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Oscar Bitchfest: 10 Oscar Nominations We Wish They’d Rescinded

Oscar Bitchfest: 10 Oscar Nominations We Wish They'd Rescinded

So yesterday the Academy decided to take back an Oscar nomination for original song “Alone Yet Not Alone” due to its composer (a  Music Branch executive committee member) internally promoting the song.  This was the first time a nomination was retroactively disqualified for alleged campaign malpractice, though we’re pretty sure this ain’t the first time there’s been such a thing (I mean, aren’t the Oscars one giant campaign malpractice?). Either way, the news got us thinking and wishing and bitching… About 10 nominations from the past we wish had been rescinded… Please feel free to post your own in the comments.

“Doctor Dolittle” for best picture
Knegt: I’m
going way back here (please don’t ignorantly think I’m under the
impression the Eddie Murphy version got a best picture nomination), but
seriously, picture it: It’s 1967. A great year for film. And “The
Graduate,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “In The Heat of the Night” and “Guess
Who’s Coming To Dinner” are all — to varying degrees (“Dinner” isn’t
the greatest, but compared to “Dolittle” its Citizen fucking Kane) —
reasonably among the Academy’s choices to represent it in the best
picture category. And then they nominated “Doctor Dolittle” alongside
it? A little Hollywood history: “Dolittle” was basically 20th Century
Fox trying to match the insane successes of their “Sound of Music.”
Except it went three times over its $6 million budget (a huge number
back then) and was released to bad reviews and bad box office. But Fox
decided to pour a shit ton of money into an Oscar campaign that included
huge, pricey dinners for Academy members. Talk about campaign malpractice (and if you find this interesting, read Mark Harris’ “Pictures at a Revolution” — seriously).

Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady”
Knott: Obviously Meryl is an acting god. And there was something extraordinary about her rendition of Margaret Thatcher. But only in the same way that there was about the Amy Winehouse drag queen I saw in a club in Havana a few years back. Let’s be honest – this was not an immersive performance in any sense. The acting was impossible to miss, in the worst possible way. I was more impressed by Jim Broadbent’s baffling impersonation of a creepy children’s entertainer pretending to be Casper the friendly ghost. That same year, Viola Davis showed us all how to give a great performance in a bad film. And she was robbed.
Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County”
Knegt: I can’t believe we are back-to-back attacking Meryl! I love Meryl Streep. She is potentially my favorite person living. And I stand by the vast majority of her Oscar nominations (even “The Iron Lady”), and bow down to almost everything she’s done. But not “August: Osage County.” I mean, it was definitely a hoot to watch in a grand soap operatic kind of way, but in a year when Emma Thompson, Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Brie Larson were all in the running, did the Academy really need to give Meryl nomination number 18 for this over-the-top performance? No.

Renee Zellweger for everything
Knott: It feels like a bad dream, looking back on the previous decade and seeing that Ms Zellweger departed it an Academy Award winner and two-time Best Actress nominee. But it is almost beyond belief that such garlands were for “Bridget Jones’ Diary”, “Chicago” and “Cold Mountain”. Hell, where was the Special Achievement award for “Miss Potter”? I am all for the Academy rewarding non-dramatic roles more often – so I can stomach the first two nominations. But stumbling around on a hillside with a bad accent and a dodgy hat and beating Patricia Clarkson in the process is no fair way to get your hands on your very own golden boy.

Elizabeth Taylor for “BUtterfield 8”
Knegt: Elizabeth Taylor
somehow won her first Oscar for perhaps her worst performance: A super
campy take on a call girl in a film that even she OPENLY hated. In fact, she
only made “BUtterfield 8” because she had to. She was under contractual
obligation at MGM and to be allowed to depart to Fox to make
“Cleopatra,” she made the film under protest to fulfill her
obligation. Her now-famous response to the success of the film, even
after it finally gave her a golden boy: “I still say it stinks.” We
agree, as does the Academy’s bizarre decision to reward it (over Shirley
MacLaine in “The Apartment”!).

