Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top 10 Worst Best Picture Oscar Winners

"Oh no they didn't."

By request, I've put together a list of Oscar's worst decisions for Best Picture of the Year. Some picks might surprise, but I stand by them. See who made the list after the cut.

And check out another take by Fisti here.

*Note: I would give every Best Picture winner (except the one I name below as the worst of all-time) a rating of at least 3 stars. In other words, I don't dislike any of these films, but that doesn't mean they deserved Best Picture wins.*

An American in Paris (1951, Vincente Minnelli)
Though the film features a famous Gene Kelly number, there's not much else going for it. Plus, it beat Decision Before Dawn, A Place in the Sun, and A Streetcar Named Desire.



The Broadway Melody (1929, Harry Beaumont)
It's a standard, light Hollywood musical, and that's it. Didn't even deserve a nomination.



Chariots of Fire (1981, Hugh Hudson)
Really? The film's inspirational score doesn't hide the fact that Atlantic City, Reds, and Raiders of the Lost Ark were better films.



Cimarron (1931, Wesley Ruggles)
Though films like City Lights and M weren't nominated, this a rather mediocre western, and it's definitely one of the Academy's worst picks.



Driving Miss Daisy (1989, Bruce Beresford)
The film is pleasant, even commendable, but "best" compared to snubbed films like Do the Right Thing or Crimes and Misdemeanors? For my money, it's the worst winner of all-time.



Gandhi (1982, Richard Attenborough)
It's a decent biopic that somehow beat out E.T., Tootsie, and The Verdict. Consider me dumbfounded.



Out of Africa (1985, Sydney Pollack)
What's the big attraction here? Redford and Streep have a romance in Africa. It's not that good.



Rain Man (1988, Barry Levinson)
Despite good performances from Cruise and Hoffman, the film feels a bit too melodramatic to deserve Oscar gold. Granted, that could be said of many Best Picture winners. 



Tom Jones (1963, Tony Richardson)
If the Academy was waiting for a British period romp, they should've waited to vote for Barry Lyndon instead of this.



Wings (1927, William A. Wellman)
While this is the Academy's first try, this film doesn't hold a candle to Metropolis or The General.

26 comments:

  1. Glad to see you aren't jumping on the "Crash" haters bandwagon.

    Just saw Out of Africa and I really don't get how it was such a big hit with the Academy. There are some beautiful images in it, but its wayy too long and nothing much happens.

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    1. Yeah, I actually think Crash is better than Brokeback Mountain.

      Completely agree on Out of Africa, but the Academy likes films like that for some reason.

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  2. LOL, glad Gandhi is here. I actually really liked both Chariots of Fire and An American in Paris. In fact, An American in Paris was very close to my 'Best' list; although it isn't as good as Streetcar, it is stunning to watch and just breathtaking in many ways. It was held back my Carron's bland as dirt performance.

    Driving Miss Daisy and Rain Man were close to making my Worst list as well.

    Boo on the Crash love...seriously...yuck. That movie is so overwrought and just insulting on so many levels. Out of Africa is decent enough. I don't hate it, but it's not the best of anything.

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    1. Haha. Well, keep in mind that I don't hate any film on the list. Though, I'm not that fond of Driving Miss Daisy. ;)

      If it helps, Crash isn't on my top 10 of 2005 list.

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  3. Oh, and thanks for the shoutout!

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  4. I still haven't seen "Out of Africa" yet. I was 14 at the time it came out, and even then it felt like it was genetically engineered to win Oscars.

    Welcome to the LAMB!

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    1. Haha. It's one of *those* films alright.

      Thanks!

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  5. Out of Africa is an odd winner. I liked it, but you're right..why was it Best Picture worthy?

    I'm kind of surprised Shakespeare in Love isn't on here. That seems to be a staple on the "This didn't deserve Best Picture" lists.

    Personally, I would've thrown The Hurt Locker on here. It was good, but it certainly wasn't better than some of it's competition.

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    1. I personally think Shakespeare in Love is a rather inspired pick, considering that the alternative was the blandly underthought Saving Private Ryan.

      I also am not on the whole 'The Hurt Locker' is amazing bandwagon, as so many are these days. It was a very good yet not great film; but the other nine films nominated were rather uninspired and some truly atrocious. It should have went to Inglourious Basterds, for sure, and yet even that film probably just misses my personal ballot (of five).

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    2. @Brittani: I'm a Shakespeare in Love fan, so I don't consider it one their worst picks. The Thin Red Line deserved the win that year, but I still admire SIL.

      I actually think The Hurt Locker was the best film of the nominees. No complaint from me.

      @Fisti: I really like SIL. Though, I think it was more of a predictable than inspired pick.

      I really didn't care for the 2009 Best Picture lineup. The only films I really loved were THL, An Education, Basterds, and Up in the Air. Of those, I'd pick The Hurt Locker.

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  6. Never got through Rain Man and Gandhi. Out of Africa is like my mother's favorite film of all time... But I really don't see anything that special about it, either. It's quite ordinary and boring at times.

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    1. Well, Rain Man and Gandhi aren't bad films. I just don't think they were worthy Best Picture winners. Yeah, I didn't hate Out of Africa, but it was nothing special.

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  7. Have to disagree about Rain Man, that was a praiseworthy film I thought, but don't know what it was up against that year at Oscars...

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    1. I like Rain Man, but I don't think it was a worthy winner. To be fair, its competition wasn't that strong though, as it was up against The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, and Working Girl.

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    2. Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning and The Accidental Tourist are all better than Rain Man though...

      1988 was such a stellar year...it's sad that they couldn't come up with a better Best Picture ballot though.

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    3. That's fair, but the whole lineup was rather dull.

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  8. I'd probably chose whole other list but I definetly agree on Rain Man and Out of Africa, those are really avarage movies.

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    1. I'd love to see you post a list!

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    2. Me too! Feel free to post one! ;)

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  9. Interesting choices! I thoroughly enjoyed the list and your commentary. I remember seeing and liking many of these movies, but few of them stand out for me. Maybe that supports your point. :)

    I might defend Rain Man, especially since the movies it was up against -- from what I can remember -- aren't spectacular. (I recall actively disliking Working Girl -- I don't remember why.) Granted, Rain Man is not one of the greatest films of all time, but I thought it was very well acted and its exploration of autism was quite good for its time (today I'd find it rather narrow and stereotyped).

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    1. Thanks! I agree that Rain Man wasn't up against spectacular movies, but I still don't think it deserved the honor of Best Picture. Then again, none of those films arguably did.

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  10. I agree with Rain Man and Driving Miss Daisy, but I think Chariots of Fire might deserve its win. The rest I haven't seen yet, so I can't say much about it. I had no idea Working Girl was nominated as well in the same year as Rain Man.

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    1. I think Chariots of Fire won because it was an uplifting underdog film. It's enjoyable, but I think those other three films I mentioned deserved Best Picture more.

      Yeah, I wish Harrison Ford had gotten a nomination for Working Girl. Joan Cusack got nominated for it, why couldn't he?

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  11. With the exception of Gandhi, Rain Man, and to a degree, Wings, I dislike every movie you mentioned here. And still with Gandhi and Rain Man, they were up against far better films.

    Well done!

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    1. Thanks! I don't hate any of them, but there were definitely better films that should've won.

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