Many often bemoan those actors, directors and pictures that were not nominated for an Oscar, but should have been. But what about those that got the nod from those who hoard those bald man golden statuettes, but weren’t deserving of the recognition? Here for your consideration are, in this writer’s humble opinion, 10 Movies That Were Nominated For An Oscar That Should Not Have Been.
Let me make this clear: I have nothing against this movie, the directors and its actors. It just feels to me that this is the Academy’s standard foreign/indie/we’re still artistic and like quality nomination. I am not saying that in and of itself the movie is not deserving of the nomination. However, there are plenty of other indie movies made that were just as good (if not better) than this film. Honestly, I think the nomination was a bit of a throwaway, as if they put the names of a bunch of French releases into a hat and nominated the one that they pulled out of it.
2. Life of Pi
Let’s be honest, the only reasons this film was nominated are: (a) because the end was reputedly one of the most difficult scenes to film in the history of film; and (b) it’s directed by Ang Lee and he hasn’t done a huge picture release in a while.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Joseph Gordon Levitt. And Daniel Day Lewis is a good actor (though personally, I am not a member of his fan club). But it seems every time Day Lewis changes his facial hair, both he and the movie he’s in are rewarded with a nomination. But that’s just the tip of this undeserving iceberg.
Frankly, the movie is three hours of watching the 13th Amendment being passed. Three. Hours. Three hours of a bunch of white men (don’t get me started about the lack of diversity in a film set during THE CIVIL WAR) earnestly debating, knitting their eyebrows and fretting over whether they should reverse the most evil, terrible, inhumane institution in the history of the United States. Other than the fact that this shouldn’t have even BEEN a debate in the first place (um, free them you privileged white idiots), it doesn’t exactly make for gripping cinema. Just because you have big names attached, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing in movie history. And as biopics go, this wouldn’t even crack my top 30 favorites. If you want to watch a good biopic, watch Capote with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Now that’s the way they should be done.
4. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
What. The Frack. Is This. Nomination.
5. Zero Dark Thirty
There are many reasons why I am not pleased with the nomination of this film. I like Kathryn Bigelow as a director (and yes, I completely thought she deserved the award for The Hurt Locker), but as soon as I heard they were making this film, I winced.
Notwithstanding the performances and the fact that Jessica Chastain does nothing really but just be there, I think it is far too soon to make a film about this event. It’s not a matter of taste or controversy in my opinion. It’s a question of history. Often I think that current events are difficult to make movies of, just because they are so very current. The full context of the death of Osama Bin Laden is still unclear, because it happened not even a year ago. So to have a film released about it, when information is still coming out about everything involved, seems like an unnecessary rush to be relevant.
And yes, I do think the film was not nearly as fleshed out as it could have been and felt rushed and yes I think it’s for the aforementioned reason.
6. Shakespeare in Love
I adore Shakespeare, and I am a big fan of Shakespeare In Love. But in a year of much better movies (because let’s admit it, Shakespeare was basically one big piece of Elizabethan fluff), it didn’t deserve a nomination. Furthermore, it did not deserve to win. Why? Because it was up against Saving Private Ryan. Private Ryan should have won. It had more depth, better acting and was simply the better production. Give Shakespeare best screenplay for its wit and humor, that’s fine. But Private Ryan was, by far, the better movie from every standpoint. Let’s put it this way: which runs on TNT way more often, Shakespeare or Private Ryan? You know the answer. Point. Made.
7. Out of Africa
I don’t understand why this movie was nominated. I further don’t understand why it WON. Long, boring, with an overwrought love story and just…ugh…writing (I could think of no other word to describe my disgust). I watched the entire thing and at the end, I just. Didn’t. Care. I love me some Robert Redford (especially in his prime) and I would have Meryl Streep’s babies, but this movie was not…was not…good. White people problems. Ick.
8. Citizen Kane
I. HATE. THIS. MOVIE.
I don’t care that it employed film techniques never before used in the history of cinema. I don’t care if the performance was a tour de force by Orson Welles. The story was stupid. The character basically ripped off every great classic tragedy of ambition. And the payoff at the end is ROSEBED IS A SLED???? A sled??!! A stupid metaphor for the innocence and happiness of childhood????
I hate this movie. It rivals my hatred of the book Moby Dick. And I reaaaaaalllly hate Moby Dick (the whale is a MAMMAL dammit, NOT a fish).
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King
I understand these were nominated (and the last won) because they were honoring Jackson for the entire effort of the trilogy. However, as a stand-alone movie, other than for the production value, it’s not that good. It’s the weakest of all the three and we spend the first half of the movie walking up the mountain (I understand the mountain is big and Hobbits are small, but come on, a five year old could walk up that thing faster than those two) and the second half was just five ends in the row. You think it’s going to end when he wakes up and sees Gandalf: it doesn’t. Then you think it’ll end at the coronation: it doesn’t. After that they get to the Shire and does it end? No. (Also, the Shire was NOT supposed to be this pristine happy place, untouched by Sauron—just sayin’). Frodo finishes the book and….oh, right, we’re still going. Finally there’s the whole ship goodbye thing and it ends! Wait, no it doesn’t. It ends with Sam closing the door to his hobbit hole. By the time the credits rolled, I was just fed up with the entire movie. It was like the J.R.R. Tolkein version of Trapped In The Closet. It just kept going (and still continues to with the new Hobbit trilogy).
10. Gangs of New York
Yes, there are two Daniel Day-Lewis movies on this list. I told you I wasn’t a fan.
Nonetheless, Day-Lewis isn’t the (only) reason this film is on this list. Other than the fact that New York looks like Italy and all the Irish people look Italian (because it was shot in Italy); besides the complete miscasting of Cameron Diaz; ignoring the atrocity of Leonard DiCaprio’s accent; the ending was just horrible. You have this entire buildup between these two gangs, it’s this story of revenge, redemption, violence, poverty and we lead it all up to a bloody battle and then: nothing happens. Literally. Nothing happens. The entire battle is dispersed even before it begins due to the Civil War.
Martin Scorcese, I do not know what the heck happened there, but shame on you! You know better than to do a Monty Python Holy Grail type ending in a dramatic film. I need a conclusion dammit! Give me my denoument!