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Is there a way that Jennifer Lawrence or Anne Hathaway can avoid the post-Oscars curse?
—Asleep in the Cloud, via Twitter
You speak of the disease that befell, among other actresses, Halle Berry, who took home a Best Actress Oscar only to stink up the box office in Catwoman. (She's since rebounded—I think?—with this month's The Call.) The Oscars curse tends to hit supporting actresses harder than leading ones, though; just ask Mo'Nique, Jennifer Connelly, Marcia Gay Harden and Mira Sorvino. All are still famous; they're just not as in-demand as they were back in their Oscar-campaign heyday.
As A-list as Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway currently are, and even with all their new awards and packed slates, their careers may get even tougher in the next few years. Unless they take one very crucial step.
First, let's take a look at the trajectories of some recent winners.
The fabulous Melissa Leo, who won a Best Supporting Actress award a couple of years ago, has since been seen in a supporting role in Flight. But she's also got a crazy-busy 2013 going, with two films already released; four others in the can; one completed; one currently filming; and two in pre-production. Really. And that is righteous.
Now let's look at a recent Best Actress. Fresh off of her Oscar for Black Swan, we've since gotten to see Natalie Portman make some respectable bank in Thor. In her near future, she's also got a Hollywood romance-drama thing cooking called Knight of Cups, and an untitled Terrence Malick flick.
All that sounds kinda encouraging if you're an Hathaway or J.Law, right? (Especially Lawrence, who is already the star of her own action franchise, The Hunger Games.)
But dig deeper, and the news isn't necessarily all that good. Almost every big-budget film project I mentioned above is a supporting role...for a flick starring men.
Leo's Olympus Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. (The $40 million Snowpiercer, an upcoming project of last year's Best Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer, is toplined by Chris Evans and Ed Harris.)
Portman's Knight of Cups appears to star not her but rather Christian Bale; and the Malick gig is toplined by Ryan Gosling, Bale and Michael Fassbender. The other major push that Portman is appearing in? The Thor sequel. And she doesn't play the character with the hammer.
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Portman is returning to lead roles next year, thanks to a flick she's producing called Jane Got a Gun. Spencer and Leo also have gotten into production. But when it comes projects run by, you know, other people, the script pickin's aren't necessarily great for actresses these days—Oscar or no Oscar.
"Jennifer Lawrence is very young, so it would seem the world is her oyster," talent manager Marrissa O'Leary tells me. "But currently, the better roles for strong women seem to be in television, and I can't imagine anyone's planning to let her go down that road now.
"Women her age usually end up with the girlfriend roles, not the center of the story. Maybe J. Law will inspire studios and writers to change the development trajectories now."
Or maybe J.Law should follow in Portman's footsteps--and Drew Barrymore's--open up Jennifer Lawrence Productions, and make sure she gets the roles she deserves.
Wouldn't that be something?