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30 Movies That Didn't Deserve an Oscar

"How Green Was My Valley:" Best Picture (1941)

Directed by John Ford and starring Maureen O'Hara and Walter Pidgeon, How Green Was My Valley details the moving story of the lives of a Welsh coal-mining family. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 1941, one of which was Best Picture against Orson Welles's Citizen Kane, Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion, and the film noir masterpiece: The Maltese Falcon. 

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Most film buffs agree Citizen Kane is the rightful winner of the Oscar for Best Picture that year. However, it received a 90% on rotten tomatoes and was added to the American Film Registry in 1990.

"Forrest Gump:" Best Director (1994)

Everybody likes Forrest Gump (directed by Robert Zemeckis). In fact, many of us still quote, "Life was like a box of chocolates." You never know what you're gonna get! The tale is about a man with below average capabilities, who defies the odds and leads an extraordinary life.

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That being said, the Best Director Oscar that year should have gone to Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction. That doesn't mean Forrest Gump wasn't a great film, because it was. Pulp Fiction was just greater has stood the test of time better.

"Crash:" Best Picture (2004)

Crash is a good movie, but it seems to have gotten more accolades than it probably deserved. The Academy voters undoubtedly wanted to give approval to its commentary on social and racial issues. 

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We think it's certainly something that needs to be discussed, and movies are often the best place to start. However, films have handled these issues in a much better way. The characters are just too one-dimensional to stand up Brokeback Mountain, which should have won the award that year.

"Shakespeare in Love:" Best Picture (1998)

The funny and romantic story about William Shakespeare falling in love while he writes "Romeo and Juliet" is alright at best. Looking back, Shakespeare in Love plays like any other 90s romantic comedy that released that same year, only this movie had better costume design.

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 Instead, Saving Private Ryan should have won. Its recreation of the storming of the beach at Normandy brought realism and battle scenes bring the film to a new level that far exceeds any romantic comedy ever produced. 

"The Good Earth:" Best Actress (1937)

At the time, The Good Earth may have been a fantastic film, but Luise Rainer in The Good Earth doesn't stand the test of time. We can all agree that that's an important factor with the Oscars. Why give an Oscar to a performance that sucks a decade later?

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Plus, it seems wrong that Barbara Stanwyck never won an Oscar legitimately. She was nominated four times and won an honorary award in 1982, but that isn't the same thing, especially since her performance in Stella Dallas is regarded as one of her best acting roles.

"Kramer vs. Kramer:" Best Picture (1979)

Kramer vs. Kramer was an important film for its era.  It followed Ted Kramer who gets the chance to bond with his son after his wife leaves him, but a heated custody battle makes the family split so much harder on all of them.

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No one can rightfully say it wasn't a great film, but it shouldn't have beaten Apocalypse Now. It's a shame one of the best movies ever made and the best movie portrayal of the Vietnam War didn't win. 

"Birdman:" Best Picture (2014)

In 2014, two films were released that had amazing achievements. The first was Birdman. Almost the whole film was shot in a single take, which is extremely impressive—ask anyone in film. The other movie was Boyhood.

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Boyhood was shot over 12 years. The movie was a coming of age story about a boy’s life from early childhood to college. It won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but that’s it? Boyhood was robbed. A film that was recorded over 12 years to keep the same cast is insanely remarkable. 

"Harry and Tonto:" Best Actor (1974)

Oscars usually pave the way for actors, actresses, directors, and everyone involved. Their name is remembered for the rest of their lives. That can’t be said for Art Carney. After winning his Oscar, everyone forgot him.


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Decades later, people are still wondering how Art Carney in Harry and Tonto beat Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, and Dustin Hoffman in Lenny.

"Around the World in 80 Days:" Best Picture (1956)

Based on the classic adventure novel of the same name, Around the World in 80 Days follows an English Gentleman as he tries to circumnavigate the world. Even back when it released, reviews weren’t praising Around the World in 80 Days like you see in most Oscar winners nowadays.

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In comparison, Ten Commandments should have won. It was vastly superior. Some think Ten Commandments was passed over because the director had recently won an Oscar for another movie, but to that, we say: so?? Films like this (and directors) shouldn't be denied recognition.

