With the Academy Awards just concluded, now might be a good time to probe the effect of asteroids on the chances of obtaining one of those coveted golden statuettes. Although sometimes the outcome was political, as when Joan Crawford, furious that she had been overlooked, trashed the nomination of her Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? co-star Bette Davis in 1962; sometimes it was a matter of sympathy, as when Liz Taylor won in 1960 for BUtterfield 8 after an illness that nearly cost the star her life, or when Heath Ledger won posthumously for The Dark Knight in 2008. But most of the time, winning an Oscar reflects a truly epic performance, a role the actor seemed born to play. As such, astrological elements representing that role ought to feature prominently in the birth chart of the winner.
And they do.
Picking among my favorite performances at random, and looking for characters who had good asteroid referents, revealed a stunning pattern of correlations. Essentially, Oscar winners seem to have strong contacts with the roles that gained them recognition most often when the asteroid which most closely symbolizes the role contacts the Sun (showing a strong affinity between who the actor is at his or her core and the character being portrayed, thus enabling an authentic performance), Jupiter (showing increased prestige, prominence, public image and enhanced prospects or potential), Saturn (ruling career and recognition for our contributions, awards and accolades), or Neptune (ruling acting, films, and fantasy).
Katharine Hepburn, with the most Best Actress Oscars to her credit, is a good place to start. Born 12 May 1907, Kate has contacts from asteroids representing all four award-winning roles to her natal Sun. Asteroid Eva (#164, for character Eva Lovelace in 1933’s Morning Glory) falls at 13 Taurus, conjunct the 20 Taurus Sun (and also sextile natal Neptune at 10 Cancer). Asteroid Christine (#628, for character Christina Drayton in 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?) at 20 Leo is exactly squared the Sun (and inconjunct natal Saturn at 24 Pisces). Asteroid Eleonora (#354, for character Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1968’s The Lion in Winter) at 2 Leo is exactly quintile the Sun. And asteroid Ethel (#2032, for character Ethel Thayer in 1981’s On Golden Pond) at 24 Taurus is also conjunct the Sun, as well as semisquare natal Neptune and exactly sextile natal Saturn. These solar contacts allowed Hepburn to connect personally with the character, reaching deep inside to her essence to convincingly portray an aspect of herself that matched these roles.
Ingrid Bergman (born 29 August 1915), who won two Best Actress Oscars, shows a similar pattern. Asteroid Paula (#1314, for character Paula Alquist Anton in 1944’s Gaslight) falls at 19 Sagittarius, squared her 25 Pisces Jupiter and sesquiquadrate her 1 Leo Neptune, while asteroids Anna (#265, for character Anna Koreff) and Anastasia (#824, for the role-within-a-role of Grand Duchess Anastasia which the Koreff character “impersonated” in 1956’s Anastasia) both impact Bergman’s birth chart. Anna at 21 Taurus is sextile natal Jupiter at 25 Pisces, while Anastasia at 23 Leo is inconjunct it.
Other box office grande dames of Hollywood’s golden age with winning asteroid contacts include Joan Crawford (born 23 March 1905), whose tour-de-force 1945 performance in Mildred Pierce is reflected in asteroid Mildred (#878, for the title role) at 8 Aquarius, sextile the 2 Aries Sun, squared the 3 Taurus Jupiter, and inconjunct the 5 Cancer Neptune. Bette Davis’ (born 5 April 1908) second Oscar, for 1938’s Jezebel, can be seen in the placement of asteroid Julia (#89, for character Julie Marsden) at 20 Taurus quintile Jupiter at 3 Leo. Audrey Hepburn’s (born 4 May 1929) award-winning turn as Princess Ann in 1953’s Roman Holiday appears in a close square between asteroid Anna at 11 Aquarius and her 13 Taurus Sun. A few years later Joanne Woodward (born 27 February 1930) took Oscar home after portraying split personality Eve White in 1957’s The Three Faces of Eve; she has asteroid Eva at 6 Virgo, in opposition to an 8 Pisces Sun, squared a 7 Gemini Jupiter, trine to Saturn at 9 Capricorn, and conjunct Neptune at 2 Virgo.
