February 25, 2012

Biggest Oscar Mistakes - Wins

The coveted acting Academy Award is the gold standard of acceptance and success in Hollywood. It is given to the Academy's pick for best performance of the year. Over the years, however, Oscar has increasingly turned into a massive contest, with million dollar campaigning by studios. It's no longer about the single performance, but increasingly (especially nowadays) about something totally different (career recognition, popularity, love of the character, etc).

Though a lot of great performances are left off the roster each year, generally it doesn't really matter who, out of the 5 nominees, wins... because they are all worthy. That doesn't mean that from time to time Oscar hasn't gotten it wrong... and on an even rarer occasion, VERY wrong.

Tatum O'Neal

Year: 1974
Film: Paper Moon
Award: Best Supporting Actress

Don't get us wrong... Tatum O'Neal was fantastic... for a child. It's unfortunate that the Academy stopped doling out Juvenile Oscars because, through no fault of their own, children can't stand up to adult performers. We always measure it like this: If an adult were playing the part, would it be considered Oscar-worthy. Most of the time, no.

Who Should Have Won:

Linda Blair in "The Exorcist"

She's one of three children in history who measure up to our Oscar test (the other two are Patty Duke for "The Miracle Worker" and Haley Joel Osment for "The Sixth Sense"). Blair was flawless and, arguably, gave the scariest performance in cinematic history. The fact that she was 13 when it was filmed, makes it all that more unbelievable and exceptional.

Geraldine Page

Year: 1986
Film: The Trip to Bountiful
Award: Best Actress

Geraldine Page was a terrific actor. That's very true. Her performance in "The Trip to Bountiful" was great. But, we really believe that after 8 nominations and 34 years in the business, the Academy wanted to show their love more so for her lifetime achievement. Maybe it was a good thing because Page died the very next year.

Who Should Have Won:

Whoopi Goldberg in "The Color Purple"

If there was ever a performance absolutely worthy of an Oscar, Goldberg's 'Celie' is it. To say that she was phenomenal, just seems an understatement. The sad thing is, the then-unknown-comedienne probably would have won if this film had come out 5 years later. The Academy loves to reward performers who break type (i.e. 2012 nominee Jonah Hill)

Anna Paquin

Year: 1994
Film: The Piano
Award: Best Supporting Actress

She was definitely convincing and good, but Paquin did not deserve this win. We would rate her number 4 out of the 5 nominees... just edging out Winona Ryder.

Who Should Have Won:

Holly Hunter in "The Firm"

Paquin's "The Piano" costar would have made history by being the first actor to receive 2 acting Oscars in a single ceremony and that... is exactly why we think she didn't. Academy voters probably thought, "hey, we're voting her Best Actress, let's pick someone else for Supporting". Hunter, however, was outstanding as the kooky little secretary... and definitely deserved the honor.

Kim Basinger

Year: 1998
Film: L.A. Confidential
Award: Best Supporting Actress

Popularity contest? Why, yes. The long-adored Basinger was up for her first and only (to date) Oscar nomination and we don't think the Academy was gonna let her get away without a statue.

Who Should Have Won:

Julianne Moore in "Boogie Nights"

Moore, who has long eluded Oscar glory, should have won after her very first nomination for playing a drug-addicted, porn star dealing with an emotional custody battle. We can still remember that roller coaster ride of a performance, like it was yesterday.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Year: 2003
Film: Chicago
Award: Best Supporting Actress

Her singing was decent... dancing was fairly good... and her acting was nice... did she deserve Oscar gold? Hell, no. But the Academy sure loves triple threats (i.e. Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey), even if they aren't fantastic (i.e. Jennifer Hudson). What's the worst thing about this win? Her Chicago accent was horrific. Her Welsh twang kept sliding back in and our ears were exhausted.

Who Should Have Won:

Meryl Streep in "Adaptation"

This should have been Streep's third time at the podium, but with every nomination since 1984, the Academy remembered that she already had 2 golden guys. It shouldn't matter because, like we said before, it is only about the single performance. Oh well... we aren't crying for the lovely Meryl.

Reese Witherspoon

Year: 2006
Film: Walk the Line
Award: Best Actress

We get it. In 2006, Reese Witherspoon was the reigning "American Sweetheart"... beloved by all for her cuteness. But does that mean she deserved an Oscar? We certainly don't think so. Again, this is an example of being rewarded for playing against type.

Who Should Have Won:

Felicity Huffman in "Transamerica"

Huffman was stellar. It was not hard for us to believe that she was 'Bree'. There was no evidence of her very popular and very famous "Desperate Housewives" character in this film. Some would argue that it was due to the power of makeup, but... aha... we re-watched the flick and closed our eyes from time to time. We can honestly say, it was the acting.

Jennifer Hudson

Year: 2007
Film: Dreamgirls
Award: Best Supporting Actress

We've said this before and we stand by it. We believe this acting win... and nomination is the biggest mistake in Oscar history. Yes, Hudson was tremendous during her songs. She showed great emotion and passion. We're not gonna lie. We were clapping and crying along with everyone else at the end of "I'm Not Going". But when it came down to acting, without the crutch of a well-written song, she fell very flat. She seemed uncomfortable and unsure... and has in every role since. As far as we're concerned... Hudson is the luckiest Oscar winner in history. Cherish that golden guy because we are willing to bet, you will NEVER be up for one again.

Who Should Have Won:

Adriana Barazza in "Babel"

Unfortunately for Barazza, the studio that produced "Babel" didn't spend much money on her campaign (they certainly did for Pitt and Blanchett... neither of whom were nominated). Despite the loss, we believe she was the best supporting actress of 2007's roster.

Sandra Bullock

Year: 2010
Film: The Blind Side
Award: Best Actress

We actually are very fond of Bullock. She is a terrific romantic comedy actor. And we actually very much enjoyed her performance in "The Blind Side". But, we don't think she deserved the Oscar. She said it best herself when she admitted that she probably would never be up at the podium again. And we're thinking Academy voters thought so too... so they handed her the win.

Who Should Have Won:

Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious"

Sometimes there comes a gripping and heart-wrenching performance that just stands out from all the others. Sidibe literally came out of nowhere to deliver one of the greatest acting jobs ever. The kind of caliber she possesses as an actor became even more evident, when we all saw the real Gabourey in numerous interviews. She couldn't be further from the character of 'Precious'.

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