“Norbit” for Best Make Up
Knott: Though I suppose I should be praising the Academy for being able to recognize excellence in specific craft categories within the wider context of a truly abysmal film, I expect this wouldn’t have made the cut if it weren’t the work of industry legend Rick Baker. But really – I’ve actually watched that film, and the fact that there should ever be legitimate reason to utter the phrase “Academy Award nominee “Norbit”? Unforgivable.

“War Horse” for best picture
Knegt: “Crash” aside (and I’m
sure one of is going to go there sooner or later here), I sincerely feel
like Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” is the worst film ever nominated
for best picture. The first year the Academy decided to go on its
“sliding scale” of nominees somehow saw enough #1 votes go to this total
mess.  Horribly written, unabashedly sentimental and artistically
old school in a severely lazy kind of way, “War Horse” is only
enjoyable if you pretend that the war horse himself was intended to be read as homosexual. Which I suggest you rent the movie, smoke a joint and pretend to do RIGHT NOW.

That song nobody remembers from “Les Miserables”
Knott: Best Original Song is a category that offers endless potential for bitching. These are the people that took the song widely considered the low point of Stevie Wonder’s career – “I Just Called To Say I Love You” – and promptly handed it a gong. But I’m afraid “Suddenly” deserves it for the sheer laziness of its nomination. How many people remember what this song sounded like, or even who sung it? I’d bet not even half of the voters, who simply weren’t able to nominate anything more well-known from that film which had all that singing in it. Excellent choice guys.
That song nobody remembers from that movie version of “The Phantom of the Opera” that nobody remembers
Knegt: That “Les Mis” nomination reeks of this desperate thing that musical adaptations of the past two decades constantly get away with because the Academy’s music branch are — as we saw yesterday — clearly ready to do whatever the fuck people tell them to do. They take a Broadway musical, whether “Les Mis” or “Chicago” or “Dreamgirls” or whatever, and add one new song that is so ridiculously below the quality of the rest of them just so its technically original and thus they have another Oscar nomination to count on. Personally, the worst example of this is “Learn To Be Lonely” from Joel Schumacher’s take on “The Phantom of the Opera” (which frankly I’d be surprised if too many people remember exists). A horrible song from a horrible movie that somehow ended up the same amount of Oscar nominations — three, actually — as “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Before Midnight,” “Blue is the Warmest Color,” “Frances Ha” and “Stories We Tell” combined.
“Crash” for Best Picture
Knott: I’ve been called a bitter, hate-filled homosexual a lot on the internet this week, but it’s not this film’s egregious victory over “Brokeback Mountain” that still has me reeling. It’s the very fact that “Crash” got any awards traction at all. From the category that didn’t bring you “Do the Right Thing” fifteen years earlier, we got this pompous, condescending and trite take on race relations in America. Oh Academy, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Oscar Bitchfest is a regular awards season feature between /bent boys Peter Knegt and Matthew Hammett Knott. Check out Knegt’s Oscar predictions over on Indiewire now.

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"The Lone Ranger" for Best Visual Effects over "Pacific Rim", "Ender’s Game", and/or "Thor: The Dark World".
"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" over "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" in the Makeup/Hair nomination.
Jacki Weaver for her nomination for best Supporting Actress for "Silver Linings PLaybook".


While the nomination of Meryl for "August" didn't piss me off… Cate Blanchett winning for "Blue Jasmine" did… but that's because I loved Judi Dench and Sandra in their respectively nominated films… While I did love Viola Davis in the Help… I also loved Meryl in the Iron Lady… both films depicted a look into the past… I liked both… that was a coin toss for me…. (but realistically after Helen Mirren won (which was totally deserved not knocking her at all because in this gay man's opinion she is great) for "The Queen" I kind of figured Meryl would get it for Thatcher… just saying
And I am going to go there… either Meryl or Whoopi should have won when nominated for "Out of Africa" or "The Color Purple"… I detested The Trip to Bountiful… though I watched it after seeing "fried green tomatoes" and because they seem like similar on some fronts that "fried" just told better could be the reason for my distaste for Bountiful… that or John Heard


This "Streep fatigue" is stupid. Now people are saying she is "too good". People can't stand it when someone is considered one of the greats. I don't hear anything about overrated Jennifer Lawrence. Streep deserved her Oscar for "The Iron Lady" and her nomination for August: Osage County. She didn't overact, she was brilliant people were just bitter just because Emma Thompson didn't get in. By the way, she wasn't insulting Emma or ruining her chances the comments were made the day before the nominations closed so obviously they already written Emma out of the nominations. Mad because your favorite actress didn't get in?


