The Academy are known for making bad decisions, and some of them are the top prized films. Here are my picks in chronological order:
In the Heat of the Night
Dances With Wolves
Shakespeare in Love
What are yours?
“Citizen Kane” did not win Best Picture, “How Green Was my Valley” won instead
No Country for Old Men, The Silence of the Lambs & All About Eve. All came to my mind before I even finished reading your list.
You should have said “How Green was My Valley” did not deserve Best Picture. I agree that “Citizen Kane” deserved Best Picture but HGWMV was just beautiful and well done. I felt that was just as good, and deserving. I only wish they tied that year.
@ Jack Lineman
I can understand you saying “No Country For Old Men” and “Silence of the Lambs” not deserving Best Picture because they were both obscure films, but “All about Eve”???? That was an amazing film. What do you think should have won that year?
Danny, Jerry was pointing out that he feels Citizen Kane didn’t deserve the Best Picture award and hence did not receive it. Based on the title of your thread, any film can be named as not deserving the Best Picture, and Jerry named one he felt did not deserve the award, regardless of if it won the award or not.
Pretty much all of them.
I meant films that actually won Best Picture. Sorry if I was vague.
Danny, everyone knows what you mean, this place is just full of smart asses
Specifically which films did not deserve Best Picture but was awarded it anyway?
Danny, that would be an impossible list to create. It would be much easier for me to create a list of the films that I think were deserving of the award it won. It happens roughly once every decade:
Films that deserved their Oscars:
Larry of Arabia (1962)
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Last Emperor (1987)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Most of the movies that win don’t even deserve to be nominated.
Santino hit the nail on the head…the Academy almost ALWAYS gets it wrong:
I don’t agree with Lawrence of Arabia though…..To Kill a Mockingbird should have won.
Some of the most egregious winners were Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952….and High Noon wasn’t even nominated).
The King’s Speech should not have won either…..The Social Network was the superior film.
I love Ordinary People but no way in the depths of Hades is it a better film than Raging Bull.
Sunset Boulevard was a better film than All About Eve.
Streetcar should have won it for 1951 and not An American in Paris.
But my gosh…I could do this all night….
As mentioned earlier, the Oscars almost always get the best picture of the year wrong, at least, from my point of view. So, in my opinion, the following instances are the only times where the best picture Oscar went to the film that deserved it (also considering circumstances such as how the best picture award at the Academy Awards would not go to an underground Latvian film that was only seen by seven people and how I have not seen every film ever created):
All Quiet on the Western Front (1929/30)
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
The Last Emperor (1987)
That is about it! I will just say two things, though: 1) There were a lot of years where I loved the film that won, but just felt that another film was the best of that year and 2) as I got closer to the present day, more films became ineligible because I saw more films (i.e. if 2007 was 1948, No Country for Old Men would not get knocked down, but I have seen Zodiac and Eastern Promises). On a third note, I gave Billy Wilder best picture several times, but not one of those instances was a year in which he won. That is kind of strange!
Oh, God, where to begin? The Academy is so full of politicking, backroom-dealing bullshit as to make most of their choices suspect.
The Academy’s tendency to award perceived “important” films (which usually only really means “trendy”) has resulted in a lot of boneheaded winners through the years, most recently, “The Hurt Locker.”
Here are a few other grossly overrated Best Picture winners…
Anybody ever hear of “Cavalcade”? No? That was the Best Picture winner in 1933, the year King Kong was released.
“Oliver!” won best picture in 1968, the year Kubrick’s 2001 was released.
“Midnight Cowboy” won in ‘69, while Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch” wasn’t even nominated.
My random Oscar grousing also includes the head-shaking observation that “Network” lost to “Rocky,” while Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” got skunked against rookie directors with mediocre films (“Ordinary People” and "Dances with Wolves). I mean, who the hell watches “Dances with Wolves” anymore? I can watch “Goodfellas” at least once a year for the rest of my life and probably will.
Much of the Academy’s voting simply does not stand the test of time.
tell ’em CteveDave!
Lawrence of Arabia was a true eye opener in the art of filmmaking, while To Kill a Mockingbird, a great film itself
I felt did not embody a Best Picture win. I can’t explain it.
Same thing with The King’s Speech. A pretty film that also brought the viewer into a world of beauty, had the upper hand in winning Best Picture, and was no match for a film on computer networking.
Sunset Blvd, and All About Eve should have tied because both are unforgettable classics in their own way.
The others, I really have no opinion on, because I haven’t seen one or more of the films.