"A Beautiful Mind": Best Picture (2001)

This boring and forgettable movie beat out one of the best movies of the 2000s—The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. A Beautiful Mind is really accurate, but let’s compare it to the epic adventure of Lord of the Rings, which was written by one of the most iconic authors that’s ever lived?

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When placed next to a movie like that, it is baffling A Beautiful Mind was even nominated. Heck, even now it's hard to find anyone that's sat down to actually watch A Beautiful Mind  from start to finish.

"The Woman in Red:" Best Original Song (1984)

The Woman in Red won in 1984 for Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You." It isn't that we hate Stevie Wonder. We think he's a fantastic singer, and we've been known to jam out to his stuff, but let's look at what else released that year.

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Uh, Purple Rain! None of the songs from Prince's Purple Rain were nominated as Best Original Song? We demand a re-vote! 

"Gravity": Best Cinematography, Director...(2013)

The fact that Gravity received seven Oscars: best cinematography, best director, best film editing, best original score, best sound editing, best sound mixing, and best visual effects.

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We're gonna be brutally honest. It was quite overrated, and frankly, the plot was pretty boring. The ending was the only part that really had us on edge. We’ll agree that best visual effects and best cinematography were warranted, but the rest not so much.

"Mrs. Miniver:" Best Picture (1942)

Mrs. Miniver is a moving war drama. Anyone that sits down to watch it will feel a tug at their heartstrings like most other war dramas that released back in the day. 

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That being said, it should not have beaten Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons, which many film buffs like as much as Citizen Kane. Poor Orson didn't get the respect he deserved.

"Born Yesterday:" Best Actress (1950)

Anyone that follows movies or the Oscars can admit that 1950 had one of the greatest Best Actress fields ever. With such a tough lineup, we're a little surprised that Holliday won. 

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Judy Holliday defeated Bette Davis, Ann Baxter, and Gloria Swanson. Seems like Holliday lucked into this one. Guess we'll just have to live with this one.

"Bridge of Spies:" Best Supporting Actor (2015)

Bridge of Spies is about a 1960 spy exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. The only problem is that the film kinda watches like every other Tom Hanks hero movie.

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No offense to the film or Mark Rylance, but all the buzz that year was about Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation. He wasn't even nominated! What sort of injustice is this??

"Scent of a Woman:" Best Actor (1992)

If you heard critics in 1992 talk about Scent of a Woman, you would put it on your must-see list. Unfortunately, it really disappoints if you're expecting the usual Al Pacino skill and gravitas. Al Pacino's portrayal of a blind and cranky retired Army colonel doesn't even come close to his best work!

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That same year, Denzel Washington as nominated for his portrayal of Malcolm X, and Clint Eastwood was nominated for Unforgiven. Both of those films stand up today and feature the two actors at their best.

"The Artist": Best Picture, Director, Actor, Original Score, Costume Design (2011)

The Oscars have a problem of allowing films to win because they’re a novelty. That’s why we honestly think The Artist won for the 84th Academy Awards. It was cool to see a modern take on a silent film—we’re not going to deny that.

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That still doesn’t mean that The Artist deserves five awards. It was a novelty, and it should have gotten an Oscar for that, but five is a huge stretch. Plus, Best Film? We think not. There were half a dozen other films that deserved that award that night including The Help.

"My Fair Lady:" Best Director (1964)

Directed by George Cukor, this musical stars Audrey Hepburn as a cockney street vendor being coached on her speaking by a phonetics professor.

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It's not an awful movie, but Stanley Kubrick should have won Best Director for his brilliant direction in one of the greatest movies of all time: Dr. Strangelove.

“Les Miserables”: Best Supporting Actress (2012)

It’s always disappointing when a fantastic novel is turned into a merely bearable movie. For some, calling the movie bearable is a little too much since some of the actors couldn't sing (dear God, why cast Russell Crowe?).

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Even with an all-star cast, Les Miserables fell short, and even devout fans will agree that Anne Hathaway’s performance was nowhere near “Best Supporting Actress” level. 

"The Blind Side": Best Actress (2009)

Sandra Bullock is a goddess that walks among us, but she shouldn’t have received best actress for a movie that most people agree was terrible.