I disagree about Renee in Chicago. She was wonderful as Roxie Hart. I AGREE about Rich Little (oops I meant Meryl Streep)–who is revolting in everything.

The other enormous joke was Denzel Washington in Training Day–one big HUH??

gerard kennelly

streep for iron lady instead of mara for TGWIDT was a disgrace


I'd love for Jackass: Bad Grandpa to win Best Makeup & Hairstyling over Dallas Buyers Club and The Lone Ranger just to hear the presenter shout Jackass! from the podium.

Laura Hope Crewes

I expect a great deal of compalints about my "undeserving" list:

Marsha Mason — everything she was ever nominated for
Ann-Margret — TOMMY (a particularly bad year for actresses)
Nancy Kelly — THE BAD SEED (if you think Meryl overacted in AUGUST, watch Nancy in this)
Johnny Depp — SWEENEY TODD (Love Johnny, but . . .)
Roberto Benigni — LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
Walter Matthau — KOTCH (WTF . . . )
Charlton Heston — BEN-HUR
Mickey Rooney — BABES IN ARMS

I could go much further, but . . . perhaps another day.

Edward Copeland

Renee Zellweger deserved her nomination for Bridget Jones. There are way too many nominations worthy of being rescinded to try to list them. It's the multitude of deserving omissions that always bug me more. That list stretches long as well, but I'll just mention Edward G. Robinson never being nominated for ANY film.


Crash was a great film! No one was cheated. Brokeback was good as well but didn't stay true to the novella. Plus it was disappointing that Heath Ledger's character got drunk at every opportunity. Not a good example.


M. Mann/ Q. Tarantino/ D. Fincher/ R. Scott / P. Weir/ P. T. Anderson: between them 0 awards for direction. If you add Martin Scorsese then you get the grand total of… 1 … enough said


I agree with the fact that Viola Davis got robbed by Meryl Streep in the Iron Lady. And don't get me started on Out of Africa over Color Purple and Witness, Rocky over Network, Ghandi over Raiders of the Lost Ark, The English Patient over Fargo (pure blatant robbery), Dances with Wolves (which I did enjoy but still…) over Goodfellas (another proverbial purse snatch), The Kings Speech over The Social Network and The Kids are Alright. And who does Amy Adams and Julianne Moore have to blow to win an Oscar?


ELIZABETH TAYLOR hated "Butterfield 8" because it was made to exploit her then reputation as a scarlet woman. Despite that, she did a sizzling turn with two big high points: the opening where she wakes up alone in bed, and the scene where she confesses to being molested by an older man. As for SHIRLEY MacLAINE, she is in less than 45 minutes of "The Apartment." Very hard for a supporting character to knock off somone, Taylor, who is in every scene in her film.

The STREEP Fatigue you have fallen into is just silly. She's now in the position, in some media, of being resented for being too good. You can think whatever you want of her in IRON LADY or AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, but you can't dispute that she is miles above the sweet young things (Roberts, Zellwegger, Theron, and, worst of all, Bullock) who hired publicists, stylists, managers and pursued the Oscar like Olympic candidates. It worked, and Streep lost for two of her best later portrayals in DEVIL WEARS PRADA and JULIA and JULIE. Asleep, Meryl Streep is a better actress than Sandra Bullock


I could not disagree with (the majority of) this list more! Sounds like it is written by someone who honestly doesn't know films very well! Simply choosing their favorites (in this case their least favorites) and being a little pig headed about it. BROKEBACK WAS NOT THAT GOOD!!! Get over it. Yes, maybe director and best adapted screen play… but not best picture! People who seriously think that are probably the same people who think Sandra Bullock deserved her Oscar! This article is a sham!


