After Jean Dujardin’s Oscar win for The Artist this year, I started thinking about which direction his career will take now that he’s won Hollywood’s highest honour. Do you remember Roberto Benigni? He won an Oscar for his role in Life is Beautiful in 1998. After that he made only five other films, one of which was a critical and commercial disaster – Pinocchio. After that he starred in a little known film called The Tiger and the Snow and he’s done little else since.
The Oscar curse usually manifests itself in a few different ways. Some Oscar-winners can’t live up to their Oscar win and try too hard post-Oscar by choosing roles in an effort to prove themselves as serious actors (Helen Hunt, Kim Basinger, Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank.) Others give up all efforts to put out decent work (Halle Berry, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.), and then there are those who are celebrated today and seemingly gone tomorrow (Tatum O’Neal, Roberto Begnini, Marcia Gay Harden, Mira Sorvino.) But there are actors whose careers have flourished after nabbing Oscar gold – Geoffrey Rush, Marion Cotillard, Cate Blanchett – who have worked a lot post-Oscar and have made some really good films. Despite the Oscar curse and all of its supposed detriments, it’s also about opportunity and the choices an actor makes in his/her career that determine the trajectory of their success.
It’s hard to predict what might happen with DuJardin’s career. The Artist is a special film and his was a truly rare performance. Sometimes awards season overexposure can backfire and Oscar winners may be left alone to give audiences time to miss them a little. Certain performers aren’t as easily cast-able by typical Hollywood standards. As a French actor from French cinema, it will be interesting to see if DuJardin will cross-over into making American films with the same degree of success as his compatriot Marion Cotillard. His fellow European Oscar-winners, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz have also fared very well.
Will casting directors utilize his talent in other roles – speaking roles – that are a departure from his role as George Valentin? Will Dujardin’s career gain traction following his procurement of the film industry’s highest accolade and with the right opportunities; will he make the right choices?
Let us know what you predict for Jean Dujardin in the comments section.