The Oscars are always a source of controversy – did the right films get nominated? Which films got snubbed? Did the right actors and movies win? And frankly, sometimes the Academy gets it wrong, especially in the Best Picture category. At the time, viewers may accept the Best Picture winners, but as the years go by, those films don’t age well. Here are seven Best Picture winners that, in hindsight, probably shouldn’t have won.
7 Best Picture winners that really shouldn’t have won
Titanic (1997)Titanic was unquestionably a box office powerhouse, a film beloved by many, and was totally unavoidable when it came out. And those special effects? Only James Cameron could have made that sinking ship look so real. But as the years have gone by, the clunky dialogue, the obvious plotting, and the infuriating ending (just let Jack on the door with you, Rose!) have become incredibly obvious. The fact that it won over films like The Full Monty or L.A. Confidential makes the film’s victory all the more egregious.Paramount
Crash (2004)The fact that Crash won was already a surprise when it happened, considering it was up against movies like Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Goodnight and Good Luck, and Munich. But especially in today’s political climate, a film about racism written and directed by Paul Haggis – an affluent white man – seems like quite the misstep. Perhaps a storyline about the redemption of a corrupt, racist cop wasn’t the best decision (but then, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is doing similar stuff).Lionsgate
Shakespeare In Love (1998)This movie won over Saving Private Ryan! How?! Don’t get me wrong; Shakespeare In Love is a romantic, funny, beautifully shot, and well-constructed film. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Saving Private Ryan, and the Academy should still be embarrassed about this Best Picture win.Miramax
American Beauty (1999)At the time, a film about the dark side of suburban living seemed brilliant, and almost edgy. But countless other films have been made on the same topic since, to the point that watching American Beauty now just elicits an eye-roll and utterances of, “Yeah, we get it.” Not to mention that any film starring Kevin Spacey has been retroactively tainted.DreamWorks
West Side Story (1961)Yes, it’s a beloved musical, and yes, it was a different time. But today, when white-washing roles meant for characters of specific ethnicities is such an important topic in Hollywood, West Side Story doesn’t look so great. Natalie Wood wasn’t remotely Puerto Rican, and her casting comes off as a huge mistake. On the bright side, Rita Moreno definitely deserved her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.United Artists
Forrest Gump (1994)Tom Hanks acts the heck out of this role, and at the time it was a touching, nostalgic film about kindness and fate. But over the last two-and-a-half decades, it’s hard to ignore the message that Forrest succeeds because he doesn’t question authority and does everything he’s told, while Jenny suffers and eventually dies of AIDS because she did the opposite. Don’t fight against The Man, apparently? Best Picture should have gone to The Shawshank Redemption instead.Paramount
Ordinary People (1980)Most people only remember that Raging Bull lost the Best Picture race this year, and then they think, “Wait, so what won instead?” Well, it was – you guessed it – a film about the dark side of a white, suburban family going through trauma. While Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton gave great performances (with Hutton even winning the Best Supporting Actor trophy), the fact that Raging Bull was snubbed is something many film fans are still bitter over.Paramount
The 90th annual telecast of the Academy Awards airs live on Sunday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on CTV.