How the lives of Hollywood's leading ladies were destroyed by the Oscars.

The clue to the misfortune awaiting so many actresses can be found hidden within the most famous Oscar acceptance line of all time.

“I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

This iconic Oscars line was uttered by Sally Field as she accepted her Best Actress award for her role in the 1984 film Places In The Heart. 

“Right now, you like me” is a phrase that so rightly sums up the disposable role so many actresses play in the churning, money-making machine that is Hollywood.

It appears that when actresses are young, beautiful and successful they are happily handed statutes, adoration and acclaim, but it all often comes with a ticking clock attached. From an audience perspective, it can often appear that scoring an Oscar is a pretty much life’s golden ticket, one that sets you up for further career success.

But history has proven that nothing could be further from the truth.

From battling drug addiction, to losing film roles after rebuffing sexual advances, to bankruptcy and stepping away from movies due to poor mental health, here are just some of the actresses whose lives became difficult after they won an Oscar.

 Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford (who was born Lucille Fay LeSueur) won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1946 for Mildred Pierce.

At the height of her career, she was one of Hollywood’s most lauded leading ladies, but following her Oscar win her career took a downward turn. In order to try and reclaim her career and continue working in the youth-obsessed film industry, Crawford pitched and starred in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? in 1962, opposite her “arch-nemesis” Bette Davis who was also finding it hard to land film roles following her own Oscar wins.

In 1973, Crawford was forced to retire from being the face of Pepsi-Cola at the behest of company executive Don Kendall, which was rumored to be because of her age and declining star power.

Her last public appearance was made on September 23, 1974.  After a lifetime of working in an industry that only valued her for her looks, Crawford saw a series of photos of herself from the September event and then canceled all public appearances, began declining interviews and hid inside her apartment after stating “if that’s how I look, then they won’t see me anymore”.

Joan Crawford died in her New York apartment of a myocardial infarction in 1978. She explicitly disinherited her two eldest children, Christina and Christopher, from her will “for reasons which are well known to them”.

In November 1978, Christina Crawford published the book Mommie Dearest, which contained allegations that her late adoptive mother was emotionally and physically abusive to Christina and her brother Christopher because she chose to be famous instead of raising her children.

Joan Crawford won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 for Mildred Pierce. Source: Getty.

Mira Sorvino

In 1995, it appeared that talented actress Mira Sorvino was set to be one of Hollywood's most beloved and successful leading ladies.

That year she was cast in the Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite and her turn as a happy-go-lucky prostitute was well received by both critics and moviegoers. For the role she won both an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1996 and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in the same year.

Her star looked to be very much on the rise, but then it fell.

It was not until 2017 that Mira Sorvino spoke publicly about the sexual harassment she endured from producer Harvey Weinstein, saying her career was damaged after rebuffing Weinstein's advances.

Sorvino claimed that Weinstein blacklisted her from future movie roles and in December 2017, director Peter Jackson confirmed that Weinstein's company Miramax had urged him not to cast Sorvino in his Lord of the Rings series.

Mira Sorvino won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Mighty Aphrodite in 1996. Source: Getty.

Tatum O'Neal

Tatum O'Neal holds the record for the youngest person to ever win a competitive Academy Award, which she won for Best Supporting Actress at age 10 for playing Addie Loggins in Paper Moon opposite her father, Ryan O'Neal.

Despite finding early Oscar success as a child star, she went on to appear in only five films during the next 15 years, while struggling in her personal life.

On June 1, 2008, she was arrested for buying crack cocaine near her Manhattan apartment building and when police searched her apartment, they allegedly found two bags of drugs—one of crack cocaine, one of powder cocaine—and an unused crack pipe. She was charged with a misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance. On July 2, 2008, O'Neal pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with the arrest and agreed to spend two half-day sessions in a drug treatment program.

She went on to do a few guest appearances in TV shows like Sex and the City and Order: Criminal Intent, but Hollywood very much turned their back on her after she was no longer an adorable child star happily clutching her golden Oscar.

Tatum O'Neal is the youngest person ever to win a competitive Academy Award, which she won in 1974. Source: Getty.

Kim Basinger

Thanks to her critically acclaimed role in L.A. Confidential Kim Basinger won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1998.

While she did go on to land more film roles following her Oscar success, her personal and financial life were far less rosy.

She divorced her husband Alec Baldwin in 2002. He then went on to pen a book about her in 2008 called A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, and detailed the contentious custody battle they had over their daughter.


Basinger also went on to file for bankruptcy, and her ongoing financial difficulties were exacerbated when she pulled out of the controversial film Boxing Helena in 1993 which resulted in the studio winning a $8.1 million judgment against her. She and the studio settled for $3.8 million payment instead.

Kim Basinger won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1998. Source: Getty.


Monique Angela Hicks, known professionally as Mo'Nique, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2010 for her role as Mary Lee Johnston in the critically acclaimed film Precious.

The actress later told The Hollywood Reporter that she refused to campaign for her award and was told by the film's director Lee Daniels that as a result the perception now was that she's "difficult" and "tacky" to work with, and so she lost out on several roles as a result.

"I get asked that question a lot: How did the Oscar change my life? What it did was that it gave me a new reality," she told the publication.

MO'NIQUE won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2010. Source: Getty.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook at the 2013 Oscars.

While her narrative following her big win Oscar win does not come across quite as difficult as some of the actresses who came before her (at least to our outside eyes) she has also retreated from the spotlight following her acceptance speech on the Academy stage.

“I’m going to take the next year off,” she told ET in 2018, explaining that she would prefer to concentrate on volunteer work then continue working the celebrity circuit. She is still a successful actress but she has also been very open about feeling traumatised by the pressure of the Oscars.

"One of the dangers in the film industry is that things are too fast,'" she said in an interview published in Madame Figaro.

On the day she received the coveted Oscar award, she told ET about the stress associated with it, saying "I want to sit on my couch and drink and not change my pants for days at a time. Don't ask me about my schedule because I'm sinking into a bit of depression".

Jennifer Lawrence won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook in 2013.

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