasinski attend the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 14, 2024 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/WireImage,)

Brooks married Dennis Gelin in January 2022, while Ferrera has been married to actor-director Ryan Piers Williams since 2011.

Foster married wife Alexandra Hedison in 2014 while Randolph is believed to be single.

With Aussie actress Margot Robbie missing out on a best actress nomination for her title role in Barbie, it may just prove lucky in preserving her relationship with husband Tom Ackerley, whom she married in 2016.