The 6 Most Undeserving Best Picture Oscar Winners
Well, here we are...we've come to the final part of our series on Oscar's most undeserving winners. We've already pilloried choices in the Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, and Best Actor categories, and now we set our sights on the biggest award of them all: Best Picture.
Without further ado, here are the six most undeserving Academy Award winners for Best Picture. Enjoy!
6. The Sting (1973)
If there were one thing Hollywood traditionally obsessed over—and there are many, but if there were only one—it would be the early 20th century. There's a certain nostalgia that the movie industry has placed on roughly the era from the Roaring Twenties to the years just before Vietnam.
Just look at the nominated films from the early '70s, and you'll see what I mean. The first two Godfather movies. Paper Moon. American Graffiti. Cabaret. And don't forget 1973's Best Picture winner, The Sting.
Here's the thing about The Sting (pardon the rhyme): it's a fun comedy and a rollicking good time, but it's just too lightweight for a Best Picture winner. In any other year, this movie probably wouldn't have won, and it's still not entirely clear how it beat some of its more substantive competitors that year.
What should've won? The scary-as-hell ride of The Exorcist stunned everyone with its success and acclaim. True, it's as hard to fathom a horror flick winning Best Picture as it is a light comedy, but looking back at that year's films, it's painfully obvious that The Exorcist is the only classic with staying power.
5. Dances With Wolves (1990)
We can use a couple of movie-critic cliches to describe Dances With Wolves. There's "revisionist Western." The film definitely looks at the frontier through its own unique lens. How about "feast for the eyes"? Dances With Wolves is a visually stunning picture for sure.
We can use another couple of terms to describe Dances With Wolves—overlong and overearnest. There's a self-awareness to the movie that is painfully obvious from the start, and it detracts from the enjoyment and wonder that could have been. Dances With Wolves is a good move. A great movie? Almost. A Best Picture winner? Unfortunately, yes.
What should've won? If Best Picture had been completely up to me, the wonderful story of Awakenings would have walked away with the gold. But a little Mafia film deserved to win, too, and I'm talking about Goodfellas, not The Godfather, Part III.