Oscar Nominees Who Said Goodbye to Hollywood
In the film industry, receiving a nomination for a prestigious Academy Award is typically a sign of being a major Hollywood player. However, while being an Oscar nominee is a lasting honor, it doesn't always signal a continuing interest in Hollywood.
Meg Tilly is the sister of actress Jennifer Tilly. While Jennifer Tilly has been active in Hollywood for years, her sister is less recognizable. For a while, though, it seemed as if both Tilly sisters would become Hollywood heavyweights. Meg Tilly enjoyed roles in hits such as "Fame," "The Big Chill" and "Psycho II." Her career was just starting to take off when Tilly landed the major role of Sister Agnes in the 1985 drama "Agnes of God." In the provocative film, a young novice gives birth to an infant who soon dies. The nun claims the baby is a product of miraculous conception, sparking an investigation that raises difficult questions about faith and belief.
The challenging role of the troubled novice served as a powerful showcase for Tilly's burgeoning talents as a serious actress. As a result, at the 1986 Academy Awards, Tilly received a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Tilly did not win the Oscar, which instead went to Anjelica Huston for her work in "Prizzi's Honor." Still, Tilly's nomination and her amazing appearance in "Agnes of God" seemed to signal the beginning of a legendary career.
While she appeared in a string of less well-known films after "Agnes of God," including "Masquerade" and "Body Snatchers," Tilly left Hollywood in 1995. She focused on raising a family, as well as publishing a book. Although she returned to smaller projects in the early 2010s, Tilly never again fully pursued a Hollywood career.
Earlier than Tilly, Samantha Eggar was up for an Oscar for Best Actress in William Wyler's "The Collector." Her compelling role as Miranda Grey, a young woman trying to survive a terrifying abduction, caught the attention of film critics. During the 1966 Academy Awards, Julie Christie took home the Best Actress statuette. Eggar continued to work as an actress, but shifted her attention largely away from major Hollywood roles, instead focusing more heavily on TV work. After the 1990s, Eggar took a hiatus from acting work.
Child stars frequently seem to reconsider their acting careers once they have grown up a little more. This was the case with the late Jack Wild, whose tough but winsome turn as The Artful Dodger in "Oliver!" led to an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Wild was only sixteen years old at the time of his nomination, and as he aged, he turned his professional attention toward TV roles rather than major Hollywood roles. Wild also enjoyed a successful theater career. Although he passed away in 2006, Wild is immortalized in the hearts of his fans, thanks to his Oscar-nominated role in the iconic 1968 musical.
Justin Henry is another example of a youthful Oscar nominee who decided to change directions later on, although Henry still maintains ties to the film industry. Henry holds the impressive record for the youngest Oscar nominee in history. His role as Billy Kramer in "Kramer vs. Kramer" earned Henry a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the tender age of eight years old. After this early success and a few lesser-known film roles, Henry spent time focusing on his education. As an adult, he has worked on independent projects, TV series and short films.
It's not just actors who sometimes choose to leave Hollywood following an Oscar nomination. Those who work behind the scenes can also experience changes of heart, even years down the road. Robert Wald received an Oscar nomination for his work as a sound engineer. In 1988, Wald was up for an Academy Award for Best Sound, due to his skilful work on "RoboCop." Following the nomination, Wald continued to work on various film and TV projects. In 2012, though, Wald decided to retire from the entertainment industry. The Oscar nominee has found a new passion in life, connected to his struggle with chronic back pain. Wald focuses on developing and promoting The Body Archer, a stretching chair that can help others who suffer with back pain. While many of the nominees listed here have focused on related careers, Wald has gone in an entirely new direction as a business owner and CEO.
While Hollywood may have suffered a loss when these gifted actors and filmmakers withdrew from the spotlight, the nominees have gone on to enjoy other paths. Whether spending time with family or pursuing acting careers outside the typical Hollywood pattern, these talented individuals had their reasons for choosing new pursuits. Though they may have left Hollywood, they also left a lasting and important mark on the world of cinema.