The Worst of the Best: Undeserving Best Pictures
Adam McPartlan, Tower Staff
September 27, 2012
Filed under A&E
Almost 85 years ago, the Oscars were brought into existence. A movie has been chosen to win the prestigious award for Best Picture every year since its inception. Nearly 500 films have been nominated for this award, most of which won numerous other awards. Actually, only three films (Grand Hotel, Mutiny on the Bounty, and Broadway Melody) won Best Picture without winning another award, and Grand Hotel is the only winner to be nominated for only Best Picture. Conversely, three films in the history of the Oscars have won all of the Top 5 awards (Picture, Director, Leading Actor, Leading Actress, and Adapted/Original Screenplay): It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs. Of the three, only The Silence of the Lambs won just those five awards.
There are plenty of other notable facts about the Academy Awards, like silent films winning Best Picture, the only person to win five Oscars, etc. The most fun, however, is when people say Best Picture winners should not have won, because there is no standard. Many people say Forrest Gump shouldn’t have won…and I’m one of them. Others say that The King’s Speech shouldn’t have won…and I’m not one of them. Here are my ten Best Pictures that should not have won the award.
10. Annie Hall (1977) and The Great Ziegfeld (1936): In a tie, we have a movie about true love that somehow ends, and a showman who can’t really show. Star Wars should have blown up Woody Allen’s film, and The Story of Louis Pasteur definitely outshined Ziegfeld.
9. Driving Miss Daisy (1989): An amazing film about a racist old woman who has an African American chauffer; definitely Dan Aykroyd’s best performance. While this movie is good, it has no place holding the title of Best Picture when, in the same year, Robin Williams gave his best performance ever as an English teacher in the phenomenal Dead Poets Society.
8. Around the World in Eighty Days (1956): A film about Phileas Fogg’s race around the world has its positives. It’s definitely a good film, but not nearly as well-made as Cecil B. DeMille’s epic about the Exodus story, The Ten Commandments.
7. The Artist (2011): A silent film about a silent film actor leaves me speechless as to why this won Best Picture. Four films (The Descendants, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball) laid more claim to that title than a movie with its best performance coming from a dog.
6. How Green was My Valley (1941): A film about Welsh miners somehow managed to beat two of the greatest films ever made. While it is probable that both The Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane split the vote, the fact remains that either had more of a right to win than the actual winner.
5. Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A heart-warming semi-musical about an Indian on a game show, who wins because his life happens to be that messed up that he knew all the answers, not to mention his girlfriend manages to magically pick up the phone just in time as our hero phones a friend. Frost/Nixon was the best film that year, hands down, because it was real and Frank Langella’s performance as Nixon was brilliant.
4. Chicago (2002): A musical….over Roman Polanski’s The Pianist? A musical…over a film about a real man, with a real struggle, with an Oscar winning performance by Adrien Brody, and Oscar winning script, and an Oscar winning director? Really?
3. An American in Paris (1951): Oh look, another musical. The title pretty much sums up the film, except it left out dancing along the streets for no apparent reason. If musicals win, the songs in them should have a purpose. How did a musical manage to beat not only A Streetcar Named Desire, but also Quo Vadis, a film about a Roman guard falling in love with a Jewish Christian during Nero’s persecution? The answer remains a mystery.
2. The Sound of Music (1965): A musical…again. At least the songs here have a kind of purpose. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t. The makers took a perfectly nice, real story, and turned into a cheap semi-operatic performance for Julie Andrews. The producers probably just wanted another Mary Poppins-esque performance. Doctor Zhivago was the true winner, with a haunting score, awesome performances, and great direction.
1. Forrest Gump (1994): Mother of God, why? Tom Hanks’ performance was deserving of his Oscar for Best Actor, and the editing was great. But when a film’s most quoted line is a girl telling a handicapped young boy to run, and by pure Mary Poppins magic, he can run, there’s something very wrong with this picture. It’s a nice story, but when this thing won over Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption, there are some major issues going on in the Academy.