Sunday, February 6, 2011
The 'Oscar curse': Are Oscar winners more likely to divorce?
The 83rd Academy Awards will reward the year's best films, actors and actresses with a golden trophy affectionately referred to as "Oscar." With the Academy Awards a short three weeks away, there has been a lot of buzz about an "Oscar curse."
The Oscar curse refers to the perception that Oscar winners, especially the winners of the Best Actress award, are more likely to get divorced soon after winning. Hilary Swank, Joan Crawford, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Bette Davis and Kate Winslet all divorced shortly after winning their Best Actress Oscars. Recently, a pair of intrepid researchers at the University of Toronto and Carnegie Mellon University put the theory of the Oscar curse to the test, only to find that it is based on a statistical reality.
Winners of the Best Actress Oscar really do have a higher chance of divorcing than the actresses who were nominated, but did not win. The researchers studied the marriages of the 751 nominees in the Best Actress and Best Actor categories from 1936 to 2010. Their results showed Best Actress winners' marriages had a median duration of 4.30 years after winning the Oscar, which was significantly shorter than the 9.51-year duration for nominees who did not win.
When the researchers looked at the duration of the Best Actor's marriages, they found no significant difference. The median duration for the Best Actor winners' marriages was 11.97 years, while Best Actor nominees had a median duration of 12.66 years.
Although there is very little chance of there actually being a cursed placed on the Best Actress Oscar, the study did show that a sudden change in status in one spouse can be one of the factors leading to a divorce.
Source: Rothman School of Management, University of Toronto, "The Oscar Curse? Study Says that Oscar Win for Best Actress Increases the Risk of Divorce," 1/28/2011