The Oscars are supposed to honor each year’s greatest achievements from the world of cinema. But as the famous line from Some Like It Hot goes, nobody’s perfect. Want proof? Just look at Some Like It Hot. Today, it’s considered one of the greatest movie comedies ever made. In 1959, it didn’t win a single Academy Award.
There are two kinds of mistakes at the Oscars: Those by omissions (like Some Like It Hot) and those by giving awards to less-deserving winners. Obviously there is no scientific formula to these prizes; it’s not like the movie that earns the most money at the box office or winds up on the most critics’ top ten lists is declared the official winner. The Oscars are based on the votes given by the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As such, they are at the mercy of the whims, moods, and questionable taste of human beings.
In some cases, Best Picture winners look worse with the benefit of hindsight, as some films fade into obscurity while others remain relevant and rewatched decade after decade. In others, it was tough to justify the Academy’s choices from the very first moment the winning title was pulled out of the envelope on the stage of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Out of the 90+ Best Picture winners so far, here are our picks for the 15 most egregious choices, ranked from movies that are okay but not worthy of the title of Best Picture to films that are flat-out bad and not worthy of being watched at all in any context. And if you don’t agree with our picks, well, just remember: Nobody’s perfect.
The Worst Oscar Best Picture Winners
These movies won the Academy Awards for Best Picture over better, more deserving films.
Actors Who Won Oscars For Their First Movie Roles