Warning! Oscar can be bad for your career

Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:34pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood stars should be careful what they wish for when they hit the campaign circuit in hopes of snagging an Oscar.

It's a stretch to talk about an Oscar curse, but past winners such as Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Halle Berry, Adrien Brody, Hilary Swank and Cuba Gooding, Jr. have not cleaned up at the box office in years.

Put it another way: If your name is not called out at the 81st annual Academy Awards on Sunday, maybe you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Kidman won an Oscar for 2002's "The Hours," but has never headlined a big hit. The actress starred in last year's big Oscar hopeful "Australia," which failed to dig up any commercial or awards gold.

"Considering how many bombs she's done, it's pretty surprising that she's still out there chugging away," said John Wilson, who honors the year's worst movies during the annual Razzie Awards, which will be given out on Saturday.

Kidman, Zellweger and Swank "look pretty in their dress on Oscar night, but the public doesn't care for them," he said.

Since winning her Oscar for a supporting role in 2003's "Cold Mountain," Zellweger's career went cold with such films as "Cinderella Man" and "Leatherheads." She was last in theaters with the romantic comedy "New in Town," which opened to just $6.7 million last month.

"I keep trying to remind myself when was she good?" said Us Weekly film critic Thelma Adams.

BERRY BAD MOVIES   Continued...

<p>Large Oscar statues stand in a tent as preparations continue for the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 18, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>