In addition to big-time recognition for a specific role, an Academy Award win in one of the Best Acting categories generally gives the winner tremendous career options.
Scripts pour in.
Producers beg Oscar recipients to be in their flicks, for the name recognition alone.
Some actors have used this newly acquired clout to enable them to do very good, very interesting work. Think Hilary Swank, for example. She worked as mostly an anonymous actor for years before getting the gold statue for Boys Don't Cry in 1999.
That one win catapulted her into a completely different level of available roles and possibilities.
But, there are lots of artists who miss out on the career path that Oscar can provide. Actors that make poor choices with their new-found Hollywood-cred.
Here's my list of Academy Award winners whose careers have devolved, artistically at least, since their red carpet win:
What Are They Thinking?
Cuba Gooding, Jr: Despite winning the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, the Jerry McGuire "Show me the money!" guy's career flopped soon after his acceptance speech.
After a solid follow-up role in As Good As It Gets, Gooding's career has devolved into movies that go straight to DVD (End Game) and flicks of no real relevance.
Anyone remember Snow Dogs?
Jaimee Foxx: Foxx followed up an incredible supporting role in Collateral with an Academy Award winning lead in Ray.
I hope that title isn't a harbinger of things to come.
Gwyneth Paltrow: I thought she stole the Oscar win for Shakespeare In Love. Since then, she's done nothing really to earn my respect.
Duets, with Huey Lewis? The best part of that movie was a karaoke-singin' Paul Giamatti. And Shallow Hal? C'mon...
Name one great role she's had since 1999.
Nicolas Cage: I'm such a fan of Cage's work that it's painful for me to add him to this list. But, I keep waiting for something as good as Leaving Las Vegas.
Dude, when you show us the goods like to you did in Vegas, The Rock, Windtalkers and Ghost Rider just seem third rate.
Somebody might put out an SOS.