Marisa Tomei for My Cousin Vinny.

To this day, I'm sure Lisa Bonet's (A Different World) still trying to figure out why she didn't just adopt an obnoxious Brooklyn accent rather than do a blood-covered horizontal dance with Mickey Rourke.

Candra Aditya

The King's Speech over the brilliant Social Network. Period.

Albert Sanchez Moreno

You forgot to mention that in 1967, the film version of Lerner and Loewe's musical "Camelot" could (and should) have taken the Best Picture nomination that went to "Doctor Dolittle" instead. Although many critics dislike "Camelot", I thought it was excellent and that Richad Harris and Vanessa Redgrave gave magnificent performances despite the fact that neither one of them were really singers.

Juha Tapani

1.Meryl Streep…Has not ever impressed me, zero nominations please
2.Linda Fiorentino "The Last Seduction"…Stupid Academy rules.
3.Mimi Rogers "The Rapture", beat all the other contenders.
4.Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat", "Crimes Of Passion", Prizzi`s Honor"
5."LightSleeper" totally forgotten masterpiece
6.Alan Rudolph for "Choose Me", "Trouble In Mind" and "The Moderns"
7K.Kieslowski for best director "Three Colours: Blue and Red"
8.Susan Seidelman: "Desperately Seeking Susan"
9.David Lynch, "Blue Velvet" and "Mullholland Drive"
10.Mickey Rourke only one nomination and even that was lost to Sean Penn. What a joke!
11.Jennifer Jason Leigh…0 Nominations !!! F…K M.Streep !
12.Michael Fassbinder "Shame", not even a nomination
13,Tilda Swinton, "Orlando", "The Deep End" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin"
14.Noomi Rapace, "Men Who Hates Women", I prefer the original title.
15.Wim Wenders: "Paris-Texas"
16.Peter Greenway, 0 nominations
17.Jerry Goldsmith should have won for best original score for "Basic Instinct" was not even nominated.
18.Michael Nyman should have won for "The Piano" and they did not even nominate him !!!
19.Alfred Hitchcock, zero wins !!!
20.Cher over Glenn Close…What a joke ! Cher should have been nominated for "Mask"
21.Gandhi…Best movie 1982….Over "Blade Runner"

Just to mention few…
Of course "Shakespeare In Love" and G.Paltrow and by the way…
I still must be the only person who still likes "Crash" and absolutely hated that "BoringBack Mountain"…


i always think our observations and criticisms on movies are too subjective for us to declare verdicts on them. lot of people have lot of different opinions on different films. talking about crash, i too felt it was unreal and something like pretentious or preachy.. but Mr Roger ebert liked it very much, gave it 4 stars and even placed it above much loved Brokeback (although he hates rankings) and defended the film against its detractors. i am no professional critic or anything just a movie lover but i think when such an intelligent and passionate man loves a movie that much and when we are certain that he didn't do it for money or anything, i guess we need to think twice before bashing and thrashing and insulting a movie like we have done over the years. True there were many many people who hated all the awards love it got, but may be it didn't click with them right? it clicked with roger and some others..and for that i respect it!


So right about Crash. You win just for that. It was just the dumbest take on "why" people do the horrible things they do that I've ever seen. It had this whole "let's just call it a tie and move on" theme that was disgusting.


I only watched Crash for the first time last year and I was stunned by how absolutely AWFUL it is. I am utterly perplexed to how it actually managed to win.


There's 4 this year alone I'd love to rescind:

1. Her for Best Original Screenplay.
2. Meryl Streep for Best Actress.
3. Her for Best Picture.
4. Captain Phillips for Best Picture.

James S.

The first time I saw 'Crash,' I loved it. Thought it was a masterpiece. The second time I saw it, some two or three years later, I almost went to church for the first time in decades to repent for my awful sins. I hate 'Crash' so much, I can't stand it, for all the reasons Knott mentioned: it's pretentious, bloated, self-important and, worst of all, condescending. Worst Oscar win for Best Picture ever.


As soon as I read this, I knew yet another needless swipe at Crash was coming. It's been almost a decade, maybe now we can step back and realize that this is actually a cutting, very effective and highly deserving film. Can we do that?

