How does a Dreamgirl avoid a nightmare?

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson burst onto the big screen with a brilliant voice and brassy attitude and walked away with a lifetime’s worth of “Oh, snap!” on Simon Cowell. Sure, the Dreamgirl probably feels on top of the world now, but it wasn’t that long ago that it seemed the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award was cursed. Seriously, go ask Mercedes Ruehl. For a stretch in the ’90s, the Supporting Actress Oscar was akin to the kiss of death known as the Best New Artist Grammy, affectionately referred to in my household as the Milli Vanilli Award. Girl, you know it’s true. Actress (Marisa Tomei) after actress (Mira Sorvino) after actress (Marcia Gay Harden) was all smiles Oscar night, only to see her career trajectory take a decidedly downward turn afterward.

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And before you get all “but so-and-so was in such-and-such and was nominated for this-and-that,” I’m speaking generally. I would wager a bet that both Ms. Tomei and Ms. Harden would never have guessed that their golden moment would lead to such juicy supporting parts in The Watcher and Welcome to Mooseport, respectively. In the last few years, winners like Cate Blanchett and Renée Zellweger have bucked the depressing trend. But a current winner can never be too cautious. So, what do you think? Can Jennifer beat the curse? And, if so, what should be her next big move? A romantic comedy? A gritty drama? Her first album?

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