Countless Oscars have been awarded to unbearable films that many of us wish we’d never seen. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Best Picture category. With the Academy Awards just a few days away, it seems appropriate to lay a thorough smack down on the most undeserving of these and expose them for the cinematic garbage that they are.
I truly hate every film on this list, and Oliver! is no exception. There’s too much singing, too much dancing, and to top it off, there’s an exclamation point in the title. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the truly great films of that year (I’m talking Rosemary’s Baby and 2001: A Space Odyssey) didn’t even get nominated. A truly unremarkable film. Two thumbs down!
Everyone seems to love this movie, which I find upsetting. For context, here’s what was going on when Rocky was released: the Vietnam War had just ended, Muhammad Ali had recently proved his dominance in the boxing ring yet again, and white America was battered and humiliated. What better way to stroke their bruised ego than the inspiring story of a working class white athlete who holds his own against a flashy, loud-mouthed black dude? Sorry folks, no way ‘76 Stallone goes more than two rounds against ‘76 Carl Weathers. But for what it’s worth, I’m glad it made you feel better.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Hands-down the most soul-crushingly boring film on this list. Two hours of British people running slowly is enough to make anyone want to jump out the nearest window. Even the iconic score was used more effectively in National Lampoon’s Vacation. A real snorefest.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
How telling that the same year Do the Right Thing put America on riot alert, the Academy rewards a film about the good old days when black people were kind-natured, loyal chauffeurs for white people. I hope Morgan Freeman lost plenty of sleep over this one.
Do yourself a favor and fast forward to the part where the boat starts sinking. That’s when this lumbering train-wreck (shipwreck?) gets kind of watchable. Then fast forward to the credits, when Celine Dion sings about “feeling you” in her dreams.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Not sure why this movie was made in the first place. It’s not especially funny or interesting, and it’s worse than literally every other film nominated that year (one of which was a Holocaust comedy, so that tells you something). Overall, a true low point in Oscar history.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
For a few years, Hollywood was riding Russell Crowe’s man parts pretty hard. Sadly, he chose to follow The Insider and the mesmerizing Gladiator with this glorified Lifetime drama, a film that both bores its audience and fails to satisfactorily address its central theme: schizophrenia. Oh, and pretty much everyone liked The Fellowship of the Ring better too.
With an impressive one-two punch, the Academy managed to award back-to-back Best Picture statuettes to two horrible movies. Chicago is a stage musical that should’ve stayed on the stage, and I’m still wondering why everyone who appeared in this movie was nominated for an acting Oscar. Are we really that impressed by Richard Gere’s singing?
Perhaps my most hated film on this list, Crash managed to win over Americans of all racial backgrounds by completely misrepresenting the causes and implications of American racism. By attributing racial hostility to individual prejudices, it also ignored the fact of racism’s economic and institutional nature. Ignorant movies like this are frustrating because they take a potentially productive conversation and flush it down a toilet of corny melodrama. I sincerely hope nothing like Crash ever soils the silver screen again. A boy can dream.
The King’s Speech (2010)
No offense to people with speech impediments, but “a guy overcoming his speech impediment” is not a movie. It’s great that it happened, I’m sure it was difficult, but why do I have to sit through two-plus hours of it? I saw an episode of MTV’s True Life about stuttering that was 10 times more interesting.