And for the record, I also think Do the Right Thing a) is one of the best films ever made and b) got completely robbed. Mutually exclusive points. But as a young black man watching Crash 9 years ago, I was struck by how well done the film was made, as were my parents. Now, with a more mature viewpoint on films, I've only doubled down on Crash.

And as for undeserving Best Picture nominees…um, Seabiscuit and Babe anyone? Babe. The talking pig. Look it up. It was a cute movie and all, but Best Picture? Seriously?


Someone please explain Jonah Hill's nominations. I haven't seen Wolf yet, but I certainly didn't see anything special in Moneyball

Jeff Heise

This year, that THE LONE RANGER-a film that really should have been titled TONTO…AND HIS DOOFUS WHITE COMPANION-got an Oscar nom for Visual Effects while the best effects work of the year was in del Toro's unnominated PACIFIC RIM is still making me shake my head. As for previous years, here are my top 10 nominations I would rescind and in brackets what/who should have won:
1-FAME for Best Score (THE ELEPHANT MAN)
2-Geraldine Fitzgerald for A TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (Whoopi Goldberg)
3-Mary Pickford for COQUETTE (Jeannie Eagels)
5-"Sweet Leilani" for Best Song ("They Can't Take That Away From Me")
8-Charlton Heston for Best Actor in BEN-HUR (Jack Lemmon)
10-Jonah Hill for Best Supporting Actor in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (James Gandolfini)


Calling Meryl Streep's nomination and win on "The Iron Lady" is an utter madness. Viola could have won if Octavia Spencer did not steal every single frame she's in. C'mon, viola was the lead and yet Octavia was the star. I was more impressed by Rooney Mara's performance in Dragon Tattoo that Davis'. You included Crash and yet you didnt even mention Extremely loud and incredibly close which stole Dragon Tattoo's spot?

Elizabeth Rose

I'm always baffled when I realize/remember that Renee Zellweger has more Oscar nominations than Rachel Weisz.


I gotta say, as entertaining as it was, there is no freaking way Avatar should've been nominated for Best Picture. "Unobtainium"? Seriously? I applaud the visual effects, but I like to think that a movie that made me roll my eyes as much as I widened them in awe should be relegated to the technical categories. Also, The Blind Side. These are movies I consider to be guilty pleasures (or, at least "cheap pleasures"), and one should be able to enjoy a Best Picture nominee guilt-free.


The Academy is having an embarrassing year when the nominations given to the Lone Ranger make more sense that nominations given to American Hustle actors, not a one of them deserved a nomination.

For all the great performances and movies not nominated this year, you really dodged an embarrassing bullet.


Am I the only one who thinks Streep really deserves a nom for this year? I would trade Bale for Michael B. Jordan or Oscar Isaac, Amy Adams for Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence for Octavia Spencer.


"Crash" was WAY overcooked. It's aweful. Even Jack Nicholson winced when he announced it.

Laura Hope Crewes

Meryl Streep's "over-the-top" performance was pretty tame compared to the experiences I've had with people addicted to that many different prescription drugs. Frankly, their behavior is infinitely bigger. I was flabbergasted at how spot-on a performance it was — terrifyingly real . . . and . . . the truly appalling omission from the nominations this year was Rush not being nominated for Best Film Editing. Not only should it have been nominated, it should have won.

If you're really into the Oscars, check out the nominees for Best Actress in 1962 (very famous in Oscar history because NOBODY could predict the winner):

Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker
Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Geraldine Page, Sweet Bird of Youth
Katharine Hepburn, Long Day's Journey Into Night
Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses.

Google — who won?


To this day, I still say Shohreh Aghdashloo should have won the Oscar over Renee Zellweger in "Cold Mountain" and I'll keep saying it. Aghdashloo was robbed! And Streep was fantastic in "The Iron Lady," but the great Viola Davis should have had that one.


Scratch "War Horse" for worst Best Picture nomination–"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" takes that crown by a mile.


This year I'd love to switch out Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips (easily) in place of Christian Bale in American Hustle; and Emma Thompson (easily) in place of Meryl Streep.


