Award season is always exciting. It’s that time for the movie industry to reflect on its previous year in film, and pick out the best of the best in every area. Perhaps the most prestigious award of all is the Academy Awards, which many actors are still only dreaming of getting. It’s fun to tune in every year to watch the lavish ceremony, see all of our favorite celebrities dressed in luxurious outfits and being interviewed on the red carpet.
Many people even host Oscar watching parties, just to sit around with their friends and venture guesses on who might win next. Though we’re rooting for our favorite movies and actors to win, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. It can get pretty annoying when you feel like they deserve the win and they lose it to someone else. But it’s even worse when the movies that end up snagging the Oscars just aren’t that good.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
This film is a perfect example of how movies can be grossly overrated when it comes to giving out awards. On paper, it had all the components of an Oscar hit. It had esteemed director Alejandro González Iñárritu spearheading it, it had a cast of talented actors, and they even managed their ambitious goal to make a movie that looks like one long shot (it isn’t).
Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as brilliant when you sit down to watch it. Many viewers couldn’t keep up with the plot, and found the acting too artificial – like it would be on stage of a theater – and its magical realism tedious. In the end, Hollywood loves handing out Oscars for movies about the industry, which might explain why it won Best Picture.
This movie had a lot of hype around it, especially since it used groundbreaking technology in filming and special effects. But as we all know, being visually impressive isn’t enough for a film to be great – it also needs to tell a great story. As technology keeps advancing, Avatar just doesn’t stand the test of time, because its storytelling is all wrong.
Not only is it derivative (from Pocahontas, as strange as that sounds), it’s also extremely predictable. While it did deserve the awards it got for cinematography and visual effects, we wouldn’t consider this film one of the best. Certainly not to be nominated for Best Picture alongside The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, and Precious.
Juno is undoubtedly a unique film for its time. The movie tells the story of a wise beyond her years teenager, who gets pregnant and decides to give her child away for adoption. While it has its quirky, low-budget charm, it should have probably remained an under-the-radar indie. Yes, it’s well acted, and it makes some good points, but giving it an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay?
We’re talking about the script that said, “This is one doodle that can’t be undid, home skillet.” Does anyone really talk like that? The 80th Academy Awards were dominated by two wonderful pictures, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, and we don’t think Juno measured up its fellow nominees one bit.
Sometimes, it seems that Oscars are handed out not to those who gave the best performances, but to those who suffered most for them. 2015 film The Revenant was the year Leonardo DiCaprio finally caught a break and managed to win an Academy Award, after years of losing out. And don’t get us wrong, we’re excited for the talented actor. But how good is The Revenant, really?
The film has a run time of almost three hours. Three tedious hours of walking in the snow and getting mauled by bears. Many of the viewers found the movie tiring and lacking heart and soul. And with films like The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Room nominated – its Oscar hype just seems unjustified.
Based on the famous Victor Hugo novel, the 2012 musical film Les Misérables is set in 19th-century France. Anne Hathaway won Best Actress for this picture, and many people believe her performance was nothing short of “Oscar bait.”
Hugh Jackman, who assumed the role of Jean Valjean, wasn’t demonstrating his best singing chops in the film, although it’s nothing compared to the disaster that was Russell Crowe’s singing. In the end, the movie was monotonous, unimpressive, and just too long.
Crash came out in 2004, and seemingly had all the elements required for a good film. It had a star-studded cast, as well as a clever script that brought different characters together, and a great message.
However, the way it went about delivering this (undoubtedly important) message was just so bad. We get it, the movie is about Racism, and that’s a bad thing. But all the movie succeeds in doing is telling us over and over how it’s about racism. Ever heard of “between the lines”? The Atlantic actually once called it “the worst movie of the decade.”
Okay, this may be a controversial opinion, but Braveheart was not good enough to win an Oscar for Best Picture. If you can’t agree with that, maybe you’ll agree that it wasn’t as good as Apollo 13. Either way, it may be some people’s favorite epic, but when you think about it – we mean, really think about it – how good is Braveheart?
Many people found it to be too violent, as well as “historically dodgy.” It’s an action film disguised as a tragedy, and it just doesn’t compare to its fellow nominees.
