The Crime: Apart from the singing career, you mean? Try Mariah's movie debut, 2001’s Glitter , the not-at-all-a-vanity-project tale of a nightclub singer who becomes an overnight sensation after shagging Max Beesley.
The Razzie was practically in the bag the second Carey's strangely placid, unemotive face appeared on a 30 ft screen.
The Comeback: Talk about a makeover...or, in this case, a dressing down. A dowdy, face-fuzzed Carey makes a spectacularly odd choice to play a teacher in Lee Daniels' hard-hitting Precious.
Yet the director's judgement is vindicated by a performance of enormous sympathy and strength that is entirely warble-free.
All is Forgiven? Not yet - there's a lot to atone for. But as long as Carey stays away from rom-coms, chick flicks and anything that involves her singing, she might make it as an actress.
After all, if Cher can do it...
The Crime: A small-screen icon thanks to E.R. , Clooney was fast-tracked to the A-list and one of Hollywood's biggest roles: Batman.
However, he forgot to read the small print. The project in question was Batman and Robin , and Clooney found himself playing third fiddle to a sub-zero Arnie Schwarzenegger and a feverish Joel Schumacher. The film's temperature? Tepid.
The Comeback: Hiding behind a mask probably saved Clooney: hardly anybody remembers he was even in it.
Gorgeous George quietly stepped away from the considerable wreckage into the arms of indie-kid Steven Soderbergh, who relocated Clooney’s smouldering cool in Out of Sight .
All is Forgiven: Totally – today, Clooney might well be Hollywood’s most interesting star. His ability to spot the cream of directorial talent rarely falters, and he’s shown similarly impeccable taste as a director in his own right.
Incidentally, what happened to his Out Of Sight co-star, the hugely impressive Jennifer Lopez? Oh yeah: Bennifer.
The Crime: All it took was one name-splice to send Affleck hunting for the good will he'd accrued after his Matt Damon period.
The Bennifer years thoroughly trashed Affleck's mojo – specifically, their laughable on-screen romance in Gigli . If a career could ever be said to collapse in a single scene, it’s surely "turkey time." Gobble, gobble.
The Comeback: Stage One of Affleck’s rehabilation: dumping the ‘ennifer. Stage Two: his low-key but well-received turn as tragic Superman star George Reeves in Hollywoodland.
Yet Affleck's on this list for Stage Three: his move behind the camera to direct Gone Baby Gone , which reminded us of the storytelling intelligence and emotional toughness that made his name in the first place.
All is Forgiven? Affleck’s future rests largely on The Town , his forthcoming sophomore gig as a director which also marks his first lead role for years.
Get it right, and he’s set as a two-fer; get it wrong, and all of his bridges are burned.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
The Crime: 1960 was a red letter for Liz. She became the highest paid actress in Hollywood after accepting the role of a generation as Cleopatra , before winning an Oscar for her performance in Butterfield 8 the same year.
Fast-forward three years: a highly publicised on-set romance with co-star Richard Burton, a ballooning budget that makes Titanic look thrifty, and indifference from audiences whose idea of 'epic' had been changed by Lawrence of Arabia .
The Comeback: Reputations precede big stars... which in turned out to be a blessing when it came to casting the much-anticipated film of Edward Albee’s hit play, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
Taylor's tempestuous personal life with now-hubbie Burton made both pretty much Method-casting as snarling, spiteful marrieds Martha and George, despite the absence of Liz's trademark glam. Both were nominated for Oscars, Taylor winning hers.
All is Forgiven? Sadly, playing an older woman saddled the thirtysomething Taylor with the perception of no longer being a sex symbol. As great roles dried up, she settled into dotage as a celebrity grand dame.
Burton fared better on-screen, but by now his destiny was inextricably linked to Taylor's. Even divorce couldn't separate them - they were remarried the next year, although that second chance proved equally fruitless.
The Crime: The hot music promo helmer of his generation, Fincher was parachuted into the deep end with the unfocused, written-on-the-fly hell of Alien 3 .
