Current Lives of Oscar Winners

Some have built on their success; others have vanished

A cherry on their resume

Oscar victories only primed the pumps of these perennial B.O. producers

Brian Grazer

Oscar win: picture, “A Beautiful Mind” (2001)

It’s almost as though last year’s win hasn’t even fazed Grazer: He continues to be the B.O. Midas, having a knack for selecting aud-pleasing fare. Currently, “8 Mile” is on track to make $200 million at the worldwide box office. Furthermore, how can one go wrong with a Mike Myers headliner called “Dr. Seuss’ the Cat and the Hat” next?

Jack Nicholson

Oscar wins: actor, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “As Good as It Gets” (1997), supporting actor, “Terms of Endearment” (1983); over his career, he has 12 Oscar noms, the most for an actor.

Look closely at this legend’s resume and in recent years he usually follows a megahit with minor pic, such as 2001’s “The Pledge” ($19 million at the domestic B.O.) rolling out in the limelight of 1997’s “As Good as It Gets” ($148 million). No problem, he’s the Teflon thesp of B.O.

Julia Roberts

Oscar win: actress, (2000) “Erin Brockovich”

With recent turns in such specialty fare as “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” and “Full Frontal,” it’s not always about romantic comedies and B.O. for Roberts, but the quality of the role. Next she’ll play a rebellious 1950s art professor in Mike Newell’s drama “Mona Lisa Smile.”

Making a difference in their career

Oscar wins gave their careers traction

Callie Khouri

Oscar win: original screenplay, (1991) “Thelma & Louise”

Eleven years and two screenplays later, this scribe was promoted to the director’s chair with last summer’s “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”

Oliver Stone

Oscar wins: adapted screenplay, (1978) “Midnight Express”; director, (1986) “Platoon” and (1989) “Born on the Fourth of July”

Early in his career, book publishers may not have been taking Stone seriously (after countless rejections, Stone threw the manuscript of “A Child’s Night Dream” into Gotham’s East River), but Hollywood did. After grabbing an Oscar for his second screenplay, “Midnight Express,” Stone’s filmmaking career immediately took off, becoming the rock on which his edgy pics were built.

Accenting the opposite

Oscar may have honored them for an offscreen credit, but they’ve thrived onscreen in the wake of their wins

Keith Carradine

Oscar win: song (“I’m Easy”), (1975) “Nashville”

Twenty-seven years after his Oscar win, Carradine has racked up a ton of TV and film roles — but few tunes. The closest we’ve gotten to his singing was the early ’90s Broadway musical “The Will Rogers Follies.”

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Oscar win: original screenplay, (1997) “Good Will Hunting”

Sure, Damon co-wrote Gus Van Sant’s latest pic, “Gerry” — but critics believe the pic was mostly improvised. Also, Affleck penned an episode of ABC’s now-canceled surreal series “Push, Nev.” To date, these heartthrobs have more onscreen credits than scribe bylines.

Billy Bob Thornton

Oscar win: adapted screenplay, (1996) “Sling Blade”

Like Damon and Affleck, auds began seeing more of Thornton onscreen than off. Unlike the duo though, Thornton has written some features since winning an Oscar, notably the 2000 thriller “The Gift” and the indie pic “Daddy and Them,” starring Laura Dern and the late Jim Varney. Latter film has yet to see the light of day.

Low profiles

They wowed Oscar voters several years ago, but where are they now?

John G. Avildsen

Oscar win: director, (1976) “Rocky”

This blockbuster helmer of the “Karate Kid” franchise is now bowing his pics at your local Blockbuster. While Avildsen’s last feature was the epic misfire “The Power of One,” his 1999 Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner “Coyote Moon” went straight to video. More independently produced projects are on the way.

Michael Cimino

Oscar win: director and picture, (1978) “The Deer Hunter”

The last time we saw this reclusive director was in a March 2002 Vanity Fair piece. Aside from winning a Prix Litteraire Deauville in 2001 for his first novel, “Big Jane” (only available in France), mum’s the word from the Cimino camp in terms of his future projects. His most recent film was 1996’s “The Sunchaser,” starring Woody Harrelson.

