The Oscar Curse: Is It Real and Is Hilary Swank a Victim?

Credit: @hilaryswank

Have you heard of the Oscar Curse? Let’s make it clear from the start that the Oscar Curse reportedly affects women who win the Best Actress Academy Award. What does it mean, though? It means that winning and accepting the Oscar for Best Actress means the actress in question is also giving up on her marriage. Perhaps ‘giving up’ is the wrong choice of words. More accurately, it means she will end up divorced through some Oscar Curse. It happens to, well, everyone. Hilary Swank is no exception to the rule, though some thought she might be the woman who broke the curse after winning two Academy Awards and remaining married after both – until she wasn’t. Here’s what we know about Hilary Swank and the Oscar Curse.

Is The Oscar Curse Even Real?

Go ahead and laugh about it, but it turns out that it is real. Says who, you ask? The University of Toronto research team performed a study and found that this is the truth. To simplify the math, it seems that the University of Toronto’s research team finds that any woman who wins the Best Actress Academy Award becomes 1.68 times more likely to end up divorced (this is compared to the women who do not win the award). Why, though? No one really knows. The research team did not go into the specifics when they did this study. They found that married winners tend to divorce, and married losers do not.

There are some suggestions that this has to do with the age-old problem of women out-earning their husbands. Once a woman earns more than her husband, they have some marital issues, reportedly. Or, perhaps, the husband cannot stand that his wife is now more famous and more successful. There is also a rumor floating around Hollywood that you are never quite the same person as before once you win an Oscar. Having never won an Oscar, however, we don’t know how true that is. Regardless, the Oscar Curse is real, and Hilary Swank knows this all too well.

Credit: @hilaryswank

Hilary Swank’s Oscars

She’s one of the most talented women in Hollywood, and she now has two Oscars of her own. To win two when so many never even receive a nomination for one (or do receive a nomination and rarely ever win – we are looking at you, Meryl Streep, you talented, amazing woman who is never recognized nearly as well as you should be), is amazing. Swank won for her roles in the movies Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby. Her first Oscar was awarded to her in 2000, and her second Oscar was awarded to her in 2005.

Hilary Swank’s Marriage to Chad Lowe

We know Chad Lowe. He’s as famous as his wife – though he hasn’t an Oscar, or two, to his name. There was a moment when we all thought that the Oscar Curse did not hit Swank as she did not announce within a year or two of her first Oscar win that their marriage was over. In fact, she and her husband remained married for a while after that. This couple married in the fall of 1997. She won her first Oscar in 2000. The couple remained happily married and very much together following that 2000 win. However, her 2005 win was the one that had people looking at their marriage. By the end of 2006, they’d announced they were divorcing, and their divorce was finalized in 2007. The Oscar Curse hit again.

Credit: @hilaryswank

Other Women Affected by the Oscar Curse

Some of our favorite actresses have accepted their Academy Awards in the past decade or so and ended up divorced following their big wins. Even couples we did not see ending their marriages did. How about Reese Witherspoon? How about Sandra Bullock? Here are a few of Hollywood’s most famous actresses who were happily married or in a committed relationship when they won big – then their relationships fell apart, and the Oscar Curse was made real:

  • Barbara Streisand
  • Liza Minnelli
  • Cher
  • Emma Thompson
  • Helen Hunt
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Halle Berry
  • Charlize Theron
  • Renee Zellweger
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Kate Winslet
  • Jennifer Lawrence

The Oscar Curse appears to be real, and now there is a study to back it up. As award season quickly approaches following the holidays, we find ourselves wondering. Who will win the Oscar in 2023, and will she fall victim to the Oscar Curse, or will she be the one to finally break the curse? We don’t know, and we likely won’t know for many years how it plays out.

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