Last year, after a charmed awards season, Sandra Bullock was announced as the winner of the best actress Academy Award for her performance in "The Blind Side". In accepting her award, she made the standard Hollywood thank yous - her manager, her mother, her agent, the cast and crew. However, one thank you was suspiciously absent. Bullock did not thank her husband, Jesse James, leading many to believe that the pair's marriage was on the rocks.

Within mere days, those speculations were proven right. After James' alleged philandering became widely publicized, Bullock filed for divorce. In doing so, she joined an elite group of women, including Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, and 2009 winner Kate Winslet, all of whom were divorced within months of winning the Oscar Award for best actress.

Although this may seem like a coincidence, merely indicative of the short-term nature of most Hollywood marriages, a recent study has proven that there is some truth this 'Best Actress Curse'. The study, which was performed by researchers at the University of Toronto and Carnegie Mellon University, analyzed the 751 nominees for best actor and best actress between the years of 1936 and 2010. Researchers found that best actress winners had a 63 percent chance of their marriages ending sooner than the nominees who did not win. In addition, the median marriage length for winners was 4.3 years, while nominees had a median of 9.5 years.

The same trends did not hold true for best actor winners, leading researchers to believe that traditional social norms may be behind the curse. "Gender differences have historically given roles with greater power and status to men and roles with lesser status and power to women," said researcher Tiziana Casciaro. "Breaching this social norm within a marriage...can strain the relationship."

Source: Science Daily, "The Oscar Curse? Oscar Win for Best Actress Increases the Risk of Divorce, Study Suggests", 28 January 2011