For many actors and actresses, the Oscars are a dream come true. Not only to go to them, but to even be considered is a rarity in today’s world. It seems like every other year we find ourselves nominating yet another actor or actress who already has one at home, in the case of Sean Penn’s win for Milk a few years back, or has racked up enough nominations that it’s become a given that after 4 or 5 nominations, they better at least get some recognition, a la Kate Winslet in The Reader. But what about those who seem to burn out after that one nomination? Or even worse, those who burn out after their one and only win?
The cautionary tale that comes to mind is legendary beauty, Halle Berry. The actress won the coveted statuette back in 2001 for her performance in Monster’s Ball. Now, tell me what has she been in recently? I mean, besides the magazines for that custody battle. More importantly, what has she been in where she has shown that same raw talent that she did in her Oscar-winning performance? Originally Frankie & Alice had some buzz going for it, but I can’t say that I know a single soul that saw the movie.
Unfortunately, Halle Berry’s cautionary tale is nothing new to the world of Hollywood. Some call it the Oscar curse, while others simply write it off as peaking. Still, I think it’s high time that we did something about it. I’m tired of going to movies and seeing trailers for movies starring “Oscar-winner this” or “Oscar nominee that” only to have to go to IMDb to figure out what the actor or actress was even nominated for. And after all, since teh Academy of Motion picture Arts & Sciences is technically a democratic organization, I have a suggestion.
That’s right, I said it. term limits. Not for the voters themselves, but for the actors and actresses themselves. Now I know they shouldn’t have to prove themselves. Hell, I’d be the biggest fan of the Oscars if it wasn’t about proving yourself, but the fact of the matter is, when it comes time for Oscars seasons, you’ll be hard pressed to find people that aren’t campaigning. So, if they’re so willing to campaign for it then, what’s the problem with doing it again? Just prove that you still deserve it. Because after being burned by Halle Berry not once, but several times over, I have my doubts about how much that Oscar is deserved.
If not term limits for the actors and actresses, maybe we can apply an expiration date? Well, not to the public figures, but to the use of terms like “Oscar-winner.” i’ve written about this problem before when I wrote about John Carpenter who, God bless the man, needs to stop slapping “From the director of Halloween” on every one of his films over 30 years after the fact. There’s just a limited legitimacy to the practice, and the same goes for people that continue to flaunt their Oscar so many years after the fact. Nobody is denying you were impressive in that performance that won you the Oscar (well, actually, I’ll dispute that every now and then…) but the time has come to just let it go.
I mean, I think most people know where I stand on this issue. After suffering through the horror of Gothika and Catwoman, it only seems fair that Halle Berry should have to pay for her transgressions. Still, I don’t want to make it seem like she’s the only one. I’d love to grab Cuba Gooding Jr.’s back or at least one of Hilary Swank’s after watching The Resident. I just think there might be some instances where the win might have been a fluke in the first place, so is the idea of rescinding the Oscar really so far off?