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Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present 
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Post Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
This list is fairly simple. Pick the Best Picture nominee that you can't believe made it into the Top 5 for each year, and if you're so inclined give a brief description of why the particular film offends you so much.

N.B. The Wikipedia entry for "Best Picture" is very handy for this (no offense to my beloved IMDB). Also, I'm using year of release rather than year of the Oscar ceremony.

2008: The Reader. A completely middling film with a weak third act that screamed "prestige" without being any good
2007: Juno. I actually like this film and found 07 a strong year, but it was a clever little film, not one of the year's Top 5
2006: Little Miss Sunshine. An updated, slightly more serious version of National Lampoon's vacation. Not a great film.
2005: Brokeback Mountain. Sorry, but as a movie I didn't find it impressive. Take out the gay element and what's left?
2004: Ray. A made-to-order biopic with nothing interesting to say. The Aviator wasn't great either, for the same reasons
2003: Seabiscuit. Overlong, with a pretentious sense of being ABOUT AMERICA that made me want to vomit.
2002: The Hours. A pretige-y adaptation of a critically-acclaimed novel that had no business being considered a great film
2001: LOTR: Fellowship. I'd be okay with giving Jackson a director nod, but as a film I found it distinctly lacking
2000: Gladiator. Decent action film. Not anywhere near the year's best
1999: The Green Mile. Yeah, it got nominated.
1998: Life is Beautiful. It's about the Holocaust and therefore so important! Despite the most jarring tonal shifts ever
1997: The Full Monty. This falls under the "charm" category with Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, but it's *** at best
1996: Jerry Maguire. Fun film, but does anyone think it's a legitimately great film?
1995: Apollo 13. An incredibly weak year, but this mildly proficient action film just beats out Braveheart for joke of 95
1994: Four Wedding and a Funeral. Should Love Actually also be considered Best Picture worthy?
1993: The Fugitive. I like a good thriller too, but this is a summer action film with better acting than most and little more.
1992: Scent of a Woman. Al Pacino being over the top and Chris O'Donnell. That's about it
1991: JFK. Controversy aside, a poor film
1990: The Godfather Part III. Yes it's a Godfather film, but it's not a good piece of moviemaking.

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Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:14 am
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
I disagree with you on the parts on Gladiator, LOTR Fellowship, The Fugitive, and your insult at Braveheart.
It seems to me that your just not a fan of epic war or action movies, but even if you are you think their not necessarily oscar material. But thats just my thoughts.


Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:50 am
Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
Gladiator definitely, overrated to the max and easily Ridley Scott's worst film, i'm glad Ebert agrees with me on that one.


Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:21 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
I actually happen to LOVE war movies. Saving Private Ryan should easily have won Best Picture in 1998. Apocalypse Now should have won in 1979. But Braveheart and Gladiator are not great films at all. They're like 300: enjoyable to watch in the moment, but the more you think about them the dumber they are. And while some thrillers (another genre I adore) manage to transcend genre to become great films (notice I didn't protest Silence of the Lambs at all) The Fugitive really isn't one of them. It's more of an action film than a thriller anyway, and action films are rarely great films. Even Aliens, one of the best action movies ever made, my number 2 movie of all time and an all-around kickass movie, isn't something I would expect to see as a Best Picture.

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Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:42 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
I'm going to steal the original poster's method of bolding the winner(s) only. I like change! Change is fun!

1990 - Ghost. Extraordinarily popular though it may have been, the movie is a standard love story with a minor twist. It isn't a terrible movie but it isn't especially interesting.

1991 - Bugsy. I've always mostly hated bio-pics and this is one of the more boring ones I've seen. A fair performance from Warren Beatty doesn't help and a broken promise (the ads told us that the movie would be about Bugsy's fascination with Hollywood -- this wasn't the major element of the film) seals the deal.

1992 - Another vote for Scent of a Woman. It was a movie crafted around Al Pacino in an effort to win him an Academy Award. It worked.

