Thursday, March 5, 2015

10 Actors Who Won Oscars for the Wrong Performances

Kate Winslet was a deserving winner, but she was better elsewhere.

This list could be considerably longer, but I chose to focus on actors who gave a better performance in the year they won an Oscar. Note: The performances pictured below are the ones that should've won.

Thomas Mitchell

Won for: Stagecoach
Should've won for: Only Angels Have Wings

James Stewart

Won for: The Philadelphia Story
Should've won for: The Shop Around the Corner

Mary Astor

Won for: The Great Lie
Should've won for: The Maltese Falcon

Greer Garson

Won for: Mrs. Miniver
Should've won for: Random Harvest

Gloria Grahame

Won for: The Bad and the Beautiful
Should've won for: Sudden Fear

Burl Ives

Won for: The Big Country
Should've won for: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Grace Kelly

Won for: The Country Girl
Should've won for: Rear Window

Kevin Spacey

Won for: The Usual Suspects
Should've won for: Se7en

Gwyneth Paltrow

Won for: Shakespeare in Love
Should've won for: Sliding Doors

Kate Winslet

Won for: The Reader
Should've won for: Revolutionary Road

34 comments:

  1. I'm not familiar with all the performances mentioned but I definitely agree that Gloria Grahame won for a unexceptional sliver of a role. I'm baffled that she won for that.

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    1. Yeah, she's so much better in Sudden Fear. She didn't have much to do in The Bad and the Beautiful.

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  2. Oh yeah, Winslet! I'm not sure why her performance in RR is so hated I thought it was one of her best

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    1. She's so great in RR, but I do like her performance in The Reader as well.

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  3. What a great topic! I haven't seen Revolutionary Road yet, but both the book and movie are on my list. I'd add that while Jennifer Lawrence was terrific in Silver Linings Playbook, I would've rather see her win for Winter's Bone.

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    1. Thanks! I wish Leo and Kate had been nominated for Revolutionary Road. I agree Lawrence was better in Winter's Bone, but I think Portman deserved to win for Black Swan that year.

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  4. I agree about Greer Garson and Kate Winslet. Kevin Spacey I prefer in Usual Suspects, though you can make an argument he was deserving for Se7en too.

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    1. Glad you've seen Random Harvest, which isn't a very popular film. Garson is terrific in it, though. Spacey is great in both films, but I prefer his John Doe performance.

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  5. That's a pretty good list, although my knowledge of classic cinema is a bit more limited so I'm not entirely sure if I can comment on those choices. Then again, Mary Astor was pretty good in The Maltese Falcon, though I enjoyed Burl Ives in The Big Country. I thought he was great in that film.

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    1. Thanks. Oh, I'm not saying the winning performances were bad. I just think those actors did better work in those years.

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  6. I'd agree with all of these, although I don't think Paltrow's ever given an award worthy performance in any year, and add Katharine Hepburn for Little Women instead of Morning Glory; Bette Davis for Bordertown instead of Dangerous and Gary Cooper for Ball of Fire instead of Sgt. York. I'd say Teresa Wright for Pride of the Yankees instead of Mrs. Miniver too but that was a lead vs. supporting but it's still a better performance.

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    1. Ha, Paltrow (for Sliding Doors) is probably my runner-up behind Blanchett that year actually. Cooper is an interesting choice, but I'd go with Meet John Doe instead of Ball of Fire.

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  7. Can I also add the 2009/2010 switcheroo? Instead of Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth should have won in '09 for A SINGLE MAN. Bridges should have been rewarded the next year for TRUE GRIT...instead of Firth.

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    1. That's a nice switch. Firth was more deserving for A Single Man, but I wish Bridges had been recognized for The Door in the Floor instead.

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  8. Really interesting list. I'm torn on Kevin Spacey. I think he was great in Se7en, don't get me wrong, but that performance feels more propped up by the way Fincher frames the movie. Part of what makes the movie great is how little he's actually in it. In this case, the threat of Kevin Spacey being greater than Spacey himself, if that makes sense. On the other hand, his work in The Usual Suspects feels more like an actor plying his craft and ending up with glorious results. I also think Winslet was equally great in both of those movies and wouldn't argue it either way.

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    1. Thanks. I wouldn't argue with Spacey winning for either performance, but I do think he's better in Se7en. Winslet gives two solid performances. I prefer her work in Revolutionary Road, though.

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    1. She's great in Revolutionary Road!

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  10. Really great picks! I love James in Shop Around the Corner and It's A Wonderful Life. He could've won for both. And, I totally agree about Kate Winslet. As much as I love her work, she was superior in other roles like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that she could've won for.

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    1. Thanks! Glad you agree on Stewart and Winslet. At least Revolutionary Road was actually nominated for some awards, unlike The Shop Around the Corner.

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  11. I'm not familiar with all the performances on the list, but totally agree with Winslet's win! I actually do not understand why she won for The Reader; Revolutionary Road had more for her to work with, and she was amazing in it!

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    1. I'm a fan of both Winslet performances, but I think her work in Revolutionary Road is even better.

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  12. Great list. I love how for some of the actors, the performances you say are better were given in the same year as their Oscar winning ones. Some of these wins really sting though, especially Mary Astor and Gloria Grahame's.

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    1. Thanks. Yeah, an actor doesn't always win for his/her best work in a given year. I thought Matthew McConaughey, for instance, was better in Mud than Dallas Buyers Club, but that was a supporting role vs. a lead one.

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  13. Excellent list! I'm not really familiar with the classic ones you chose, but I definitely agree on Spacey. Winslet I go back and forth on. The Reader was probably harder for her to do, so that's why she won for it, but she was stellar in RR.

    Julianne Moore definitely won for the wrong performance this year. She should've won for Boogie Nights.

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    1. Thanks! Winslet was SO good in both, but I prefer her RR performance. Spacey was awesome in Se7en.

      Ha, Moore should've won for Far From Heaven. :)

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  14. Spacey's performance in Se7en was SO inspired...I really wish he had won for that instead of his gimmicky LEAD performance in The Usual Suspects.

    Great list and I agree with a lot of these!

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    1. Thanks man! Oh, Spacey in LEAD?! There you go again. :P I love that you place him there, though.

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  15. Great list here. I agree on Kelly and Spacey. But I think I'm here a minority who thinks Winslet was better in The Reader. Her court scene was so magnificent that it keeps me forgetting her in RR, even though I loved it.

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    1. Thanks. Glad to hear you also prefer Kelly's work in Rear Window. I love that performance so much. Winslet is great in both roles, but I prefer her work in RR.

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  16. Hmmm, I agree that Stewart was just ok in Philadelphia Story but I wasn't wowed by The Shop Around the Corner either. Totally agree w/ Burl Ives and Spacey! I'd also add Russell Crowe who should've won for The Insider more so than Gladiator.

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    1. I liked Stewart in both films, but I thought he was far better in The Shop Around the Corner. Oh, Crowe should've won for BOTH! ;)

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  17. YES 1000 times over to the Winslet swap. I love her so much in Revolutionary Road. And that's not to mention that her work in The Reader is a supporting performance. And I love the swap for Spacey as well.

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    1. Yeah, Winslet is supporting in The Reader, and I love her in both films. Glad you dig the Spacey switch, too.

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