Listen, they can’t all be winners. In the words of Messrs. Damon and Affleck, “You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him…And sometimes, you do Reindeer Games.” That’s how the game works and that’s fine. Even Oscar caliber actors will make crap films from time to time. Maybe for a paycheck, maybe poor judgment or maybe just because it was really fun to make. No worries, guys. However, when that crap films comes right on the heels of an Oscar win, it raises a few eyebrows. All eyes are on you, Oscar winner, the world is your oyster, and you’re going to do that film? Are you sure? Sometimes (oftentimes in fact) that follow-up movie is already in the can, so it’s not exactly a conscious, calculated move. On the other hand, sometimes that follow up movie can make a dubious win look even that more questionable. (See: Gooding Jr., Cuba) Regardless, here they are, twelve truly unfortunate follow-ups to an Oscar win.
Natalie Portman—Black Swan/No Strings Attached: I’m one of the few vocal anti-Portman people out there. I find her unrepentantly wooden. However I appreciate how much work she obviously put into Black Swan and she deserved better than a Kutcher sex romp.
Philip Seymour Hoffman—Capote/Mission Impossible III: Oh, sure, you’ll say PSH was the best part of MI:III. No doubt, no doubt. But it’s still the third installment in a franchise that should have quit while it was ahead. So, you know, after the first one.
Jennifer Hudson—Dreamgirls/Sex and The City: This is one of those “did she really deserve the award?” situations. Hudson sang the ever-loving sh*t out of “And I Am Telling You.” Every note was dripping with emotion, but there’s little evidence to suggest Hudson can invest that level of emotion in non-singing performances. So, you know, second fiddle to Carrie Bradshaw seems about right for her.
Nicolas Cage—Leaving Las Vegas/The Rock: Okay, okay, hold up, before you get too excited, I love The Rock. I really do. But Cage’s career has been famously, um, rocky, and the juxtaposition of his heart-rending performance as a desperate alcoholic and, well, that time he chased a bunch of aloe vera bath beads around Alcatraz was too irresistible.
Jamie Foxx—Ray/Stealth: Foxx’s win for Ray was a complete game changer for him. My guess is that stupid flyboy movie was already a done deal.
Anthony Hopkins—Silence Of The Lambs/Freejack: Okay, full disclosure, I have never see Freejack. But it stars Mick Jagger, Emilio Estevez, Sir Anthony Hopkins and an enormous jack in a “futuristic 2009, where ‘bonejacker’ mercenaries travel through time to snatch people from the split second before their death in order to use them as substitute bodies.” So, yeah, I feel completely comfortable in labeling it crappy, sight unseen.
Morgan Freeman—Million Dollar Baby/Unleashed: Do you remember that movie Unleashed? It was a Jet Li vehicle about a man who was raised as a dog. Yeah, not even Freeman’s gravitas could save it.
Helen Mirren—The Queen/National Treasure: Book Of Secrets: Hey, listen, I love Action Mirren. Red was total fun. But National Treasure? You’re better than that, Mirren. You should never be the Academy Award-winning meat in a Cage/Kruger sandwich.
Christoph Waltz—Inglorious Basterds/The Green Hornet: Waltz is physically incapable of being crappy in anything. I say this having suffered through that shlockfest Water For Elephants. It’s like even elephantine sh*t cannot touch him. That being said, no one got anywhere playing a villain in a comic book movie. Except, well except for Heath Ledger I guess. Nevermind, Waltz, carry on.
Halle Berry—Monster’s Ball/Die Another Day: She’s the only Academy Award winning Bond girl. Yes?
Jeff Bridges—Crazy Heart/TRON: Legacy: It’s bad enough that Bridges did that weird Buddhist thing with Flynn, but the extremely uncomfortable death mask CGI Clu? I may never recover.
Julia Roberts—Erin Brockovich/The Mexican : Lady, you know it, I know it, Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini know it. You did not deserve that award. Not one bit. For shame, madam. For shame.