The British film magazine Empire has named Mel Gibson’s Braveheart the worst Best Picture Oscar winner, maintaining that writer Randall Wallace’s dialogue for the film “has all the thudding subtlety of a parody.”
Runner-up was 2002’s A Beautiful Mind, which was faulted for its “willfully dishonest screenplay.” In third place was Cecil B. DeMille’s 1952 “tawdry circus spectacle” The Greatest Show on Earth. The 1942 winner, How Green Was My Valley, apparently made the list primarily because it beat out Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon that year.
The complete list is
1. Braveheart (1995)
2. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
3. The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)
4. Ordinary People (1980)
5. Forrest Gump (1994)
6. Terms Of Endearment (1983)
7. Around The World in 80 Days (1956)
8. Cavalcade (1933)
9. Rocky (1976)
10. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
What on are earth are these British guys talking about? I know these press releases are created and sent out to get attention for their magazine by leaving people wanting more, but I need more than a sentence of criteria to take them seriously.
Braveheart is not worthy of the top 10, let alone the worst Best Picture. Gladiator (2000) is a complete rip-off of Braveheart with the addition of bad CGI, so why didn’t that make the list? Could they be upset that the British were the villains?
It is interesting that they didn’t understand the very American films, Forrest Gump and Rocky, neither of which deserves to be in the Top 10 either. And not to get jingoistic, but I did notice the absence of Best Pictures with a British perspective that are worthy of being considered the worst: Mrs. Miniver (1942), Tom Jones (1963) and Chariots of Fire (1981).
If they are going to include films like How Green Was My Valley, what about the snooze-fest Driving Miss Daisy (1989), which was up against Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poet’s Society and Field of Dreams, not to mention Do the Right Thing, which wasn’t even nominated.
And what about musicals? While they may have the occasional memorable song or dance number, I would certainly consider Broadway Melody (1928-29), An American in Paris (1951) and GiGi (1958) as being bad. The last two have the unfair advantage of being saddled with the horrible actress Leslie Caron.
Empire did get it right in regards to A Beautiful Mind, a terrible film written by that hack Akiva Goldsman. How a writer could get so many facts wrong about the man’s life when he has access to them in the book he’s adapting speaks to his pathetic abilities. The film only won because Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are such nice guys in the industry.
Check out El Bicho’s take on the 2005 Oscars.