Most Undeserving Best Picture Oscar Winners

Movies that did not deserve to win the Best Picture Academy Award

The Top Ten

1 Slumdog Millionaire

I wonder how many of the voters who made this film the number one choice are just angry because The Dark Knight didn't win instead. And truth be told, it probably should have. But it wasn't even nominated (the main reason why the best picture category was expanded to include more films the following year) and, of the films that DID get the nod, I feel that Slumdog was the best. Contrived and manipulative? Sure. But extremely well-made? Unquestionably. This is far from the worst best picture winner to come down the pike. - miketheratguy

2 Shakespeare in Love

Of the best picture winners I've personally seen, this one was the least deserving. It looked pretty enough, nice costumes and whatnot. Decent art direction, whatever. The movie looked fine. I'm sure it was acted fine as well, I don't remember. And that's just it - I don't remember this movie. It was entirely forgettable. It was just a sappy, silly period romance film. It was a trifle. Nothing about it struck me as special, profound, or worthy of the title of "best picture of the year". It's frequently listed as the least (or one of the least) deserving films to ever win the award, so I guess I'm not the only one who feels this way. Saving Private Ryan may have been an imperfect film, but it was a far greater cinematic achievement than this. - miketheratguy

3 The Hurt Locker

This wasn't the most intriguing film for me and I think the Oscar was a bit over estimated but it did present a lot of good war themes and had a lot great actors and acting within. It's still worth watching.

Inglourious Basterds should have won.

What? Come on... - Ananya

4 Chicago

The Oscars love movie musicals and all that "Old Hollywood" glitz and glamour nonsense. In that category Moulin Rouge (one year prior) was a better film and of the other best picture choices of 2002, Gangs of New York was the better choice. - miketheratguy

5 A Beautiful Mind

I liked A Beautiful Mind. It was a good movie. It was also a relatively safe, soft, false crowd-pleaser of a movie. I'm of the opinion that The Fellowship of the Ring was an astonishing cinematic and pop culture achievement the likes of which the film industry has rarely seen, and also the (slightly) superior of the three Rings films. It should have won this year. - miketheratguy

6 American Beauty

1999 was a highly competitive year. Three of the other best picture nominees were, in my opinion, great films, and for anyone who wanted to vote for a film that wasn't there was The Cider House Rules too. American Beauty was the most artsy-fartsy and supposedly "deep" of the lot, so it's no surprise that it won, but I'm not necessarily convinced that it didn't deserve to. It had an interesting script, great dialogue and strong performances all around. - miketheratguy

Can you name any movie that resembles American Beauty? You can't. - Ananya

7 Dances with Wolves

An excellent film, the kind of sweeping epics that the Academy loves to recognize. It's a passionate film, a love letter to the old frontier and the noble people who all but disappeared along with it. The only reason people tend to crap on it is because "Goodfellas be the bast thang avur, yo". To each their own, we're all entitled to our own opinions. Mine is that, good though it may be, Goodfellas wasn't even Scorsese's best movie let alone the best film of 1990. - miketheratguy

Goodfellas was better than this.

Not nearly as good as goodfellas

8 How Green Was My Valley

It beat Citizen Kane. come on Academy, wake up. - Cpett

9 Crash

The film that ham-fistedly beat its audience over the head with the message that "racism is bad" has the dubious distinction of being widely acknowledged by pretty much every ranking everywhere as one of the least deserving best picture winners in the nearly 100 year history of the Academy's existence. You're welcome to have a different opinion on the matter, just don't let the loneliness get to you. - miketheratguy

And Disney's family-friendly remake a.k.a. Zootopia didn't deserve the 2016 Oscar for Best Animated Film, either.

10 Out of Africa

Commonly regarded as one of the most boring, empty films to ever win an Academy Award. I haven't seen it myself, I just know that its reputation has certainly not grown with time. - miketheratguy

Like almost every Meryl Streep movie ; BORING!

The Contenders

11 Annie Hall

Woody Allen beat Star Wars. Do I really need to say anything else?

Stupid jokes, bad acting, do I need to say more?

I don't even personally hold the original Star Wars in extremely high regard but let's look at the facts nonetheless: One of the 1977 best picture nominees was a profound landmark in the field of cinematic achievement, an Earth-shattering milestone of popular and critical success the likes of which hadn't been seen since Gone With the Wind and which has only increased in recognition and intensity throughout multiple generations of fans and critics, young and old, in the forty years since its release.

The other is a Woody Allen comedy. - miketheratguy

12 The English Patient

Incredibly boring. I couldn't believe how slow and uneventful this film was. Artfully made, and a slog to sit through. 1996 was a relatively tepid year for American cinema (it was dubbed "the year of the indies" at the time) and of the films up for best picture that year I'd have readily chosen Fargo and Jerry Maguire before even thinking about this one. - miketheratguy

13 The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady didn't win best picture. It wasn't even nominated for that award. - miketheratguy

Best picture? How many people did actually loved this movie? The most undeserved Oscars for a movie ( undeserved for best picture, undeserved for the performance of Meryl Streep [ as usual ].. ). Really, who will remember this stupid movie in twenty years from now?

14 Gandhi
15 Around the World in 80 Days

Heh, it's worth pointing out that the movie that won this award was the 1956 film starring David Niven, not the 2004 remake with Jackie Chan (which is the version currently being shown here). It's also worth pointing out that this is another film classically considered to be one of the least deserving best pictures in history. - miketheratguy

16 The Greatest Show on Earth
17 Driving Miss Daisy

I didn't see all the other nominees that year but I did see this one and it was tremendously boring. An old white bitty learns to be nice from her wise black chauffeur. Yawn. - miketheratguy

18 Chariots of Fire
19 Rocky

Rocky has been called "a movie that came along at the right time", implying either that it had the fortuitous timing of being rightfully noticed and appreciated for the wonderful little movie that it was or that it was nothing more than a lame trifle that, in a fairer world, wouldn't have been recognized at all. I agree with the first sentiment. - miketheratguy

20 Oliver!
21 Million Dollar Baby
22 Argo

I was astonished by how much I loved Argo. I had virtually no interest whatsoever in watching it but decided to do so on a whim and found it to be one of the best films I'd ever seen. Taut pacing, sharp direction, consistently solid acting, great humor, and almost unbearable suspense. In my opinion Argo was near-perfection, a dream of a film, and nowhere near even the periphery of a conversation of "least deserving best picture winners". - miketheratguy

Lost to Lincoln, Les Miserable, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, and Django Unchained. enough said.

23 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
24 The Shape of Water
BAdd New Item