The Artist was released in 2011, a French silent movie in black and white, but fit for the modern age. It was a pretty nice gimmick, but unfortunately – that’s all it was. It didn’t have a lot to say, and with the exception of one adorable dog that starred in it – it was pretty forgettable.
The movie certainly didn’t have the impact that other nominees like Midnight in Paris and Moneyball had, yet it still managed to win Best Picture, along with four other categories (out of ten nominations).
Training Day is just your run-of-the-mill action film, but it still won Denzel Washington an Oscar for his role. Many people suggested that it was simply ‘overdue’ for the actor to get an Academy Award for his incredible work, and since he’s been “robbed” of his Oscar in previous years, this was actually meant to make it up to him.
The movie itself has great acting, but is lackluster when it comes to the plot and the characters. Sure, Ethan Hawke’s character will get a promotion if he makes it through Denzel’s tests, but do we really care about it?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It’s pretty ironic that How the Grinch Stole Christmas won an Oscar for Best Makeup, considering just how much Jim Carrey suffered in his makeup and costume during filming. While it may have deserved the award for that particular department, there’s hardly any doubt that the Grinch is a pretty terrible movie.
It doesn’t do justice to the Dr. Seuss story it’s based on, and has a 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes – which doesn’t exactly scream “Oscar worthy.”
The Iron Lady
Meryl Streep won an Oscar for Best Actress for this film, and she thoroughly deserved it. She stepped into the shoes of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for this portrait of her life.
But besides Streep’s stellar performance, this melodramatic movie falls flat, relying on montages to get through historical periods and relying too much on the actress. Even Meryl couldn’t carry the weight of the whole film, and it’s reasonable to say that without her, it would’ve been completely forgettable.
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
Since this Oscar-winning movie came out in 1956, chances are you didn’t catch it in cinema. But to those who haven’t watched it, one critic summarized it perfectly as “proof that you can buy an Academy Award.”
The film, based on the adventure novel by Jules Verne, tells the story of Phileas Fogg, who attempts to circumnavigate the world in as little as 80 days. Once you’re done, it would also feel like 80 days have passed since you’ve started watching it.
Suicide Squad isn’t the worst superhero movie from the minds of DC Comics (we can think of at least two that’s worse), but it was the worst won to win an actual Oscar – for best makeup and styling.
All that was fine, but the movie itself had a poorly constructed and unremarkable plot line, predictable twists, and just too. Many. Characters. The only bright side was casting Margot Robbie as the colorful villain Harley Quinn – it saved the entire movie.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean is not only fun, but it’s so well put-together, there isn’t a dull moment. Unfortunately, you can’t really say the same about its sequel, Dead Man’s Chest. The movie was tedious and couldn’t restore the greatness of its predecessor.
It ended up snagging the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, which we can understand. Well hey, at least they didn’t give an Academy Award for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
The Hateful Eight
Don’t get us wrong, we’re huge Quentin Tarantino fans, and we don’t flinch easily when it comes to violence in his movies, either. But The Hateful Eight just didn’t seem to have a point except said violence.
While some people have argued that like many of Tarantino’s flicks, it’s meant to entertain – others didn’t feel the same, and felt it wasn’t as thoughtfully crafted as the rest of his classics. The movie remained controversial, but it managed to win an Oscar for Best Original Score.
Kate Winslet won the award for Best Actress for the drama The Reader, about a woman who becomes romantically involved with a young man. We later witness the boy as an older man, when he crosses paths with said woman in a very different circumstances, after World War II.
While Kate’s acting is good, we wouldn’t consider it one of her best (nor one of her worst). The film itself is just mediocre and devoid of real impact. It doesn’t help that David Kross and Ralph Fiennes bear no resemblance although they play the same character.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Even if you are into musicals (and not everyone is), that doesn’t guarantee your enjoyment of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The film won an Oscar for best production design, which we suppose is fair enough.
However, other than its dark and twisty look that you’d usually find in Tim Burton movies, it failed to capture the true macabre nature of the story. In the end, it’s just another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp flick, and there are plenty of those.
