In a perfect world, the film that takes the Best Picture prize at the Academy Awards each year should truly be a reflection of the very best of what the film community had to offer that year. They feature top-notch costume designers, editors, composers, directors, writers, and performers. And they explore new boundaries with technology, tell daring stories, and move audiences to think about and look at the world a little bit differently. They’re classic and innovative. They’re the films we want to remember.
But that’s not always the case. Each year when the Academy Award nominations are announced, there are some films that obviously deserved their accolades, and others that questionably made the cut. And sometimes, Oscar voters get so caught up in the momentum surrounding a particular movie that they vote for a film that was, perhaps, less deserving than another.
For many film fans and critics, it seems down right scandalous when a movie that clearly doesn’t deserve the top prize takes it anyway. History isn’t kind to these films. The Greatest Show on Earth is routinely cited for its awfulness, and How Green Was My Valley might as well be called How Did This Win Instead of Citizen Kane?
But there are no take backs when it comes to the Academy Awards. Once a film is named Best Picture, it’s in the annals of Oscar history forever — for better or for worse. The Academy has received plenty of criticism for being “out of touch” lately, due in part to their questionable nomination and voting records. Here are the worst Oscar winners of the last 50 years.