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Post-Oscar moves can be risky business

January 03, 2008

MOVING from Oscar to blockbuster isn't always the smoothest of transitions. Here's a look at how some celebrities have tried to cash out after picking up their statuettes -- often with mixed results.

Helen Mirren

Career trajectory: "The Queen" to "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."

Did it work? Undetermined. Mirren has said on the record that she stepped into Jerry Bruckheimer's "National Treasure" sequel purely for monetary reasons. But we have to wonder, couldn't she have fit in another prestige picture beforehand? Perhaps fellow Brit (and Queen) Judi Dench can give Mirren some tips on how to mix it up a little -- otherwise, she's our prime suspect for cashing out after Oscar.

Mira Sorvino

Career trajectory: "Mighty Aphrodite" to "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," "Mimic" and "The Replacement Killers."

Did it work? No. Sorvino's Oscar win raised eyebrows with many award watchers. And yet, instead of cementing her acting credibility by following up with a few respectable dramas, Sorvino went for the dough and tried to fashion herself as a leading lady. The results were disastrous.

Nicolas Cage

Career trajectory: "Leaving Las Vegas" to "The Rock," "Con Air" and "Face/Off."

Did it work? Smart move. Cage took his newfound Oscar credibility and comedy experience in earlier films such as "Moonstruck" and "Honeymoon in Vegas" and established himself as a blockbuster action star. Very few have been able to duplicate his success.

Hilary Swank

Career trajectory: "Boys Don't Cry" to "The Affair of the Necklace" and "The Core."

Did it work? Not really. Instead of attempting to gain even more of a pedigree in independent cinema, Swank opted for Hollywood flicks, which bombed and dogged her with the label "one-shot wonder." Luckily, Clint Eastwood revived Swank's career in "Million Dollar Baby" and she was awarded a second Oscar. It remains to be seen whether "P.S. I Love You" will help -- or send her back to square one again.

Angelina Jolie

Career trajectory: "Girl, Interrupted" to "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider."

Did it work? Without a doubt. Jolie successfully followed the Nick Cage career model from Oscar to action hero. Her notoriety in the media helped establish her as a global superstar and the world's hottest humanitarian.

Benicio Del Toro

Career trajectory: "Traffic" to "The Hunted."

Did it work? Nope. Del Toro also tried to copy Cage's journey to lucrative action stardom. Unfortunately, critics say, he caught director William Friedkin about 20 years past his prime.

Dianne Wiest

Career trajectory: "Hannah and Her Sisters" to "The Lost Boys.

Did it work? Good move. Following her first Oscar win in Woody Allen's "Hannah," Wiest didn't overextend herself in any blockbuster misfires. Instead, she took on a number of plum supporting roles in popular flicks such as "The Lost Boys," "Bright Lights, Big City," "Parenthood" and "Edward Scissorhands." Before anyone knew it, she was teaming with Allen again in "Bullets Over Broadway" and accepting her second golden statuette.

Kevin Kline

Career trajectory: "A Fish Called Wanda" to "January Man" and "I Love You to Death."

Did it work? Hollywood tried to fashion Kline into a leading man, but these two comedy duds made many question whether he could ever carry a flick. It wasn't until 1997's "In & Out" that he top-lined a comedy hit on his own.

Charlize Theron

Career trajectory: "Monster" to "Aeon Flux" and "North Country."

Did it work? Nope. Theron's Oscar win was preceded by the surprise hit "The Italian Job," but she's found box-office success a difficult prospect since. "North Country" received kind reviews but tepid interest from audiences. And the live-action "Flux" was a troubled production that turned into a complete misfire all the way around.

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Compiled by the staff of The Envelope.com.

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