1993 - Seconded on The Fugitive. It was exceptionally dull but, to be fair, I've only seen the first half as I fell asleep for most of the second. I won't be returning to it.

1994 - Four Weddings and a Funeral. I liked the movie enough but most of my reasons for Ghost apply to this one. It made a ton of money and the academy likes the sleeper hit.

1995 - Can't say. I haven't seen Braveheart, Apollo 13, or Il Postino. The other two made sense as Oscar noms.

1996 - Shine. Although not exactly mediocre (though not exactly good), Shine was another movie crafted around a performance rather than a story that demanded telling.

1997 - As Good As It Gets. I hated this movie. One of those mawkish/quirky soap operas that gets nominated more and more frequently, this one had an "action" subplot about whether or not an HMO would come through for a kid.

1998 - The Thin Red Line. I'm not a fan of Malick's storytelling and, in the year of Private Ryan, this nominee felt redundant.

1999 - Either The Cider House Rules (mediocre melodrama with Michael Caine's wavering accent), The Green Mile (plum awful life-affirming recapitulation of The Shawshank Redemption's tone), The Sixth Sense (come on. Really. The Sixth Sense?)

2000 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I mistook the running time of this movie as 3 hours when I saw it. When the credits rolled, it had been only two. And yet I'd somehow aged three hours. It was real pretty, nicely acted, and unexceptional. I think Gladiator is a worse film but I'm using this platform to wonder at how Crouching Tiger managed to capture the hearts and minds of moviegoers the world round when it was about a sword. Whatever. I didn't enjoy it. It's widely considered brilliant.

2001 - Moulin Rouge! The movie is ghoulish, grotesque, and intensely irritating. It ranks among the worst films I've ever seen and it was embraced by millions despite featuring a use of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" that defies any viewer not to reach for the STOP button.

2002 - Chicago. Me and the modern musical tend not to get on very well. This one, like all the other ones I've seen, was also a little irritating. The acting was fairly good, all the same.

2003 - The Return of the King. I lost interest in this trilogy about halfway through The Two Towers and my mind started wandering during Return of the King. It was big and impressive, I guess, but I'd seen enough of what the movies had to offer after 3 hours with the characters. I fully understand why it won (and why it is a bona-fide classic) but just didn't care about the story when this third part came out. BUT: I went in to the movie expecting it to be boring and found myself bored. If I watched it again (I probably won't) things could be totally different. I hope that quells whatever backlash this provokes.

2004 - The Aviator. My reasons are here: viewtopic.php?p=26800#p26800

2005 - Crash, I guess. I thought it was painfully manipulative and leaden-handed but, somewhere on this forum, Trevor made a great point about how it was nice to see it win because it was actually about something important. I agreed when I read that but still find the movie awful.

2006 - Babel. I've written about this movie here: viewtopic.php?p=28378#p28378.
Innaritu's films (aside from his brilliant first one) have been frauds.

2007 - No complaints among the nominees. I thought 2007 had the best crop of nominees in well over two decades.

2008 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Once again, my reasons are here:
viewtopic.php?p=18430#p18430


Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:55 pm
Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
I second The Fugitive, it wasn't bad, but iwas WAAYYYY too long for it's own good and I was struggling to stay awake by the 90 minute mark, as far as Ford films go, Air Force one was 10 times better. Didn't think too much of Braveheart either, I understood why it got the nomination, but for me it wasn't really any better then Gladiator. And Chicago was one of the most bland movies i've ever seen and my mom felt the same way, I don't like musicals in general but usually they mkae me care about how bad they are, Chicago was just totally forgettable in every single aspect, even the musical numbers weren't at all memorable.


Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:09 pm
Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
JamesKunz wrote:
I actually happen to LOVE war movies. Saving Private Ryan should easily have won Best Picture in 1998. Apocalypse Now should have won in 1979. But Braveheart and Gladiator are not great films at all. They're like 300: enjoyable to watch in the moment, but the more you think about them the dumber they are. And while some thrillers (another genre I adore) manage to transcend genre to become great films (notice I didn't protest Silence of the Lambs at all) The Fugitive really isn't one of them. It's more of an action film than a thriller anyway, and action films are rarely great films. Even Aliens, one of the best action movies ever made, my number 2 movie of all time and an all-around kickass movie, isn't something I would expect to see as a Best Picture.


