Top Ten Undeserving Best Picture Winners


Written by Guillermo Troncoso.

Generally speaking, the Academy Awards pick a worthy film to be honored with the all-important Best Picture award, but every now and then they leave us scratching our heads in disbelief. Mind you, most of these films are decent pictures in their own right, but Best Picture? Don’t think so.

Take a trip back in time with us as we look at the  TOP TEN UNDESERVING BEST PICTURE WINNERS:

Year: 2010


  • The King’s Speech

The story of King George VI of Britain and his speech impediment was well directed by Tom Hooper and featured excellent performances by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. It wasn’t too much of a surprise when it took home Best Picture but it was an altogether simpler and blander film compared to the films it was up against.

Beat: Black Swan, The Social Network and Toy Story 3

 Year: 2005


  • Crash

The interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption that ran through Crash certainly provided some powerful moments. There’s great acting and Paul Haggis’ screenplay is impressive but the fact remains that this was up against the incredible Brokeback Mountain. Ang Lee’s powerful same-sex love story may have been a little too controversial for the Academy. Crash must have just been the “safer” choice.

Beat: Brokeback Mountain

Year: 1998


  • Shakespeare In Love

In a year that had two incredible war-films this comedy took home the big award. This romantic imagining of how Shakespeare came to write one of his most famous plays is amiable enough, but there just isn’t enough to support this as a Best Picture win. Gwyneth Paltrow’s painful acceptance speech for Best Actress certainly didn’t do anybody any favours.

Beat: Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line

Year: 1994


  • Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is the type of film that can easily be looked at in two ways: As an imaginative, touching masterpiece that benefits from Tom Hanks’ gutsy performance or as a silly, ham-fisted attempt at being an “emotional” and “creative” film. Either way, Pulp and Shawshank deserved it more.

Beat: Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption

Year: 1990


  • Dances With Wolves

Kevin Costner directed and starred in this three-hour (or four-hour if you see the Director’s Cut) epic that took home seven Academy Awards. It has all the elements for a Best Picture win but many see this as nothing more than a glorified, clichéd, snooze-fest.

Beat: Goodfellas

Year: 1989


  • Driving Miss Daisy

This tale of a stubborn old lady and her growing friendship with her African-American chauffeur doesn’t ever really soar. It’s a safe film that ticks off the boxes without ever reaching the heights that some of the competitors did.

Beat: Born On The Fourth Of July and My Left Foot

Year: 1979


Kramer Vs. Kramer

This story of man who is forced to raise his son on his own after his wife leaves is an emotional masterpiece. Apocalypse Now is just better – simple as that.

Beat: Apocalypse Now

Year: 1956


  • Around The World In 80 Days

This adaptation of Jules Verne’s tale about a man who bets that he can travel around the world in 80 days isn’t exactly a great picture. Sure, it is entertaining and has a contagious sense of wonder but both Giant and The Ten Commandments easily trample this film.

Beat: Giant and The Ten Commandments

Year: 1952

lane chandler, cornel wilde, james stewart, betty hutton, charlton heston, john ridgely & gloria grahame - the greatest show on earth 1952

  • The Greatest Show On Earth

Cecil B. Demille’s grand picture hasn’t aged too well. Melodramatic and long, The Greatest Show On Earth doesn’t have the wonder it may have had back in ’52. On the other hand, the films that it beat are still fantastic pieces of cinema.

Beat: The Quiet Man and High Noon

Year: 1941


  • How Green Was My Valley

If this classic film was released at any other time it would have probably deserved to win Best Picture. John Ford’s film about the ups and downs of the Morgan family is both moving and sweet. The major problem is that it was up against a certain film that is now regarded as one of the best ever.

Beat: Citizen Kane

– G.T.