‘The Cuba’: How to Measure An Academy Award Winner’s Career Fall

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REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The cream of the acting crop make bad career choices? Say it ain’t so! Welcome to Jumping the Shark 2.0.

Grantland, the new site launched by Sports Guy Bill Simmons, is also taking some shots at the arts world in addition to your favorite over paid sports stars. They’ve put together an amusing (if ever so slightly over-complicated) analysis of Oscar winning actors and how the movies they’ve made since picking up the little gold man don’t hold a light to what they’re often remembered for in the first place.

To wit: They’ve worked out the number by which an actor tarnished his or her Academy Award in 2011, which they’ve labeled (TO (2011)) by using the average Rotten Tomatoes score of their post-Oscar movies, since (and including) the Oscar winner in question. This extends through the end of 2010, and then also the average of the post-Oscar movies through this past weekend. You see, over-complicated barely scratches the surface. Never mind the darkened room you get at the movies, after reading through this, we’ll need it for a lie-down.

(LIST: Top 10 Movies of 2010)

But Grantland redeems itself somewhat by coming up with the word “cubas” as the final difference between the above values. That’s a nod to Cuba Gooding Jr., who won Best Supporting Actor for Jerry Maguire 15 years ago but hasn’t exactly troubled Academy voters since.

But on with the show. The top 10 begins with regular offender Nicolas Cage (whose career trajectory truly has been spectacular since his Best Actor win for Leaving Las Vegas in 1995) tying with Julia Roberts. They have a score of 1.8 cubas, which, in Cage’s case for example, is the difference between his Post-Oscar, pre-2011 Tomatometer average of 52.7% and current post-Oscar Tomatometer average of 50.9 % (got it? Good). As for Roberts, if the reviews for Larry Crowne are anything to go by, it could get worse for her if this exercise is ever repeated (and please God it isn’t).

Speaking of Larry Crowne, co-star and director Tom Hanks finds himself at no. 7 with 2.2 cubas (Geoffrey Rush is between him and Roberts/Cage) before we arrive at a slew of actresses in the form of Frances McDormand (2.5), Penélope Cruz (2.9), Jennifer Connelly (3.6) and Helen Mirren (6.3) who is advised to go back to playing Queen’s.

This just leaves us with the runner-up and, er, winner. A hefty 24 cubas is doled out to Christoph Waltz (“Who told him it was a good idea to take a role — as The Green Hornet‘s villain — that Nicolas Cage passed on?” is Grantland’s wise summation). But Waltz misses out on the top spot to this year’s Best Actress, Natalie Portman, who leads the way with 28 cubas. Grantland can’t be the first to note that she hasn’t exactly extended herself to the same degree post-Black Swan with the likes of No Strings Attached and Your Highness. But it seems to us that La Portman now has two options: star in some low-budget, worthy indie flicks, like ASAP, or get out of the acting game and enjoy motherhood for a while. Because if there’s one thing you don’t want on your resume, it’s 28 cubas.

PHOTOS: Natalie Portman’s Career

Glen Levy is an Executive Producer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @glenjl. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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