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Even the actual people who were portrayed in the movie didn’t appreciate how their story was depicted. That's not a great sign when the real individuals who you based your movie on speak out.

"Harry and the Hendersons": Best Makeup (1987)

You expected the winner of “Best Makeup” to have truly stunning makeup, but Harry and the Hendersons wasn’t anywhere close to stunning.

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In fact, it was pretty much average for a movie of the 80s. Seriously, take a look at any movie from the decade, and you'll notice a similar theme. It was good, but not Oscars good.

"The Greatest Show on Earth": Best Picture (1952)

Most winners of Best Picture are movies that even younger generations know of. The Greatest Show on Earth is essentially forgotten and is easily one of the most overdone movies in history. Proof that even brilliant directors can miss the mark. 

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What makes this win even worse is that the director was later snubbed his rightful award six years later for a film that was far superior, The Ten Commandments. We're happy he got an Oscar, but we want it to be for his best work.

"Cold Mountain": Best Supporting Actress (2003)

Cold Mountain is a pretty good movie, and we suggest you should sit down to watch it when you get the chance. That doesn't mean we're going to shout from the rooftop about the film.

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Renee Zellweger’s performance was quite unforgettable and lackluster. She might be brilliant in other movies, but this frankly was just not one of them. 

"Death Becomes Her": Best Visual Effects (1992)

Just because a movie boasts Meryl Streep (who is truly phenomenal) doesn’t mean it deserves an Oscar. Death Becomes Her was absolutely hilarious. Even watching it today will send audiences into roaring laughter, but Best Visual Effects?

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The visual effects look great, but they weren't revolutionary or amazing for its time. During 1992, there were other movies that were more deserving and earlier films that blew this one out of the water.

"The Wolfman": Best Makeup (2010)

This movie is a little horror, so it was a bit surprising it made the Oscar list at all. Horror films are usually 100% snubbed, even if they have a great story and heart-wrenching drama. That just makes this win so much worse.

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Everything about The Wolfman was disappointing from the acting to the makeup. For this one to win this coveted Oscar is pretty dang insulting. It wasn’t convincing at all. We’ve seen better werewolf makeup on television shows.

“The King’s Speech”: Best Picture, Actor, Original Screenplay (2010)

The King’s Speech is a good movie, but it was Oscar-bait through and through. Had it been a slow year, then maybe the Oscar would be well deserved. There's always the year where nothing good seems to release, but this year? No, siree.

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The King’s Speech was up against Toy Story 3, True Grit, The Social Network, Inception, 127 Hours, and Black Swan. At the end of the day, each one of those movies was more entertaining than this film.

“Dances With Wolves”: Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Original Score (1990)

Dances with Wolves is a great film, but a better movie was offered up that same year–Goodfellas. Goodfellas is one of Scorsese’s best movies, and that’s saying a lot considering how many great films he’s released.

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Not to mention that the performances in Goodfellas are unforgettable. Compare that to Dances with Wolves, and it's easy to realize which one leaves you pretty bored through most of it.

“Suicide Squad”: Best Makeup and Hairstyling (2016)

Unlike some of the other movies on this list, Suicide Squad can’t be called a great film. The cinematography was a mess, and there were few high points –even the makeup and hairstyling.

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Harley Quinn has inspired Halloween costumes for years but considering Star Trek Beyond was also on the list–we have to say this Oscar was wrongfully given to Suicide Squad. Say what you will about Star Trek Beyond, but the makeup and creature design was on-point.

“Chicago”: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (2002)

The Oscars go through moments where they love musicals, or they completely ignore them. For 2002, it apparently loved musicals, and Chicago walked away with Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress.

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The movie isn’t horrible, but it isn’t up to par with The Pianist, which also came out that same year. Chicago was good–it just wasn’t that good.

“La La Land”: Best Actress (2016)

La La Land is such a great movie, but Emma Stone wasn’t as deserving of an Oscar win when compared to what also came out that year. Ruth Negga has proven to be a skilled actress, and it became incredibly clear in Loving.

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Then, Natalie Portman portrayed Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. She captured the first lady so well that it would break your heart. Emma Stone was great but not as great as other actresses in the category.