Original source : http://wegotthiscovered.com
Posted : February 2013
Author : Audrey Fox
Posted : February 2013
Author : Audrey Fox
Obviously, the Academy Awards are incredibly selective (not to mention subjective) and the movie or actor you thought was the absolute best will more than likely not walk away with the big prize. But sometimes there’s such an egregious error in judgment, such a crime against the art of filmmaking that you can’t help to raise your arms to the heavens and cry to those cinema snobs up in their ivory towers, “What were you thinking?!” Here are some of the Oscar winners we deem most unworthy. We’re not saying that these are bad films or performances, we’re just saying that given the competition, there were other candidates that were much more deserving of the prize.
I’m not saying The Hurt Locker is a bad movie. But when you look at the films it was up against, it’s a little hard to reconcile the fact that this above average combat film took away the gold. To refresh your memory, it was competing against Avatar, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, and Up, all of which are unquestionably ground breaking films in their genres. Whereas The Hurt Locker was a solid, topical film that no one will remember in ten years, but was in the right place at the right time.
9. Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Look, no offense to Sandra Bullock. She seems like a funny, classy lady and I have nothing but respect for her. Big fan of Miss Congeniality. But who sold their soul to the devil to convince the Academy that this performance was in any way Oscar-worthy? To me it reads like a better-than-average TV movie that got some serious funding and attracted a few big name stars. That’s it. In a parallel universe, this film would have gone by without so much as a whisper. But somehow in this one, the Academy decided that “Southern Mama Bear” was good enough for Oscar gold.
8. Driving Miss Daisy
Back in 1990, the five Best Picture nominees were as follows: Dead Poets Society, My Left Foot, Born on the Fourth of July, Field of Dreams, and Driving Miss Daisy. Four of those films I consider to be important pieces of cinema that audiences continue to enjoy, and the other is the one with the stubborn old lady and Morgan Freeman. Enough said.
I have a theory for how Crash managed to win the Oscar for Best Picture in 2006, and I like to call it the High School Election. When you’re in high school, there could be dozens of highly qualified, socially conscious, future leaders of America running for class president, but at the end of the day, the one you vote for is the guy you know. I can guarantee that everyone in Hollywood has a friend worked on Crash in some capacity. Even I can play Six Degrees of Crash without needing more than two links. That’s the only way I can explain how Crash beat out both Brokeback Mountain and Good Night and Good Luck, both vastly superior films.
6. Roberto Benigni – Life is Beautiful
Beat out Edward Norton in American History X. Do I need to say anything else? This was right around the time that Holocaust films cemented their reputation as being an automatic Oscar, and never is that more evident than with this movie. When given the choice between an edgy, powerful, socially relevant performance and a Holocaust film, the Academy goes with Holocaust nine times out of time. It’s not that Roberto Benigni and Life is Beautiful weren’t good, it’s just disappointing that the Academy wouldn’t take the opportunity to reward a risky, unique performance when it had the chance.
5. Al Pacino – Scent of a Woman
Yes, Al Pacino is an amazing actor. But Scent of a Woman? Seriously? Come on, you want to win, but you don’t want to win like that. This is a particularly obvious example of the Academy’s nasty little habit of neglecting actors when they turn in amazing performances, then trying to make up for it by reward their later (usually subpar) work. The Academy missed the boat on The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, Scarface, and a handful of other films. Oops. So here’s an obligatory Oscar for your over the top performance in Scent of a Woman. But that’s not even the worst part. When Al Pacino won that Oscar, he beat out Denzel Washington in Malcolm X, in his career-defining and far more deserving performance. Which meant that the Academy, in turn, had to make it up to Denzel with an Oscar for Training Day. And so the vicious cycle continues.
4. Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech
A film can be good without necessarily having to be well-directed. This, sadly, is the case of The King’s Speech, 2010′s Oscar darling. It’s a lovely, inspirational story with great performances from Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, but the direction is merely competent. A great director should be able to elevate his material, but in this film it seems that the material manages to overcome some uninspired directing. It’s not bad by any means, but there were plenty of directors that year (some that didn’t even get nominated, I’m looking at you, Chris Nolan) that would have been far more appropriate winners.
3. Ordinary People
Everyone remembers the enduring classic Ordinary People, right? The one with Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore, where they’re a couple grieving the loss of their son in a boating accident. No? Oh well, some films just sort of fade away over the decades, sad but true. Maybe it was just a weak year for nominations. Oh wait. No. This film beat out Raging Bull and The Elephant Man, two of the best films ever made. My mistake.
2. Shakespeare in Love
Look, you will never hear me say that I don’t like Shakespeare in Love. It’s a fun, light-hearted, fluffy film that should never have walked away with a Best Picture win. It’s a well made movie, but it’s certainly not the best film that came out in 1998. Hell, it’s not even the best Elizabethan costume drama to come out in 1998. It was the classic struggle between two things the Academy loves more than anything: period films and Spielberg. Unfortunately, the lesser of the two won out this time. We’ll just have to chalk this one up to Hollywood’s brief but infuriating infatuation with Gwyneth Paltrow.
1. John Ford – How Green Was My Valley
John Ford was an acclaimed director of westerns and dramas in the 30s and 40s. Over the course of his career, he won four directing Oscars, one of which was for the schmaltzy melodrama How Green Was My Valley. In winning this award, he beat Orson Welles’ work on Citizen Kane. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. While there is a perfectly valid school of thought that Citizen Kane is overrated, it is without dispute one of the best directed films of all time. It features innovative techniques bold enough to make a first year film student weep. The fact that Welles was never recognized by the Academy for his pioneering work in this film makes me a sad, sad panda. Anything we missed? People that you think should be forced to return their Oscar, Milli Vanilli style? Sound off in the comments!