Fans and critics, merciless in their derision, pounced on Fincher for having the temerity to think he could follow in the footsteps of Ridley Scott and James Cameron.
The Comeback: Fincher survived the eighth deadly sin - scorn - by concentrating on the traditional seven.
Or, in this case, Se7en , an uncomfortable, gripping serial killer movie that demonstrated a moral purpose and storytelling ambition to match Fincher's visual wizardry.
All is Forgiven? Hell yes. With Fight Club , Zodiac and Bejamin Button , Fincher has proven himself to be one of Hollywood’s most electrifying talent of recent years.
Let’s put it this way. He’s currently finishing a film about Facebook – Facebook! – and we're still excited.
The Crime: He was touted as the Brando of his generation...and unfortunately, Rourke squandered his early potential just as surely as Brando did.
With the obvious exception that the pre- Godfather Brando never made a film as bad as Wild Orchid .
The Comeback: Bruised and beaten from his sabbatical as a boxer, the no-longer-beautiful Rourke became an obvious choice to play one-note villainous henchmen.
Until Robert Rodriguez remembered the noble cool of early-80s Rourke and cast him as Marv, the brute with a heart of gold who brought pathos to the hyperreal violence of Sin City .
All is Forgiven? With Rourke's real-life setbacks feeding into an older, wiser on-screen persona, it's just a matter of finding the right role. Which he did, wowing us all over again with The Wrestler .
Very much back in demand, his next stop is playing Iron Man 2 supervillain Whiplash alongside fellow comeback kid Robert Downey Jr. We like to think they've been swapping war wound stories between takes.
The Crime: That performance as Mary Corleone in Daddy's The Godfather Part 3 .
In her defence, it's not easy being an untrained actress parachuted in at the last minute to replace Winona Ryder. On the other hand, her gauche attempts at emoting cap the film's thudding disappointment.
The Comeback: When Sofia announced her intention to direct, the sceptics chorused with sour predictions. Until they saw The Virgin Suicides , and the moans died on their lips.
As lyrical and tender in style as Francis Ford's is huge and operatic, Coppola Jr's subtle indie showed she was very much her own boss, thank you very much.
All is Forgiven? Pretty much. Follow-up Lost in Translation bagged even more critical praise, her screenplay adding yet another Oscar to the bulging family awards cabinet.
Her flawed M arie Antoinette (looks and sounds great, shame nothing happens) brought her first directorial setback, but she’s still one of America’s brightest writer-directors and forthcoming Somewhere is eagerly anticipated.
John Travolta and Bruce Willis
The Crimes: When these guys first co-starred, in Look Who's Tallking in 1989, Travolta had spent the decade hell-bent on leaving his iconic 70s dance king image a distant memory. Low point? Take your pick: Staying Alive , Two of a Kind , Perfect ...
Willis, a major star after Die Hard , was obviously feeling charitable, because in the next few years he began a concerted effort to wreck his own career with a succession of bombs: The Bonfire Of the Vanities , Hudson Hawk , Color of Night .
The Comeback: Pulp Fiction , of course. Quentin Tarantino’s unrivalled eye for back-from-the-dead casting - not to mention a bargain - resculpted Travolta as an ironic, louche anti-hero.
Willis, though well out of QT's price range, dropped his dollar in return for being transformed into a subtler, more relaxed character actor.
All is Forgiven? Briefly. Travolta amplified the buzz with a string of post-Tarantino cult hits – Get Shorty , Face/Off – before killing it stone dead with the grand folly of Scientology advert Battlefied Earth . These days, he's slumming it as a family-friendly comic in the likes of Wild Hogs .
Willis forged an impressive second career in the late 90s as the thinking man's genre star in Twelve Monkeys and The Sixth Sense , while still finding time to bust blocks in The Fifth Element and Armageddon . Unfortunately, much like Travolta, he’s been coasting since the Millennium in too many mediocre action movies.
The Crime: There's no time to monkey around, so we'll just come out and say it - Planet of the Apes .
