Undeserving Best Picture Winners
Image by Sashandre
Film can be so subjective. One person may love American Beauty, Moulin Rouge or Star Wars and others think they are a waste of time. They metaphorically spit in their face, stamp on their covers. They whinge and complain and their brows get sore with the exercise of raising and lowering.
Today, I will put on my cynical hat. I will become one of those whingers and complainers. I will share with you the films that I think should never have come even close to winning a Best Picture Oscar. And I can do this because I love film, I have watched a few hundred (maybe thousand) films and I know what I like… and what I don’t; as you do too!
Here is my list of the 5 least deserving Best Picture winners:
1. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
– This is one of the worst films I have ever seen. Charlton Heston, what were you thinking. I find circuses disturbing and this was a slow and painful walk through the world of the circus in the time before political correctness and animal protection. It must have been a slow year for films, or the drawing power of one of the hottest stars of the time. Or some money was changing hands under fancy pants tables because this film is bo-ring! Don’t bother watching it. Check out my review at https://oscarclub.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/best-picture-the-greatest-show-on-earth-1952/
1952 Best Picture Nominees:
- High Noon –A western starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Surely this could have pipped Heston’s boring film. Cooper, thankfully, won the Oscar for Best Actor and the film won 4 Oscars overall. Well done!!
- Ivanhoe – England, knights, castles… you get the drift. Starring Elizabeth Taylor and George Sanders. It was nominated for 3 Oscars and won none. Hmmmm.
- Moulin Rouge – Well you can guess what this one was about… France, girls with flippy skirts and loose morals. Starring Jose Ferrer and Zsa Zsa Gabor. It was nominated for 7 Oscars and won 2.
- The Quiet Man – Ireland and USA this time. John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, dowries, boxing and religion. A mighty combination. Was nominated for 7 and won 2.
2. West Side Story (1961)
– What can I say. This film was such a let down. The fake sets, the fight/dance scenes. The cool, tough dancer guys. The predictable story. I couldn’t stand watching it so I fast-forward-watched it! Here’s my damning review https://oscarclub.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/best-picture-west-side-story-1961/
1961 Best Picture Nominees:
- Fanny – No laughing. This was a serious drama film starring Leslie Caron and someone called Horst Buchholz. Set in France and of course it’s a love story. Sigh. It was nominated for 5 Oscars and won none. Awww.
- The Guns of Navarone – War! Guns! Men with sweaty, dirty faces. Based on the Alistair MacLean novel of the same name, it featured performances by Gregory Peck and David Niven. Nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won 1 (Best Effects, Special Effects).
- The Hustler – Hunky Paul Newman – give the man an Oscar! This film was about, you guessed it, a pool hustler, love and trouble. It was nominated for 9 Oscars and won 2.
- Judgement at Nuremberg – Set at the Nuremberg trials in Post WWII Germany. It had a great cast: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster and Marlene Dietrich. Cannot believe this film lost to a musical. Blargh! Nominated for an incredible 11 Oscars and won only 2.
3. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Don’t get me started. This was an ok film. It was entertaining. It was Hollywood does English history but it did not deserve the Best Picture Oscar. It should have gone to Elizabeth. It was rigged I tells ya!
1998 Best Picture Nominees:
- Elizabeth – A great film with incredible performances. Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Joseph Fiennes, you deserved better. It was nominated for 7 awards and won only 1 (Best Make Up). Seriously?
- Life is Beautiful – One of the best films of all time. Poignant, funny and what a story. Starring Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi it was nominated for 8 awards and won 3 Oscars including Best Actor. So there you have it!
- Saving Private Ryan – Surely this deserved to win over the Gwyneth loves Shakespeare tale. Honestly! This starred Tom Hanks for crying out loud. Oh, and Edward Burns and Matt Damon! Yummo. It was nominated for 11 Oscars and won an incredible 5. Come on Academy.
- The Thin Red Line – The poor man’s Saving Private Ryan. Never saw it so I cannot comment. But war and stuff, cool. Starring Sean Penn, Adrien Brody and Jim Caviezel. It was nominated for 7 Oscars and won none. Sigh.
4. Chicago (2002)
Sing, sing a song, sing it loud, sing it strong and win yourself an Oscar! Musicals and Best Picture… not sure if they go. Hmmmmm. Good film, good singing but didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor for me. Starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.
2002 Best Picture Nominees:
- Gangs of New York – A cool film with a little Leonardo DiCaprio and a large Daniel Day-Lewis with an unconvincing (from memory) Cameron Diaz. Not a Best Picture worthy film either, but full of action and drama. Nominated for 10 Oscars and won none. That’s saying something.
- The Hours – A slightly depressing but well acted film. A deep story about a troubled bunch of women linked together by a book. A bit girly and deep. It starred Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards and won uno (Best Actress – Nicole Kidman).
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Great movie! Cannot believe this didn’t win. Action, adventure, characters, good and evil, epic battles, life and death. That sounds like a Best Picture winner to me! Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Sean Astin etc etc. It was nominated for 4 Oscars and won 2.
- The Pianist – This was a great film, a great film. Sad, moving, incredible. Starring Adrien Brody it was set in the Warsaw Ghetto in WWII. You must see it and it should have won Best Picture over flippin’ Chicago. Nominated for 7 Oscars, won 3.
5. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Cranky old lady. Patient old driver. Old age, sadness, victory and death. Slow, grating and a little poignant… but it was no Dances with Wolves, that’s for sure. It starred Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Here’s my review if you wish to dig a little deeper https://oscarclub.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/best-picture-driving-miss-daisy-1989/
1989 Best Picture Nominees:
- Born on the Fourth of July – Hello Academy… Hello?! Why didn’t his win? Great performances, epic story, deep experience, emotions, everything you want in a Best Picture winner. I just don’t understand. Starring Tom Cruise and Kyra Sedgwick, it’s all about the Vietnam war and the devastating effect it had on the returned soldiers. Nominated for 8 Oscars, won 2.
- Dead Poets Society – Um, really? An old lady and a driver and not this film? Don’t understand. This is one of the best films of all time in my mind. Starring Robin Williams and Robert Sean Leonard, it is the story of a teacher that had a profound effect on his students… and more! Nominated for 4 Oscars, won 1.
- Field of Dreams – A slightly odd movie. “Build it and they will come”. And they did. A haunted corn field, a man with a dream and the ghosts of ball players past. Freaky! Starring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards, won none.
- My Left Foot – Oh dear! What a film. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, this was a moving, dramatic film that left Miss Daisy for dead. It was about a poor man suffering from Cerebral Palsy who became an amazing writer and artist! Do I smell Best Picture material? Yes I do! Nominated for 5 Oscars, won 2.
How did I go? Did I hit the nail on the head or did I miss terribly? Let me know which films you think should have missed out on a Best Picture gong!