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From an interesting article in Forbes.com:

“Later [today], when Clint Eastwood faces off against Martin Scorsese in the battle for the Academy Award for best director, they could be fighting over much more than a gold statue. Life itself could be at stake. A study by a University of Toronto physician suggests that winning an Oscar can extend a director’s life-span dramatically.

In fact, Oscar-winning directors live about two years longer than those who were just nominated, the result of a 24% decrease in the risk of death over their lifetimes. Those with multiple wins saw their average risk of death decrease 48% compared to those with only one statuette.

The results — a repeat of similar findings in actors — are thought to provide a powerful window into the ways that success is good for us. Donald Redelmeier, a researcher at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, saw in Oscar winners a perfect laboratory for helping to explain 20-year-old data that show that success has a powerful influence on a person’s health.”

There is an interesting anomaly in this research however:

“Redelmeier and hs colleagues tried the same technique with screenwriters, and what they found shocked them. ‘The screenwriters are a real anomaly,’ Redelmeier says. ‘Generally, they live shorter lives and their survival is not improved by winning an Oscar.’

In fact, statistically speaking, Oscar-winning writers actually die on average 3.6 years sooner their peers who are just nominated. Redelmeier offers two possible explanations. First, professional prestige has less of a direct impact on screenwriter’s careers than it does on actors and directors. After all, screenplays are read anonymously and who remembers who actually wrote Driving Miss Daisy? Another possible factor? Unhealthy lifestyles. Award-winning actors and directors wind up with entourages of personal trainers and nutritionists who make sure they take care of themselves. Writers don’t. Indeed, the financial security brought on by winning an Oscar may even allow them to indulge more deeply in their unhealthy habits.

‘It’s very difficult to sort out the writers because their lives are lived in such obscurity,’ he says.”

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