Top 10 WORST Post-Oscar Careers

Written by Sean Newman

After incredible work on movies, these actors and directors floundered and failed miserably in their post-Oscar work. WatchMojo presents the top 10 worst careers of people who won Academy Awards. But what will take the top spot on our list? Alberto Benigni, Louise Fletcher or Halle Berry? Watch to find out!

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Big thanks to MikeMJPMUNCH for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Worst+Post-Oscar+Careers

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Don’t ever think just that because you’ve made it means you’ll always be there. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 worst post-Oscar careers.

For this list, we’ll be looking at silver-screen thespians and directors who managed to snag the coveted golden statuette at one point in their career, but followed up their wins with years of relatively disappointing work. We’re not saying these actors produced no worthwhile work after their award wins, but the overall quality definitely did suffer.

#10: Paul Haggis

Winning the Best Picture Academy Award is no easy feat, and historically speaking, it cements a director’s legacy for decades to come. A passion piece from director Paul Haggis, “Crash” managed to do just that, while also earning Haggis a Best Director nomination. However, since then, his work as a director has been largely unremarkable, as demonstrated by movies like the so-so action-thriller “The Next Three Days.” Another notable letdown was his work as a screenwriter for “Quantum of Solace,” the disappointing follow-up to “Casino Royale.” While “Crash” isn’t the most fondly remembered Best Picture, it’s still an impressive film by a clearly talented director and screenwriter. So, where has that artistic genius has been hiding?

#9: Geena Davis

Beginning with her Oscar-winning supporting role in 1988’s “The Accidental Tourist,” Davis’ work in the late-‘80s/early-‘90s had Hollywood buzzing about what she’d do next. However, after the critically panned pirate flick “Cutthroat Island,” she kind of fell off the Hollywood radar, choosing instead to attempt to work towards a spot on the U.S. archery team for the 2000 Olympics. She was due for an acting comeback in 2005 when she took the role of America’s first female President in the TV drama, “Commander in Chief.” Unfortunately, the high expectations were not met and the show was cancelled after one season. Our fingers are crossed that her role in the TV reboot of “The Exorcist” will put her back on track.

#8: Michael Cimino

1978’s “The Deer Hunter” portrayed the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way few other films have been able to accomplish. As is often the case, the film was awarded the Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director, with many expecting Cimino’s future work to be equally masterful. What followed instead were decades of disappointing follow-ups, including the controversial “Heaven’s Gate” which managed to disenfranchise fans of both Cimino’s work and the western genre altogether. In fact, “Heaven’s Gate” was such a failure both critically and commercially, and the making of the movie was such a disaster; it even caused people to reevaluate their thoughts on his Oscar-winning work.

#7: Whoopi Goldberg

There was once a time when the statement “starring Whoopi Goldberg” would fill moviegoers with anticipation, but that was long ago, with many disappointing performances dampening these sentiments. Winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Ghost” was particularly significant as it was the first time a black woman had won this award since Hattie McDaniel for 1939’s “Gone with the Wind.” And though she finished out the ‘90s with a number of decent movies peppering her resume, her film career took a downward turn in the new millennium. Ultimately, the most noteworthy work she’s done recently is probably her co-hosting role on the daytime talk show “The View,” which has been controversial to say the least.

#6: Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cuba’s memorable “Jerry Maguire” role nabbed him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and he followed that up with more impressive supporting work in another Oscar-winning film: “As Good as It Gets.” However, his work since has been inconsistent at best. To be honest, Gooding probably wishes someone had told him that you never go full “Snow Dogs,” because that’s just what he did. Many poorly reviewed cheese-fests followed, with Gooding receiving not one, not two, not three, but four Golden Raspberry Award nominations for Worst Actor by 2007. However, if he can continue to attract roles in impressive projects like “Selma” or “American Crime Story,” there may be hope for Gooding’s career yet… assuming he leaves the sophomoric comedies behind.

#5: Mira Sorvino

It takes most actors years to win an Oscar, but Mira Sorvino managed to snag a statuette for Best Supporting Actress with her first major role on the silver screen. Unfortunately, “Mighty Aphrodite” wasn’t quite an indicator of things to come, as the most prominent piece of work she’s put out since was probably “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.” In fact, since 1995, Sorvino has managed to appear in three movies with a career-ruining 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many of the other actors on this list exhibited their talents several times before losing their footing. It’s up to you to decide if Mira Sorvino was just a one-hit wonder whose work is destined for limited release and straight-to-DVD.

#4: Kim Basinger

1997’s “L.A. Confidential” is now included in the National Film Registry, and Kim Basinger’s Academy Award-winning supporting role certainly helped get it there. However, for the most part in the years since, her name hasn’t been in the headlines much – unless you count tabloid headlines. Yes, her work as Eminem’s mother in “8 Mile” was decent, but other than that it almost seems as though she’s fallen victim to the supposed Bond Girl curse – only several years after her 007 film was released. Well that or her focus on indie films is just not paying off. Basinger continues to take on multiple roles a year, so perhaps her acting chops will reveal themselves once again if we’re lucky.

#3: Louise Fletcher

According to the American Film Institute, Nurse Ratched is the #5 movie villain of all time, and the terrifying Louise Fletcher performance that brought her to life definitely deserved the Best Actress Oscar. In fact, Fletcher became only the third woman in history to take home an Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe with one performance. It’d be tough for anyone to follow up such a well-respected performance with something equally impressive, and unfortunately Fletcher’s career has been comparatively unremarkable since then. Sure, there was her work in the disappointing “Exorcist” sequel, and a few recurring TV roles, but Fletcher’s legacy can be summed up by one brush of mastery, followed by flop after flop.

#2: Halle Berry

For the first ever non-white recipient of the prestigious Best Actress Oscar, the world was full of promise after her tortured role in “Monster’s Ball.” Of course, there are two ways a career can go downhill: either with a fizzle or with a bang. For her part, Berry decided to go big or go home, with 2004’s “Catwoman” proving to be what many consider one of the worst films ever. On the upside, her performance as Storm in the “X-Men” franchise served as a bit of a silver lining. But on the whole few post-Oscar careers leave us scratching our heads quite like hers.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable, or in this case, dishonorable mentions:
- Mo’Nique
- Tatum O’Neal
- Helen Hunt

#1: Roberto Benigni

Few films in history have tugged at our heartstrings the way “Life Is Beautiful” did, and Roberto Benigni’s screenwriting, directing, and acting all made a deafening statement about his immeasurable talent. If you were watching the 71st Academy Awards, looking for the next big thing in Hollywood, Best Actor winner Benigni would have been an obvious choice. For Benigni’s next major work, he again took control as director, writer and star; however, the result was not a beloved masterpiece but one of cinema history’s greatest misfires. “Pinocchio” earned a 0% Rotten Tomatoes rating, as well as the ire of critics and fans alike, and we’ve yet to see anything of note from him since.
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