Tom Schulman

Oscar win: original screenplay, 1989’s “Dead Poets Society”

He was lauded for tearjerking. Thirteen years later, Schulman’s makes us cry with lowbrow slapstick comedies, particularly the Eddie Murphy headliner “Holy Man.” He recently finished penning the Fox laffer “Welcome to Moosefort,” for Ray Romano and Dustin Hoffman, about a small-town mayoral election gone awry.

Living up to the legacy

Winning can be a hard act to follow

James Cameron

Oscar win: director and picture, 1997’s “Titanic”

There was a time when Cameron made news about his next summer tentpole. All the helmer wants to crow about is his upcoming Imax docu about the Titanic, “Ghosts of the Abyss.”

Whoopi Goldberg

Oscar win: supporting actress, 1990’s “Ghost”

Recently, Goldberg has been racking up more TV credits such as Showtime’s “Good Fences.” Currently on Broadway in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Goldberg is more likely to be hosting the Oscars nowadays than accepting them.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Oscar win: supporting actor, 1996’s “Jerry Maguire”

His post-Oscar life has been blessed with Pepsi commercials and headlining pooch pics (last year’s “Snow Dogs”). It appears that the thesp is back in action with his own production shingle and three upcoming films: football drama “Radio” and comedies “The Fighting Temptations” and “Don Cornelius.”

Louis Gossett Jr.

Oscar win: supporting actor, 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman”

Gossett’s career has certainly thrived since his Oscar win — on the video shelf. Despite grabbing headlining roles in B features over the years (anyone remember 1986’s “Iron Eagle”?), Gossett can be seen next in the Showtime pic “Jasper, Texas,” with Jon Voight, as well as another vid starrer, “Momentum,” opposite Judd Nelson.

Jon Landau

Oscar win: picture, 1997’s “Titanic”

How does a producer follow up a $1.8 billion-grossing pic? With a remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” (worldwide B.O. to date: $22 million).

Mira Sorvino

Oscar win: supporting actress, 1995’s “Mighty Aphrodite”

She may knock us over with her looks, but Sorvino has yet to floor us with another 180-degree performance. Recently, she has stretched in a string of arthouse pics and lackluster fare including last month’s Gods and Generals as a Southern belle.

Hilary Swank

Oscar win: actress, 1999’s “Boys Don’t Cry”

After riveting us with her performance as a reclusive transsexual teen, Swank’s been spanked with pedestrian parts in “The Affair of the Necklace” and “Insomnia.” However, Swank is turning heads again with new prod’n label Accomplice Films.

Aging ingenues

They won Oscars as kids, but do they still have the stuff?

Tatum O’Neal

Oscar win: supporting actress, 1973’s “Paper Moon”

At 10 years old, she wowed auds with her film debut, smoking cigarettes alongside her dad. Nowadays, she’s more than a smoker onscreen; she’s a swinger (check out Sundance entry The “Technical Writer”). After taking some time off from acting, O’Neal is making a return and setting the record straight in an upcoming autobiography.

Anna Paquin

Oscar win: supporting actress, 1993’s “The Piano”

In the wake of her win at age 11, Paquin has grown to take on spicy roles such as superhero Rogue in the X-Men franchise and a teenage temptress in Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. At present, Paquin is deciding on whether to major in English or not at Columbia University.

One-night stands

They surprised us with Oscar wins once upon a time

David Byrne

Oscar win: original score, 1987’s “The Last Emperor”

Since co-composing “Last Emperor,” this renaissance music man continues to turn out musical works for films, including a recent end-credits song for Stephen Frears’ “Dirty Pretty Things” and the film score for another Brit pic “Young Adam,” starring Ewan McGregor.

Christopher McQuarrie

Oscar win: original screenplay, 1995’s “The Usual Suspects”

While the scribe’s “The Way of the Gun” failed to live up to the chills of his ’90s noir masterpiece, McQuarrie continues to be a highly coveted writer. He has sold an Alexander the Great spec script to producer Graham King and is busy co-writing “Iron Curtain,” about a European hitman, for Intermedia.

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