10 worst 'Best Actress' Oscar winners of all time

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Although Oscars are the most prestigious of the lot of movie awards given away world-over, there have been a number of instances when their judgement has been impaired by the political and emotional backdrop of the nominees than the quality of their offering.

While the academy is mostly filled with commendable instances of recognizing the most minuscule of artworks that may otherwise have gone unnoticed due to their tiny budgets and lack of 'big-names', there are also a few examples of some winners and nominees that are so obviously pathetic, they take up the spot of the more deserving ones.

This post is dedicated to just that. And the "poor choices" we're going to focus on would be in the category -  'Actress In A Leading Role.'

Some of these are actually not that bad, but they won over such formidable pieces of artworks that even the thought of them winning makes our stomach hurt. And then there are also the academy's other poor decisions that plainly "sucked" - so to speak, because they simply had nothing outstanding or complex to offer.

So here are the Top 10 worst or most underwhelming winners in the 'Best Leading Actress' category:

Julia Roberts over Ellen Burstyn

Julia Roberts wasn't actually that bad in Erin Brockovich - she definitely delivered one of her career-best performance in this one. But the fact that makes this decision an unacceptable one, is that she won over a way more superior performance delivered by Ellen Burstyn in 'Requiem For A Dream.' So, although Julia may have had some applause-worthy tongue-in-cheek dialogues in this Steven Soderbergh flick, her performance was definitely not as layered or as complex as you would expect from an Oscar winner. Burstyn's performance here delivered all that and more.



Geraldine Page over Whoopi Goldberg

Geraldine Page's win at the 1986 Academy awards looked more like a 'Lifetime achievement honor' for all those times she lost out to other actresses during her 35+ year long career. The decision became even more painful, because page won over an emotionally exhilarating performance by Whoopi Goldberg in her second-only film, 'The Color Purple' - in a performance that not only makes you sympathize with the character's misery but also cheer when she finally stands for herself.



Emma Stone over Isabelle Huppert

Emma Stone is a talented actress - but there was nothing about her one-dimensional act in 'La La Land' that made her worthy of that win against kind of performances delivered by Isabelle Huppert in 'Elle' and Natalie Portman in 'Jackie.' Stone was basically "close-to-home" - playing a struggling actress, striving to make ends meet in her profession - topped with an average song-and-dance skillset in this award winning musical. Perhaps one of those instances when the actors get to ride on the acclaim received by the movie and not for their own work.



Elizabeth Taylor over Shirley MacLaine

There is no doubt about the fact that Elizabeth Taylor is one of the greatest stars Hollywood has produced. While her performance in 'Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolfe' stands as one of the most laudable female performances captured on-screen, her act in 'BUtterfield 8' showcasing her "patchy-work" as an extremely stereotypical character, perhaps written keeping the actress in mind is 'underwhelming' in every sense of the word. And to think she won it over a marvelous performance by the sublime Shirley MacLaine in 'The Apartment.'



Jennifer Lawrence over Jessica Chastain

There was absolutely nothing about Jennifer Lawrence's performance in 'Silver Linings Playbook' that was "Oscar-worthy." Sorry. And to think Jessica Chastain delivered a way stronger performance in 'Zero Dark Thirty' the same year or the breathtaking work done by Emmanuelle Riva in 'Amour'. What were they even thinking?



Reese Witherspoon over Felicity Huffman

Reese Witherspoon is lovely and we adored her in 'Legally Blonde', but what was it about her performance in 'Walk The Line' that made her more deserving than the heart-rendering performance delivered by Felicity Huffman in 'Transamerica' - we fail to understand. It is actually sad to think about this win, knowing it was Felicity's moment to shine as a leading lady and the win may perhaps have opened more doors for her to put her remarkable talent to use. Sadly, that never happened.



Gwyneth Paltrow over Cate Blanchett

Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Shakespeare In Love' was average at best. In a role and performance that barely had anything thought-provoking to offer, Paltrow won at the 1999 Oscars over a spine-chilling, dialogue heavy performance delivered by the amazing Cate Blanchett. Even Meryl Streep gave an emotionally-charged and heartwarming performance in 'One True Thing' that deserved it more than Paltrow. But it was Cate who was robbed of it that year.



Helen Hunt over Judi Dench/Kate Winslet

Helen Hunt's performance did not deserve a Nickelodeon, let alone an Oscar for this boring, dull and lifeless performance in 'As Good As It Gets' - and she won it over two very strong performances delivered by Judi Dench and Kate Winslet in 'Mrs Brown' and 'Titanic', respectively. Unforgivable. 




Sandra Bullock over Gabourey Sidibe

We all were rooting for Gabourey Sidibe to take home the golden statue in her stellar Hollywood debut with 'Precious', but it all took a toll when Sandra Bullock walked up the stage to receive the honor for her soulless, sub-par performance in 'The Blind Side.' Sandra holding that statue for her average-at-best performance looked like a compensatory win for all those times she didn't get any acknowledgement from the Academy - but what was at loss was Sidibe's hard-hitting work in that powerful piece of intense drama. 



Cher over Glenn Close

This should go down in history as one of the worst Best Actress winners in Oscar history and we absolutely adore Cher - who actually delivered a sublime performance in 'Silkwood', but her act in 'Moonstruck' was not at all worthy of the praise it received from the academy. And she won it over a spine-chilling, raw performance by Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction) - who sadly, has never won an Oscar after that or never came that close to it with any of her subsequent nominations. This was her chance. This was meant for Glenn.



So what do you think of our list?

Which actress do you think was the most underwhelming winner in the category?

Share your thoughts with us...

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