It might have enjoyed sturdy box-office and featured astounding simian acting from Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter, but the dingy visuals and idiotic plot prove that Burton's forte is fantasy, not intellectual sci-fi.
The Comeback: Aptly, given the topsy-turvy universe of his movies, Burton recalibrated his muse not with an attention-grabbing spectacle but a low-key character drama.
Albeit one with giants, werewolves and - literally - Big Fish .
All is Forgiven? Sure. The central themes of Big Fish - imagination and reflection - have given Burton new purpose in recreating the classics in his unique image.
He's sating his inner child with the candy-canes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and impossible things before breakfast in the imminent Alice in Wonderland . Meanwhile, Sweeney Todd took a sharpened razor to his increasingly macabre wit.
The Crime: An odd one, this, ’cause the low point was a film she didn’t make – Boxing Helena .
Kim decided to walk away from Jennifer Lynch’s torso-in-a-box nightmare while she still had legs. As a result of which, the studio sued her for $8 million dollars and stardom took a backseat while she sorted it out.
The Comeback: It's not the most flattering role an actress could wish for - a past-her-prime whore cut to look like a movie star.
Yet Basinger's travails lent her sympathetic performance as Lyn Bracken in L.A. Confidential a frisson of the harsh reality behind Hollywood's glamorous self-image.
All is Forgiven? If Basinger didn't seal her comeback on Oscar night, she sure did bagging a coveted guest slot on The Simpsons – playing herself with self-deprecating humour alongside then-hubby Alec Baldwin.
Things haven't gone so well since, despite arguably bettering her L.A. Confidential performance playing Eminem's mother in 8 Mile. These days, her acting seems to have taken second place to a bitter custody battle with Baldwin over their daughter.
Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman
The Crime: Beatty had been out of the scene since Reds in 1981; Hoffman hadn't taken a leading role since Tootsie the year after. So when they hooked up with pal Elaine May to make super-sized comedy Ishtar , expectations were high.
By the time of its 1987 release, following a prolonged, disastrous shoot and an an acrimonious post-production involving rival editing teams working on behalf of May, Beatty and Hoffman, expectations were even higher - Ishtar was going to be a bomb so explosive it might detonate its stars' careers.
The Comebacks: Hoffman’s was swift, throwing himself into full-blown autism to make Rain Man a rare case of a film topping the box office and the critical lists.
Beatty took longer to regain favour – depending on your point of view, either the frivolity of Dick Tracy (a hit, despite its reputation) or stylish gangster biopic Bugsy .
All is Forgiven? His rep resecured, Hoffman seemed to lose his dedication to serious work in favour of playing Hook . However, he’s recently settled into a comfortable, likeable groove as a comedic supporting player in the likes of I Heart Huckabees and Stranger Than Fiction .
Beatty had one last bout of greatness – mentalist hip-ho'political satire Bulworth – before helping to burn millions of dollars on the purportedly ‘low budget’ Town and Country , a profligacy so outrageous it made Ishtar look restrained.
The Crime: With back-to-back smashes Jaws and Close Encounters to his name, critics were itching to bring wunderkind Spielberg down a peg.
He offered them the perfect opportunity in the bloated, heavy-handed excess of Pearl Harbour comedy 1941 . It wasn’t, technically, a box office bomb, but tainted Spielberg as yet another Brat Pack director succumbing to the lure of the folie de grandeur.
The Comeback: Merciless and devastating. Spielberg learned his lessons well, and came back lean and mean with Raiders of the Lost Ark . Which, we needn't have to tell you, is brilliant.
And then he followed that with E.T.
All is Forgiven? It scarcely matters now. He's Spielberg . The price of an occasional dud - and 1941 certainly wasn't his last misfire - is worth paying for the gems.
Spielberg’s ability to bounce back from adversity has made him pretty much untouchable – probably because, since 1941 , the bearded one doesn’t significantly overspend compared to other A-listers.
Which, unfortunately, means that there's more money for Michael Bay to waste.