You proved my pointing saying aliens shouldn't have been nominated even though its your second favorite movie of all time, you don't think action movies are "oscar worthy." You love war movies that are modern war movies like Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now which is a completely different genre from Braveheart and Gladiator. I find that comparison to 300 almost insulting to Braveheart and Gladiator which actually had real actors, real stories, and good action compared to 300 which fails incredibly upon second viewing.


Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:56 pm
Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
Vexer wrote:
I second The Fugitive, it wasn't bad, but iwas WAAYYYY too long for it's own good and I was struggling to stay awake by the 90 minute mark, as far as Ford films go, Air Force one was 10 times better. Didn't think too much of Braveheart either, I understood why it got the nomination, but for me it wasn't really any better then Gladiator. And Chicago was one of the most bland movies i've ever seen and my mom felt the same way, I don't like musicals in general but usually they mkae me care about how bad they are, Chicago was just totally forgettable in every single aspect, even the musical numbers weren't at all memorable.


I don't understand the dislike for the Fugitive. I found it to be an intelligent thriller that was captivating which is extremely rare nowadays. It may have had a few plot holes, but it was never boring.


Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:58 pm
Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
Time to bring the thunder.

1990: It's a tie between Ghost and The Godfather Part III. Miller's Crossing and even Home Alone would have been better choices. Well, maybe not Home Alone.

1991: The Prince of Tides. Who remembers this film? Terminator 2: Judgment Day should have taken its place, not like the Academy would have ever nominated a sequel to an action movie, right The Dark Knight? You know what I'm talking about.

1992: I have problems with both A Few Good Men and Scent of a Woman. Glengarry Glen Ross would have been a better choice over Scent of a Woman, and Malcolm X could have replaced A Few Good Men. I'm actually surprised Malcolm X didn't get a Best Picture nomination. It's incredibly watchable, if largely because of Denzel Washington's intense performance. However, Lee's direction should not be taken for granted.

1993: I suppose The Fugitive if anything. I'm a champion of Mike Leigh's Naked, which I'm sure is a more qualified film than said Fugitive. However, I'm not going to take a dump on it like some of the other users have.

1994: 1994 was a good year for film, and this is probably the best set of nominees since the 1970s. However, this is the year that Hoop Dreams, Red, Speed, and The Lion King came out. Ten nominees probably wouldn't have hurt anyone. For the record, I think Quiz Show is very underrated, so I'm not displeased by its existence as one of the five.

1995: Babe over Toy Story? Epic fail. Also, a little 12 Monkeys never hurt anyone.

1996: The inclusion of Trainspotting would have made the majority of the nominees English. (It's half and half as it stands with The English Patient being American and English.) However, I would put Trainspotting over Jerry Maguire, easily the most offensive of the five. It's not a bad movie, but it's not even remotely great.

1997: I'm cool with Titanic, Good Will Hunting, and L.A. Confidential being included, of course. I haven't seen The Full Monty, so I can't comment on its greatness, but great As Good As It Gets is not. Like Jerry Maguire, it's not BAD, but it's not Best Picture material. I would have preferred to see The Ice Storm in its place. (Although Chasing Amy is my favorite from that year.) Also, Taste of Cherry came out then. Any love for Abbas Kiarostami?

1998: Oh boy. Shakespeare in Love is probably the least worthy nominee, and unfortunately, it won. How about Run Lola Run? Or The Truman Show?

1999: I don't really have any qualms here, except that maybe Fight Club could have wiggled its way in there over The Cider House Rules. Same with Magnolia, maybe over The Green Mile.

2000: Traffic and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon aside, this year was unremarkable. American Psycho, Requiem For a Dream, and Dancer in the Dark apparently came sight unseen, which is a shame.

