Sunday, 22 February 2015

Top 5 Worst Best Picture Winners

With the Oscars just hours away and the stars making their way to the red carpet as I am writing, or maybe as you are reading, or far more likely, as you are reading this the Oscars were just hours away weeks ago, anyway as I was saying, this might be a good time to look back at some of the worst films that have been given the top award of Best Picture.
Understand that most of these films aren’t necessarily bad, it’s just that when faced with tougher competition from the nominees of that year in retrospect, I can say that the Academy probably made a mistake. Also, I’m only judging this based on the other nominees, it’s no good moaning about Oliver winning over 2001 when Kubrick’s film wasn’t even nominated, and though that may be a mistake of entirely different proportions, I’m just focussing on what we expected to hear on the night, but didn’t.
5: Driving Miss Daisy
Though this Bruce Beresford adaptation undoubtedly featured credible performances from the lead actors Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy (Tandy won Best Actress that year), the film was definitely a safe choice for the award and given that every other nominee is probably still widely remembered by more people than Miss Daisy. Though Field of Dreams and Dead Poets Society are perhaps overly sentimental they were arguably more deserving of the award, a result that you cannot argue against though is the fact that Miss Daisy beat Oliver Stone’s powerful Vietnam drama Born on the Fourth of July and My Left Foot (at least Daniel Day Lewis got Best Actor).
4: Dances with Wolves
To be fair to Dances With Wolves it was nominated and won in a fairly weak year (casing point, the Godfather Part 3 was also nominated) and is still probably the second best film out of the five nominees. But at the end of the day it won because it is a guidebook of what the academy likes, an epic story, lead characters being immersed in a foreign culture and is historically significant. Also, like I said, it is the second best film of the nominees, the first by a long way is not just one of the best from that entire decade, but one of the best films of all time, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Worse still is the fact that Costner also won best director, which Marty should have won just for that one shot (you know the one I mean).
3: How Green Was My Valley
Otherwise known as the film that beat Citizen Kane at the Oscars, yes, it may be hard to believe but the best film of all time, as it was named from the moment of its release, did not win best picture. Once again it seems that the crowning glory came from the fact that John Ford was somehow able to win best director as well instead of Orson Welles. Come on, even the Maltese Falcon was nominated and lost to this, that’s still better in every conceivable way.
2: Shakespeare in Love
I have to say immediately, I despise this film. Okay, so it may be a light hearted romance drama and it’s acted well enough and with a decent screenplay, but it just does not standout in any way. I would have to re-watch it to find anything specific I liked about it. So on its own Shakespeare in Love is mediocre, but it beat Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, the most realistic depiction of war ever put to screen, and furthermore there’s the other big war film of that year the beautiful Thin Red Line, but Saving Private Ryan… wow that is really I massive error for me. At least Spielberg managed to bag the Best Director award, if he hadn’t, well, I would now be campaigning for the 1998 ceremony to be stricken from the record.
1: Crash
Sticking with the theme of Spielberg getting cheated, what about the winner that broke Hollywood? Crash is a film with a too clich├ęd message of racial prejudice where every character is a walking stereotype and a story that is not only far from unique, we’ve seen it executed better in Magnolia and Traffic. If the academy wanted to draw attention to racial prejudice then they could have chosen Spielberg’s Munich, or if they wanted to make a statement about social change then Ang Lee’s heart-breaking Brokeback Mountain would be more than suitable and more deserving. 
So what's your least favourite Best Picture winner, or is there a film that really deserved to win but didn't, leave a comment below to let me know.

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