When Oscar time comes around, it’s sometimes useful to remember that the nominees haven’t always been associated with the type of work that gets awards. Honestly, many of them have churned out some real crap in their day. In anticipation of this weekend’s ceremony, let’s review the worst movies made by the Oscar-nominated actors and directors from 2017.
Specifically, we’re looking at the following people, but you can feel free to expand your criteria to other Oscar categories in the Comments.
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, Mel Gibson, Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, Denis Villeneueve
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Viggo Mortensen, Denzel Washington
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Jeff Bridges, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel, Michael Shannon
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Naomi Harris, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer, Michelle Williams
M. Enois Duarte
I don’t deny that Ryan Gosling is a talented actor and occasionally surprises, most recently in ‘The Big Short’ and ‘The Nice Guys’. But like pretty much any actor you can think of, the man has some terrible movies under his belt as well. Overlooking the erased-from-memory flops ‘Murder by Numbers’ and ‘Fracture’, I’ll have to say that his worst performance was as L.A. police detective Sgt. Jerry Wooters in the snoozefest ‘Gangster Squad‘. The movie was boring enough (and also drags down fellow nominee Emma Stone), but to watch Gosling dry as a sour raisin with the personality of a glass of milk left on the counter was torturous. I’m sure Mickey Cohen and his cronies would have turned themselves in and pleaded to be arrested if they were forced to watch this crap.
Oh geez, remember Nicole Kidman in that awful movie ‘The Paperboy‘ – the one where she had to pee on Zac Efron? The worst thing about that movie, and that performance, was that it was played so deadly straight, like it wanted to be taken seriously but wasn’t even enjoyable trash. It was just gross garbage. Wet garbage. Hot sweaty garbage.
It’s stylish, well-produced and well-cast, but the ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford‘ is so long and meandering, the notion of ever watching it again seems torturous. When ‘TAJJCRR’ was released, I developed an aversion for anything that looked borderline with Casey Affleck, which is why I’ve stayed away from fare such as ‘The Killer Inside Me’ (though I did see the subpar ‘Triple 9’).
One opinion that President Trump and I share is related to Meryl Streep. We both agree that she’s a wildly overrated actress. At this point, she’s being nominated for practically every movie she’s in, even when the movies are downright awful. For me, her most offensive movie is ‘Into the Woods‘. What a joyless, incoherent mess. Director Rob Marshall jumbled together a cast of familiar faces, with emphasis placed on hiring big names instead of actors who could perform and sing. Production value was put into the imagery instead of the adaptation.
While plenty of the performances are downright tragic (I’m looking at you, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine), none are as wretched as Meryl Streep’s. Her attempt at singing the Bernadette Peters songs from Sondeheim’s musical sound more like old lady rapping – which we’ve already seen thanks to ‘The Wedding Singer’. Nails on a chalkboard. And what does the Academy do? She got nominated for an Oscar! The 2014 nominees were a total joke. Marion Cotillard was snubbed for ‘Two Days, One Night’. Despite ‘Selma’, black actors and filmmakers were entirely passed over, yet Streep got a nomination for a terrible performance in painfully bad picture.
I hardly know where to begin with Mel Gibson. I won’t fault him for his directing work. Although I’m not especially a fan of ‘Braveheart’ or ‘The Passion of the Christ’, I will acknowledge that they’re technically proficient films with some sort of artistic vision behind them. As an actor, though, Gibson has participated in some real turkeys, including ‘Bird on a Wire’ and ‘Forever Young’. ‘Lethal Weapon 3‘ killed my enthusiasm for that franchise so badly that I never bothered watching the fourth one. I understand that he plays a villain in ‘The Expendables 3‘, but I found that movie so embarrassingly terrible that I had to turn it off before I even got to any of Gibson’s scenes.
If you had to judge this year’s Oscar nominees only by their past work, who wouldn’t make the cut for a trophy? Tell us in the Comments.
Luke, Streep has done some terrible work, more bad than good by volume, but I’ll go to my grave saying she’s the greatest actress based on her best work. I just don’t know another actress – though a few do come close – who gets all the way under my skin like Streep does in Deer Hunter, Sophie’s Choice, Kramer V Kramer, et al. Her late career is nearly all subpar (Adaptation is a nice exception), but to me, the other greats (Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet would all make my list) come up a bit shy of Meryl Streep at the top of her game.
As for this year’s nominees in bad roles, I got Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D.
Dude, come on…
Denzel played a ghost-pimp haunting Bob Hoskins once. That was pretty scary.
I don’t pay attention to the Oscars but did Emma Stone get nominated this year? If so, then I would name the two Spinder-Man snoozefest films she starred in a few years ago. It also applies to Andrew Garfield if he’s nominated this year.
Never mind, I missed the section where Josh listed the nominees, just saw that both actors got nominated this year.
Wow Brian – we’ll agree to disagree – The Assassination of Jesse James is one of my ALL-TIME favorite Westerns!
Fair enough. I had a Blu-ray viewing, and I still haven’t lived it down. Also, I don’t think I’ll ever get over Macho Grande.
Unforgiven, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and The Cowboys are roughly my favorite westerns. I think of TAJJCRF as less western genre and more in-Hollywood. (Like Birdman.)
I’m with you, Shannon. I absolutely love Jesse James. For being a long, slow drama, it’s one that I frequently want to watch and, despite its long runtime, it flies by. Its score is still one of my all-time favorites.
Exsqueeze me…me-sa remember Portman in maxi-bad bantha pudu…and again and again!!
This made me laugh. I like you. Hell, you can even fuck my sister.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a fair translation of my post.
Big Viola Davis fan, but she had a quick spot in the Hugh Jackman romcom Kate & Leopold. Also Suicide Squad
Y’all forget Dev Patel was in The Last Airbender? I don’t blame you.
But Professor Duarte, I love ‘Fracture’! 🙂 Really, I love it!