I have no problem when the Oscar goes to a very good film when a better picture or a masterpiece does not get the nod. History has a better ability to judge the truly great films. I finally saw How Green Was My Valley recently, having forgotten about the Kane controversy- I found it to be a very satisfying film. The images were striking (no pun intended) and solid (typical of Ford) and it had a fable like quality. I usually find Ford’s films to have very awkward dialogue scenes, but I thought this flowed well, despite the fact that I did not like the casting of the lead. I even liked the chorus of singing workers! (it reinforced the “worker fairy tale” quality) So… we all know where Citizen Kane belongs in the history of film making, and as long as Sight and Sound Polls are around its legacy is secure. So I think it is fine that a cautious Hollywood gave an Oscar to How Green Was My Valley instead of CK
For some reason, English Patient bugs me the most. It’s… so.. damn… bland- It is bland in a way that only “intelligent” film making can be. Subjective, I know.
Truth be told, I’m not much of a Lean fan…..I admired the technical virtuosity of Lawrence but was left a little cold by the character himself. I saw it once, decided that was enough, and have never had the desire to revisit it. I get why it’s a great film…..
The King’s Speech was typical Oscar bait…..and a person overcoming a disability assured the win. The Social Network was a relevant film for our time with a crackling Aaron Sorkin script and great performances by Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. It’s a time capsule for the hear and now…..a great film.
I liked All About Eve a lot…the script and performances were top notch but Sunset Boulevard (in my opinion) showed greater directorial skill and matched Eve with the performances and script.
Just my two cents, of course…..
I would have reluctantly cast a vote for All About Eve over Sunset- It is interesting that they both deal with the subject of show business ambitions. I guess I have met more “Eve’s” in my life than “Norma’s” so the film just resonates slightly more.
Slumdog Millionaire, anyone?
I agree that Network would have been a worthy winner for 1976 and I love the film to pieces, but consider Watergate, Vietnam, Attica, the cynicism of the 1970s following the optimism of the 1960s—Rocky was the sentimental favourite. And it was an amazing year for cinema, and I have no problem with Rocky claiming the Best Picture award. It could’ve went either way but Rocky was the uplifting film that everyone seemed to love. Taxi Driver was also worthy of winning but again, it’s an extremely dark film. Rocky was the film that stood out from all others for obvious reasons. People needed something like Rocky to give hope and counteract the Cynical ’70s.
Slumdog Millionaire won because it was the only Best Picture worthy film of the 5 that year. My vote would have gone for Revolutionary Road, if only that was nominated.
I vote for almost every film picked from 1981 until 2006 – Chariots of Fire, Braveheart, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, The Departed, etc, etc. A lot of those films I think were the worst among the nominees, and usually the nominees weren’t that great to begin with.
Like others here, I find it much simpler to list the Best Picture winners that I agree deserved their win. Going the other way would take too long.
West Side Story
Lawrence of Arabia
Silence of the Lambs
“No Country for Old Men, The Silence of the Lambs & All About Eve. All came to my mind before I even finished reading your list.”
Funny, to me these three films are all on the very short list of things I’m actually “ok” with winning.
In particular I saw All About Eve for the first time recently, and I was very surprised at how high-quality the writing was. I’m not the worlds biggest Bette Davis fan, but Anne Baxter and George Sanders were really great, and made for a really stimulating couple I thought.
Why not Godfather 2? If anything I think the 2nd film was better, and just as deserving of Best Picture. I’ll have to disagree with you on Schindler’s List. It was one of the undeserving films I mentioned earlier. It was good, but I felt it was too bland, and depressing to be top film. My personal picks for the 1993 Best Picture Oscar would have been “The Piano”, “In the Name of the Father” or “Remains of the Day”, and even non-nominated films like “The Age of Innocence” and “Shadowlands” were far better than Schindler’s List. Just my opinion
^My guess is that Brad is a fan of Chinatown.
1974 is a tough year because there were so great films that were all deserving of the Oscar (similar to 1976).
Rocky had the same feel of optimism that The King’s Speech had this year, which made it 1976’s film of the year. My pick would have been Network, but still I don;t think Rocky was undeserving.
“People needed something like Rocky to give hope and counteract the Cynical ’70s”
True but you really wouldn’t have to tweak the original much for it to be a ‘cynical’ New Hollywood film. the first half is quite gritty, almost depressing, and it could have just as easily been a condemnation of the American dream rather than a simple affirmation of it with a few minor plot adjustments ;-)
I like Rocky as it is though.
Whether the ‘right’ picture wins is always open for debate, but i’ve noticed that, over the last 20 or so years, most of the nominations are suspect too(at least in my mind), so i no longer really care who wins, with few exceptions.