A significant number of female Oscar winners have more in common than the shared professional achievement of winning the Academy Award. They also got divorced after their victories. So when you watch the Oscars this year, the woman who walks up on the stage and gives her emotional acceptance speech very well might be the next celebrity whose divorce hits the media circuit.
According to a Toronto study, challenged "social norms" play a role in the divorces between successful actresses and their less professionally powerful husbands. That theory stems from statistics that researchers compiled about 751 Best Actress and Best Actor nominees and winners.
They looked at whether winners were more likely to divorce than mere nominees and whether the rate of divorce was different between genders. Based on the research, there is a significant difference in the rate of divorce between the male and female winners.
Compared to the Best Actress nominees who did not win the award since 1934, the winning actresses' marriages have more than a 60 percent chance of ending in divorce. Even more interesting is that the difference in success among male nominees and winners didn't mark a notable difference in the rate of divorce.
That inconsistency in trend between the female and male groups is what researchers use to support their theory about "social norms." Traditionally, suggests the study, men are the most professionally successful in a marriage. When a wife becomes the big earner and most powerful, the researchers suspect that it is difficult for a marriage to survive such a drastic change in the relationship dynamic.
Of course, that is just a theory. Do you have any ideas that could explain what many are calling the "Oscar curse?" The numbers are certainly impressive and the proof of the post-win divorce is easy to spot: Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Hilary Swank, Sandra Bullock and more.
ScienceDaily: "The Oscar Curse? Oscar Win for Best Actress Increases the Risk of Divorce, Study Suggests," 28 Jan. 2011