Now until the Feb. 24 Oscar telecast, Take 2 will run a series of posts focusing on issues and subjects involving the Academy Awards.
Winning an Oscar is the top prize in cinema, and new doors open once someone grabs hold of the golden statuette. Since 2010, Academy Award winners have enjoyed the easy road to riches with more roles and opportunities, some great and some not-so-great. Where the road to gold ends (somewhere past Elton John’s Oscar after-party), winners can navigate their careers with new hardware. After this year’s winners are announced, they have a future to shape. So, now what?
Host “Saturday Night Live”
Brie Larson, Christoph Waltz*, Octavia Spencer and Matthew McConaughey used their Oscars as their tickets to host the long-running sketch comedy show.
Star in a prestige TV series
Winning for “Dallas Buyers Club” was the start of the so-called McConnaissance, McConaughey starred in the first season of the HBO limited series, “True Detective.” Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar for “Moonlight” and is nominated again for “Green Book,” is following the same blueprint with a starring role in the crime thriller’s third season.
After dancing her way to a best actress Oscar for “La La Land,” Emma Stone starred in the Netflix limited series “Maniac.” Patricia Arquette’s win for “Boyhood” did not translate to a multitude of movie roles, but she has added to her award hardware with her transformation into real-life prison worker Tilly Mitchell in Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora.” This summer, Meryl Streep, a name long associated with the Academy Awards, will join the cast of HBO’s “Big Little Lies.”
Sam Rockwell continues with voice work for “F Is For Family” and will star in FX Series “Fosse/Verdon” with Michelle Williams as acclaimed director/choreographer Bob Fosse.
Star on a regular TV series
Allison Janney was starring on “Mom” on CBS before she won a best supporting actress Oscar for “I, Tonya” and continues on the comedy series. She also appeared on “F Is For Family,” “DuckTales” and “Break a Hip.” Viola Davis continues to teach law students “How to Get Away with Murder” after winning for “Fences.” J.K. Simmons may have won for his supporting work as the aggressive music professor in “Whiplash,” but he is a TV veterans who continues to collect small-screen credits and voice work for “Phineas and Ferb,” “Robot Chicken,” “The Simpsons” and “American Dad!” Simmons also stars in the Starz series “Counterpart.”
Before winning for “The Fighter,” Melissa Leo was no stranger to television, having appeared on “All My Children,” “Law & Order” and “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” Leo currently stars in the drama about 1970s stand-up comedy scene in Los Angeles in “I’m Dying Up Here” on Showtime. Spencer starred in the short-lived hospital drama, “Red Band Society,” for Fox, but she is slated to star in a Netflix limited series, “Madam C.J. Walker,” currently in pre-production.
Join a Marvel/DC Comics/Star Wars franchise
In the best picture winner “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” Michael Keaton pokes fun of the need for serious actors to star in a superhero movie. He would later be nominated for this role, but not win. These days, Oscar winners are running toward these role with the award still in their hand.
After winning her second Academy Award with her role in “Blue Jasmine,” Cate Blanchett starred as bad sister Hela in Disney Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok.” Jared Leto won an Academy Award for his supporting role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” and he followed up with a different take on The Joker in “Suicide Squad.”
Lupita Nygong’o went from newcomer to instant stardom with her award-winning turn in “12 Years a Slave.” In the years since her win, Nygong’o has starred in large blockbusters, including best picture nominee “Black Panther” and the latest “Star Wars” trilogy.
Larson make her Marvel debut next month as “Captain Marvel.”
Star in an ad campaign
For many actresses, once they leave the Vanity Fair party or the Governor’s Ball, they sign a major beauty or fashion contract. This is true for Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Alicia Vikander, Stone and Nyong’o.
However, the ad campaign that has had a lasting impression is McConaughey’s Lincoln deal. The other-worldly commercials have been parodied by many, but McConaughey keeps collecting the checks.
Go for another Oscar
Out of the 32 actors who have won an Oscar since 2010, 12 have been repeat nominees. Streep leads the field with four more nominations, followed by Christian Bale, three; Spencer and Lawrence, two; and Daniel Day-Lewis, Eddie Redmayne, Christopher Plummer, Ali, Blanchett, Portman, Rockwell and Stone with one. However, no one has earned an additional Oscar (although Streep, Waltz, Day-Lewis and Blanchett have previous wins prior to 2010). Bale, Ali and Rockwell have a chance to break that this year as they are nominees.