Since you brought it up… I 100% agree with the two of Meryl Streep noms listed here, particularly when this year she threw her far more deserving colleague Emma Thompson under the bus, just for appearing in a movie about Disney (supposedly because of Disney's personal views, which had nothing at all to do with the film) –– whilst simultaneously provoking The Academy to snub Tom Hanks, of all people (in an entirely different film, also MOST deserving) just for playing Disney in another one. For what other purpose would her rant have been?? And it worked. Amazingly creepy about Hollywood. And so hypocritical of Streep, ranting about one historical figure when she won her last Oscar for playing another individual with highly disagreeable views, Margaret Thatcher. I'm watching the BAFTAs instead this year (!!) where Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips and Emma Thompson were, of course, not pointlessly snubbed because of Ms. Streep's ego. Hollywood is so creepy these days. And I do hope someone from Streep's camp or The Academy sees this. Yes, you've all officially creeped me out!


Sorry, but calling Streep's nomination for "The Iron Lady" or Zellweger's nominations for "Cold Mountain" or "Chicago" unfair are an insult – especially as there are much more nominations that should be rescinded. Maybe some think that Viola Davis in "The Help" was better than Streep, but at least Meryl's nomination is completely deserved.
But agree on this year's nomination for Streep, she just overacted in so many scenes, Thompson was far superior.

lindsay solomon

This is officially my favorite Indiewire blog.

Anson Kessinger

Into the West for best original song… Kiss at the End of the Rainbow was robbed.


Thank you, Miss thing, for your highly highly accurate bitchfest. Especially, that God forsaken "Cold Mountain." Words cannot express how much I loathed that performance, but I loathed it more than liverwurst, olive loaf, and Ron Howard movies because lemon face got nominated…and then…she won. It was one of those alternate universe moments. Oh, is it okay that I'm a straight female? I mean, I'm allowed to be as bitchy as the rest of you, right?


I want to add "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" to that list as it's one of the most undeserving nominated films for Best Picture.


Hugo has great Special Effects but not so great to beat Hp 7 part 2 or even Rise of the Planet of the Apes! But it was a Martin Scorsese's film, and that justify all lobby.

Dorian Fuk

It's hard for me to explain to people how much I HATE all the awards blah-blah on this site, at times it seems it takes up 30% of the articles. Having said that, I like me some OscarBitchfest. BTW, /bent is the best queer IndieWire blog so far.

P.S: Give some love to British queer art films of 80s/90s (Jarman, Greenaway, DV8). I'm under the impression that the poor misguided youths know nothing about them.


Zero Dark Thirty for false torture propaganda.


Okay, I can sing 'Suddenly' right now. I love that song. I actually feel like a bad Les Mis fan because I genuinely wouldn't mind if they added it to the musical, I love it that much.

Mine is Gwyneth Paltrow for Best Actress. I still get angry every time I look at her face, I've never been able to watch a movie with her since. And up against Fernanda Montenegro for Central Station and Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth? Ugh.

I fully believe in years to come we'll put American Hustle right next to Crash in these lists too.

Joe H.

Damn I disagree with so much of this list. Streep's win in 2011 was completely deserved, Zellweger's win for Cold Mountain was deserved and I think she deserved to WIN for Chicago. "Suddenly" is a gorgeous song from Les Mis and the only people who have forgotten it are the cold-blooded cynics who didn't like the movie in the first place. Also, Crash was the best film of 2005 hands down by far without a doubt, and also for that matter one of the best of the decade.

Once again, this bitchfest is very bitchy.


Ditto on Meryl's performance in August: Osage County being over-the-top but "The Iron Lady"??? come on!
if anything i don't get how she didn't get the oscar for "The Devil Wears Prada"!


"The Blind Side" for Best Picture.


Oh please. "War Horse" wasn't even the worst Best Picture nominee *that year.* "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," anyone?

Mr. Pink

Hollywood loves movies about itself (e.g., "Argo") and its city ("Crash"), which makes the omission of "Fruitvale Station" all the more surprising.

Jonathan M

I think "Gladiator" merits a mention on this list.

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