2001: Another unremarkable year. Memento should have kicked something out. I'm probably most offended by Gosford Park, which seems like middle of the road Altman (I apologize if I jacked that term from someone on the board).

2002: I really didn't like The Hours, so that.

2003: I'm okay with this year, Seabiscuit being the most offensive I guess. Pleasantville was better.

2004: This year's a little unremarkable, though I really like both Million Dollar Baby and The Aviator. I'm not sure what would replace the other three and I'm not even sure what the most offensive is. Sideways, I guess.

2005: I buy Trevor's argument about Crash, but that doesn't make it a great film.

2006: Little Miss Sunshine's a little too small, much as I enjoyed the film. Pan's Labyrinth takes use of the medium of film more, so I'd give that one the edge.

2007: Juno over Into the Wild or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly? *shakes head in the direction of no*

2008: The Reader. Obviously. I've also made a case that Frost/Nixon's going to be forgotten in ten years, but The Dark Knight and WALL-E will not be.


Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:06 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
Meatloaf: It's not really that I think genres are more or less "oscar-worthy," but I think some genres are simply deeper than others. Even the best action movies ever (e.g. Aliens, The Road Warrior) aren't about anything more than giving a jolt of adrenaline. Which don't get me wrong, I need from time to time, but a movie that engages my brain is necessarily better than one that engages my adrenal glands. So even though I find Aliens a better film than Oscar Bait like Rain Man and shit like that, I'm never going to make a big deal over action films not getting recognition as great films.

Similarly, with a few exceptions (typically brilliant satires, e.g. Dr. Strangelove) comedies are lesser films. I will never understand an argument that finds Anchorman a better film than City of God or Pan's Labyrinth, which The Times Online tried to make recently. So get offended if you wish, but Schindler's List is on a different plane than Gladiator and always will be.

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Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:11 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
Pedro...you had to think about Little Miss Sunshine vs. Pan's Labyrinth? ;)

Good comments otherwise though. I agree that a little 12 Monkeys certainly never hurt anyone.

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Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:18 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
IMO, the movies that stick out as least worthy are as follows:

1992 - Scent of A Woman - two hours of an overbearing asshole saying HOO-AH! Just awesome. Just because it was Pacino doesn't mean he should be praised for a role.

2000 - Gladiator - Like Roger Ebert with North, I hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Muddled CGI and grunting actors. No thanks. Although seeing Oliver Reed in somehting other than Tommy was a bonus.

2003 - Lost In Translation - yea, i got it. Scarlett Johanssen is lonely in Tokyo. How many shots of her looking out the penthouse window overlooking Tokyo do we need? At the end, I had no care in the world what Bill Murray said to her.

2005 - Crash - nothing personal, but I thought Good Night and Good Luck, plus David Straitharn deserved everything they could get on the awards circuit.


Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:21 am
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
I actually liked Gladiator and I agree with James' rating but I also agree that in no way was it the Best Picture of that year. Traffic, Almost Famous and Requiem for a Dream were all easily superior. The first two at least managed to win Oscars (Traffic got Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor - Del Toro - and Best Editing while Almost Famous got Best Original Screenplay) while the third one only managed a single - albeit well deserved - nomination for Ellen Burstyn. In more recent years, some of the more overrated films that I have seen that have gotten Oscar consideration would include Little Miss Sunshine and yes, this year's winner Slumdog Millionaire. At least in 2006 and 2007, the most deserving films, The Departed and No Country for Old Men respectively, won the award.


Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:02 pm
Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
I always used to think that Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan was one of the worst mistakes the Academy ever made. Then I actually saw Shakespeare in Love and...loved it. I still feel Private Ryan is the better picture, but I don't feel it's as bad an upset as people make out.


Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:33 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
Shakespeare in Love is not a bad movie. It's a cute, clever little picture that a lot of people liked. Plus it's about theater, and the academy LOVES films about theater. Case in point Amadeus winning every Oscar ever. But Saving Private Ryan is such a better movie. It would be like if Titanic had beat L.A. Confidential or Kramer vs. Kramer had beaten Apocalypse Now. Oh...wait

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Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:41 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
JamesKunz wrote:
Shakespeare in Love is not a bad movie. It's a cute, clever little picture that a lot of people liked. Plus it's about theater, and the academy LOVES films about theater. Case in point Amadeus winning every Oscar ever. But Saving Private Ryan is such a better movie. It would be like if Titanic had beat L.A. Confidential or Kramer vs. Kramer had beaten Apocalypse Now. Oh...wait


That goes double for Titanic beating L.A. Confidential


Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:35 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
corpen11 wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Shakespeare in Love is not a bad movie. It's a cute, clever little picture that a lot of people liked. Plus it's about theater, and the academy LOVES films about theater. Case in point Amadeus winning every Oscar ever. But Saving Private Ryan is such a better movie. It would be like if Titanic had beat L.A. Confidential or Kramer vs. Kramer had beaten Apocalypse Now. Oh...wait


That goes double for Titanic beating L.A. Confidential


Oh hell YES!!!!!


Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:52 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
oafolay wrote:
corpen11 wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Shakespeare in Love is not a bad movie. It's a cute, clever little picture that a lot of people liked. Plus it's about theater, and the academy LOVES films about theater. Case in point Amadeus winning every Oscar ever. But Saving Private Ryan is such a better movie. It would be like if Titanic had beat L.A. Confidential or Kramer vs. Kramer had beaten Apocalypse Now. Oh...wait


That goes double for Titanic beating L.A. Confidential


Oh hell YES!!!!!


A near perfect film lost to an overrated, million dollar, under written film.


Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:54 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
JamesKunz wrote:
Shakespeare in Love is not a bad movie. It's a cute, clever little picture that a lot of people liked. Plus it's about theater, and the academy LOVES films about theater. But Saving Private Ryan is such a better movie.


I'm one of the few who actually agrees with the Academy's vote that year. As well-crafted as SPR was, I just didn't care that much about any of the characters; they were all archetypes. But I personally thought both "The Thin Red Line" and "Elizabeth" were better than those two.

As for 'least worthy' (more like 'most surprising' for me) were "Babe," "Chocolat" and "Little Miss Sunshine" -- all good movies to be sure, but, like such nominees as "Breaking Away" and "Working Girl" before them, they just seemed all too lightweight compared to most Best Picture-nominated fare.

Quote:
1990: The Godfather Part III. Yes it's a Godfather film, but it's not a good piece of moviemaking.


It seems to me many people are considering this 'unworthy' for the same reason they find this to not be a good movie to begin with: purely because it wasn't as good as the first two. :roll: Get over yourselves. So it's merely 'very good' instead of 'f**king brilliant.' Hardly grounds for conviction, if you ask me. And it's still a better nominee than a lot of other subsequent ones (e.g. many of the slick, glossy, hollow dramas such as "The Aviator," "Ray," Seabiscuit," "The Cider House Rules," "Chicago," etc.).


Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:56 pm
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Post Re: Least worthy Best Picture Nods: 1990-Present
Quote:
It seems to me many people are considering this 'unworthy' for the same reason they find this to not be a good movie to begin with: purely because it wasn't as good as the first two. Get over yourselves. So it's merely 'very good' instead of 'f**king brilliant.' Hardly grounds for conviction, if you ask me.


Um. Okay. I actually am over myself. I think Godfather III is not "very good" at all but rather "overlong and mediocre with occasional flashes of brilliance." **1/2 out of 4. Additionally, I don't actually think the second one should have won Best Picture either. It's a well-made film, but an unnecessary one. Unlike Chinatown, which was and is a great film. So maybe people are capable of simply not liking a film on its own terms, rather than because it was worse than its hallowed predecessors. After all, I like Alien3. And Terminator 3 actually. But I don't like The Godfather, Part III.

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