The XX Factor

There Is No Such Thing as the Best Actress “Oscar Curse”

Michelle “Bombshell” McGee’s name is all over the Internet today because the tabloid In Touch claims that she is having an affair with Oscar winner Sandra Bullock’s husband, Jesse James. This news comes just a few days after reports the end of about fellow Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet’s marriage to director Sam Mendes, and lots of blogs are talking about the so-called “Oscar Curse” : If you win the Oscar for best actress, it’s curtains for your long-term relationship. Needless to say, the notion of a such a curse is a load of bull.

The implicit (sexist) idea behind the “curse” is that men are so uncomfortable with their wives and girlfriends’ mega-success, they are driven to cheat or flee. But if you take one look at the list of best actor nominees and winners, you’ll see that their relationship track-records are not much better: 2008 winner Sean Penn’s relationship with Robin Wright broke up about seven times; when Russell Crowe won in 2000, he was busy breaking up Meg Ryan’s marriage to Dennis Quaid. Though he’s never won, George Clooney’s love life is pretty checkered-ditto fellow best actor nominees Bill Murray and Mickey Rourke . Hollywood relationships are notoriously hard to maintain independent of Oscar wins, and the notion that Sandra Bullock’s success is related to her husband’s alleged affair is pure, gross speculation.