Oscars 2010: The least win-worthy best pictures
No matter which film wins best picture at this year's Academy Awards -- even if it turns out to be "Avatar" -- it's unlikely to go down in history as one of the worst best pictures ever. Say what you will about having 10 nominees, but this field, for the most part, is pretty solid.
That said, several past recipients of Oscar's highest honor have been perceived as less-than-stellar works of cinema, especially when compared with the Oscar competition they faced that particular year. The Huffington Post recently shared this look at undeserving best pictures.
Meanwhile, I offer this list of five of the least win-worthy best pictures in modern times.
"A Beautiful Mind" (2001): This perfectly adequate Ron Howard drama completely oversimplifies the complexities of dealing with mental illness. Plus, I think all of the other nominees that year -- "Moulin Rouge!," "In the Bedroom," "Gosford Park," or even "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" -- were truly the better pictures.
"Dances With Wolves" (1990): Gorgeous to look at, but boring as a high school film strip, this Kevin Costner epic triumphed over Martin Scorsese's stunning and far more compelling mafia saga, "Goodfellas."
"Crash" (2004): This one gets picked on a little unfairly. I don't think this drama of interconnected L.A. stories is a bad movie. It's just that Ang Lee's appropriately restrained and beautifully acted "Brokeback Mountain" is a better one, and should have won the statuette.
"The Last Emperor" (1987): Look, I've got nothing against Bernardo Bertolucci. But raise your hand if you saw this movie. Okay, now raise your hand if you saw any or all of the four other best picture nominees: "Broadcast News," "Fatal Attraction," "Hope and Glory" or "Moonstruck." My case, rested.
"Gandhi" (1982): My parents let me stay up late so I could watch "E.T." win its well-deserved Oscar for best picture. Imagine my disappointment when some long-winded biopic snatched the trophy from the extra-terrestrial's long, gray, knobby fingers. That bitter pill, in a weird way, sparked my lifelong fascination with the Academy Awards -- in all their thrilling and frustrating madness.
Want more debate about best picture options? Check out this video of Ann Hornaday and I discussing this year's nominees, and, later today, visit our Oscar page to see which nominees Ann and I would like to see win on Sunday night if we got to choose. (Which, of course, we don't. But it's fun to pretend.)
And, last of all, feel free to cast your own vote in this poll:
| March 5, 2010; 3:08 PM ET
Categories: Awards Season
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