Elizabeth Taylor shares Woodward’s birthday, but is two years younger. There is no Gloria asteroid to represent her first win, for BUtterfield 8, but there is a Martha asteroid (#205), for her character in 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which at 18 Leo is conjunct natal Jupiter at 15 Leo. Since Taylor’s first Oscar stemmed not from her performance per se, but rather as a prize for her near-death experiences of the year before, it is perhaps appropriate that it can’t be found in her chart.
Anne Bancroft (born 17 September 1931), who portrayed Helen Keller’s tutor, Annie Sullivan, in 1962’s The Miracle Worker, has asteroid Anna at 23 Cancer, opposed Saturn at 16 Capricorn and semisquare Neptune at 5 Virgo. Liza Minnelli (born 21 March 1946), Cabaret‘s irrepressible Sally Bowles, has asteroid Salli (#1715) at 29 Capricorn, squared Jupiter at 26 Libra. Glenda Jackson (born 9 May 1936), who won in 1973 for A Touch of Class, has asteroid Victoria (#12, for character Vicki Allessio) at 18 Aries, exactly semisextile the 18 Taurus Sun, trine Jupiter at 23 Sagittarius and inconjunct Neptune at 14 Virgo.
Faye Dunaway (born 14 January 1941), as Diana Christensen in 1976’s Network, has asteroid Diana at 21 Capricorn conjunct the 23 Capricorn Sun and trine a 27 Virgo Neptune; Sally Field (born 6 November 1946), who won for the title role in 1979’s Norma Rae, has asteroid Norma (#555) at 29 Sagittarius semisquare the 13 Scorpio Sun; Shirley MacLaine (born 24 April 1934) has asteroid Aurora (#94) at 27 Aquarius, conjunct natal Saturn at 26 Aquarius and sesquiquadrate Neptune at 9 Libra—in 1983 she won as Best Actress for her portrayal of Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment. Marlee Matlin’s (born 24 August 1965) turn as Sarah Norman in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God brought her an Oscar, with asteroid Sara (#533) at 22 Virgo squared Jupiter at 26 Gemini, and asteroid Norma (for Norman) at 2 Taurus trine the 1 Virgo Sun, semisquare Saturn at 14 Pisces and sesquiquadrate Neptune at 15 Virgo.
More recent winners include two-time victor Jodie Foster (born 19 November 1962), whose performance as Sarah Tobias in 1988’s The Accused garnered the actress her first Oscar. Foster has asteroid Sara at 4 Pisces conjunct her 3 Pisces Jupiter. In 1991 Foster was back at the podium accepting a second Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs, where she portrayed FBI agent Clarice Starling; asteroid Clarissa (#302) falls at 20 Virgo, sextile the 26 Scorpio Sun and sesquiquadrate the 6 Aquarius Saturn.
Actresses Kathy Bates, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman round out my list of female stars who’ve taken top honors with asteroid assistance. Bates’ (born 28 June 1948) performance as Annie Wilkes in 1990’s Misery is represented by asteroid Anna at 12 Pisces trine the 6 Cancer Sun and inconjunct Neptune at 10 Libra. Roberts (born 28 October 1967), who won in 2000 for her starring role as Erin Brokovitch, has asteroid Erin (#2167) at 2 Capricorn sextile the Sun at 4 Scorpio, trine Jupiter at 1 Virgo, and square Saturn at 7 Aries. Kidman (born 20 June 1967) mined Oscar gold with her 2002 portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, and sports asteroid Virginia (#50) at 10 Virgo exactly quintile both the 28 Gemini Sun and Neptune at 22 Scorpio, as well as inconjunct Saturn at 11 Aries.
The men are no slouch in this department, either. In 1934 Clark Gable took home the Best Actor Oscar for It Happened One Night; born 1 February 1901, Gable has asteroid Peter (#1716, for character Peter Warne) at 3 Taurus, square the Sun at 12 Aquarius, trine both Jupiter at 2 Capricorn and Saturn at 11 Capricorn. Spencer Tracy’s (born 5 April 1900) role as Manuel in 1937’s Captain’s Courageous gave him the nod that year, with asteroid Manuel (#12777) at 12 Leo forming a Grand Trine with the Sun at 15 Aries and Jupiter at 10 Sagittarius, plus a semisquare to Neptune at 24 Gemini.