We’re not surprised Pearl Harbor didn’t win an Oscar for Best Picture. The Michael Bay directed film won for Best sound editing, and was nominated for several other awards. This movie is so hated by viewers, it got a score of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
While the filmmakers were probably going for “the next Titanic,” it ended up being a hollow of emotion, wrongful depiction of history. The story of Pearl Harbor is used as mere backdrop for self-indulgent romance and cheesy lines. And does it really need to be three hours long?
La Vie en Rose
La Vie en Rose won Academy Awards for Best Makeup (we’ll give them that), as well as Best Actress. We won’t deny that without Marion Cotillard’s bold, dedicated performance as French singer Edith Piaf, the movie would’ve probably tanked altogether.
But even with her performance, it has quite a few shortcomings. It’s not only way too depressing, it also jumps back and forth through time so much, it leaves viewers in a whiplash – so anyone not familiar with her life story might be left confused.
This movie had amazing costume design, and we mean incredible. But that’s about it. The costume designers may have nailed the lavish outfits customary in the high society of Marie Antoinette’s time, and they won an Academy Award for it, but don’t expect much else from this film.
It’s an odd one, compared to other historical features. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it results in a film that looks like a periodic, but ultimately feels like a teen flick. We’d rather watch Bring It On.
The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass was supposed to launch an entire franchise, and its filmmakers certainly saved no expenses to do so, with a budget of $180 million. It also starred A-listers like Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Ian McKellen, but even those didn’t help the film become a success.
Needless to say, it never turned into a franchise, but it did win an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. We’re not sure that outcome was what they were hoping for, but it’s certainly something.
This film is the work of director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, and it was nominated for multiple Academy Awards – including Best Picture. It ended up winning only the Best Original Score category, which is probably for the best.
The movie has great aspirations, as it combines several storylines around the world, and tries to deliver a powerful message. However, the disasters that fall upon these poor, poor characters could easily be avoided if they only had better judgement, and overall – this film is just mentally exhausting.
Shakespeare in Love
Many people are asking themselves until this very day – how? Shakespeare in Love isn’t a bad movie, not at all. It’s a sweet romantic comedy that’s fun to lose yourself in for a couple of hours. While it’s a nice enough film, it certainly didn’t deserve the hype or the accolades it got. Many people thought it was strange the the film managed to snag seven Academy Awards, including the one for Best Picture, back in 1999.
It even beat Steven Spielberg’s magnificent war epic Saving Private Ryan, which seems pretty odd. Gwyneth Paltrow also won the Oscar for Best Actress, and while her performance was solid, we have to ask ourselves – did it really deserve to beat Meryl Streep’s?
Peter Jackson’s King Kong is a remake of the 1933 epic, starring Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts, and Jack Black. As you might except from Peter Jackson, the movie was perfect in terms of sound and visual effects – and it indeed won Academy Awards for those very categories.
However, the movie itself wasn’t exactly a masterpiece. In fact, as it was a grand homage to the original, many viewers failed to see the point of making it – bringing nothing more to the table than the effects.
The Blind Side
The Blind Side is not a great movie. In fact, it’s was so cheesy and full of clichés our eyes got tired from all the rolling. Sandra Bullock is a very capable actress, don’t get us wrong – but many argued her performance wasn’t Oscar worthy, especially with that obnoxious accent.
The film, based on the true story of a troubled football player taken in by an established Mississippi family, was said to be full of inaccuracies. Many critics thought the only reason it was nominated for Best Picture was because 2009 wasn’t the best year of film.
The Great Gatsby
As you could except from a periodic film of this scale, the production design and costume design were impeccable – which is probably why it won Oscars in these categories. However, as a whole, the film completely misses its mark.
Based on the American classic by Fitzgerald, this movie tries hard to be sensational and over-the-top, but doesn’t really deliver the story as it should be. It ended up getting 49% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and you’d probably be better off watching Family Guy’s version of the story.
Everyone loves a good disaster movie, us included, but Earthquake was not what we’d consider a good disaster movie. Despite its many, many problems, it won the Oscar for Best Sound – which it definitely deserved.
The sound in the film was very innovative for the time – it was released with “Sensurround,” making the viewers feel as though the movie theater was shaking as they watched the film. Unfortunately, that was probably the best thing about it.