Oscar Winners: The Overlooked and the Overrated

Just because a film's won an Academy Award, doesn't mean it's great. It doesn't necessarily mean I've seen it, either.

With so much already written, so many entertainment show discussions and pub debates raging each year about who should have won an Oscar for what, here’s a slightly different take on Hollywood’s big night out. What about those who have actually won – specifically in the Best Picture category – even those who’ve done so deservingly? Isn’t it time they came under the microscope for the wrong reasons? Being the Mark Kermode of the East Midlands, there aren’t too many winners that I haven’t cast my critical eye over, and yet there remains a select few I’ve yet to see purely out of choice. The entries on this shortlist are nothing personal, but if you think I’m being unfair then feel free to leave your comments near the bottom of the page.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Best Picture Winner, 1976)

This may or may not come as a shock, but I’m not the world’s biggest Jack Nicholson fan. A talented actor, granted, but I’ve always thought he’s just a tad overrated. Now I dearly wish this was the reason why this particular movie is getting this particular list underway, but it’s not. Also up for the big prize in this particular year was a certain summer blockbuster by the name of Jaws, and the Academy decided to deliver the biggest snub in shark history? The cheek of it.

Should’ve been: Jaws – obviously.

Kramer vs. Kramer (1980)

With a hatful of nominations, including five wins between them, as well as being widely regarded as two of the greatest ever to boot, the dream partnership of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep should make this drama a masterpiece. Well it does to everyone else, just not in my eyes. There’s one small problem: it’s a courtroom drama. Yes, it virtually wiped the Oscars board, and yes it has even been credited for changing a cultural dynamic, but it’s still a courtroom drama.

Should’ve been: Apocalypse Now – another masterpiece from Francis Ford Coppola.

Titanic (1998)

Am I right in thinking that this is the most controversial entry on the list? Right, now we’ve cleared that up, I have to admit that I have actually sat down to watch this – twice in fact. The first time around, I got so bored that I dropped off within 20 minutes, whereas on the second occasion I realised after 25 minutes why that had happened, and so vowed never to try and get through this drivel in its entirety again. As I’ve yet to break that promise to myself, this counts on the list.

Should’ve been: Good Will Hunting – has more inspiration in its little finger.

Chicago (2003)

I’m a big fan of An Officer and a Gentleman, and an even bigger fan of Pretty Woman. For the best part of ten years, Richard Gere could do no wrong, and just over a decade later he was cast in this award-winning musical. I just think he went past his sell-by date as a charismatic leading man way before; plus, neither Catherine Zeta-Jones nor Renee Zellweger have a thing on Debra Winger or Julia Roberts as his leading lady.

Should’ve been: Gangs of New York – but the Academy just seem to have it in for Martin Scorsese, don’t they?

Argo (2013)

I love a good fact-based historical flick. I don’t even mind if there’s the odd inaccuracy (of which this movie apparently has many), it’s just there’s something about Argo that suggests it’s a. too heavy-going, and b. a bit of a vanity project. which leads us on to Ben Affleck. I used to be a big fan when he was Matt Damon‘s partner in-crime (see above with Good Will Hunting), but since then we’ve had GigliDaredevil and the rest of turkey parade. I’m just scarred for life.

Should’ve been: Life of PiAng Lee‘s finest hour (or two).

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