Hop-skipping through the decades, we find Jimmy Stewart (born 20 May 1908) winning in 1940 for his portrayal of Macaulay Connor in The Philadelphia Story, with homophonic asteroid McCauley (#3777) at 13 Leo conjunct Jupiter at 7 Leo, trine Saturn at 7 Aries, and semisextile Neptune at 12 Cancer. In 1950 it was Jose Ferrer’s (born 5 January 1912) turn at the podium, with asteroid Cyrano (#3582, for his starring role in Cyrano de Bergerac) at 10 Sagittarius also conjunct Jupiter, at 6 Sag, and inconjunct Saturn at 13 Taurus. In 1960 Elmer Gantry made a big splash, with Burt Lancaster (born 2 November 1912) in the title role, sporting asteroid Elmer (#2493) at 24 Cancer conjunct Neptune at 28 Cancer.
Paul Scofield’s powerful performance as Sir Thomas Moore in 1966’s A Man for All Seasons took top honors; born 21 January 1922, Scofield has asteroid Thomas (#2555) at 9 Aquarius, conjunct the 0 Aquarius Sun, trine Jupiter at 18 Libra and Saturn at 7 Libra, and opposed Neptune at 14 Leo. Although he refused the honor as a political protest in 1970, George C. Scott’s (born 18 October 1927) performance as George S. Patton in the eponymous blockbuster won him the recognition of his peers; asteroid George (#3854) at 27 Taurus lies sextile Jupiter at 25 Pisces, broadly opposed Saturn at 5 Sagittarius, and square Neptune at 28 Leo; while asteroid Paton (#2727) at 21 Sagittarius is squared Jupiter and trine Neptune.
In 1977 Richard Dreyfuss (born 29 October 1947) brought home the gold as Elliot Garfield in The Goodbye Girl; his natal asteroid Elliot (#3193) at 24 Libra is sextile Saturn at 21 Leo. Henry Fonda’s marvelous contributions to the cinema went largely unacknowledged by the Academy until he found just the right part, in his final role as Norman Thayer in 1981’s On Golden Pond. Born 16 May 1905, Fonda’s asteroid Norma at 13 Leo is squared his natal Jupiter at 16 Taurus.
Despite being in his mid-forties, F. Murray Abraham (born 24 October 1939) seemed to suddenly burst on the movie scene as Antonio Salieri in 1984’s Amadeus. With asteroid Antonia (#272) at 25 Libra, conjunct a 0 Scorpio Sun, opposed Saturn at 27 Aries and semisextile Neptune at 24 Virgo, it’s no surprise he won the award. Anthony Hopkins (born 31 December 1937) is another example of an outstanding actor with a lifelong body of work, who had to wait for the prefect role to receive the honors he deserved. This came in 1991 with The Silence of the Lambs, starring Hopkins as the infamous serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Asteroid Hannibal (#2152) at 13 Sagittarius is semisquare Jupiter at 2 Aquarius, and also squared Mars and sesquiquadrate Pluto, perhaps a nod to the bloodthirsty, violent character he portrayed.
Sunday’s 2011 contest showed results that fit the pattern. Natalie Portman (born 9 June 1981) took home the Oscar for Best Actress, for her role as Nina Sayers in Black Swan. Asteroid Nina (#779) at 7 Capricorn in Portman’s chart is squared her natal Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 0 and 3 Libra. Colin Firth (born 10 September 1960) won Best Actor for his portrayal of “Bertie” (the name by which King George VI was known before he succeeded to the throne, based on his birth name of Prince Albert) in the The King’s Speech. Asteroid Albert (#709) at 5 Virgo is trine Firth’s natal Saturn at 11 Capricorn, and sextile his natal Neptune at 7 Scorpio; asteroid George (#3854) at 10 Sagittarius is semisextile Saturn and Neptune as well.
All in all, some pretty dramatic correlations between Academy Award winners and the roles that brought them recognition. But the truly fascinating thing about this celestial tour of celluloid is the fact that the vast majority of these asteroids were not even discovered or named when the future recipients of their benefits were born, and sometimes not until after they’d won their Oscars! When I figure out how that works, I’ll let you know….