Worst Movie to Feature Oscar-Winning Performance

We were just discussing the movie Training Day which we all universally agreed was a pretty wretched film.
SPOILER (sort of)

—Not doing the Spoiler Box thing.

The first three quarters of the film were entertaining enough but the last 30 minutes bordered on the ridiculous.

Anyway… we all agreed that Denzel is a great actor, deserves a win for Best Actor… but not for this role and not from this movie.
(Should have gotten it for Hurricane but that is another subject entirely.)

So we got to thinking will the movie Training Day be remembered as the worst film to feature an Academy Award Winning Actor/Actress?

A quick run down of the most recent films seemed to bear this out but the verdict isn’t final until the Teeming Millions have spoken.

So. Any thoughts?

I thought Training Day was a good movie, mostly on the strength of the performances, so it should come as no surprise that I disagree with that choice. A few better candidates:

My pick for the worst movie with an Academy Award winning perfomance would be California Suite, (Maggie Smith, Supporting Actress) which is an absolute dud of a comedy from start to finish. My Cousin Vinny (Marisa Tomei, Supporting Actress) isn’t as bad, but drags awfully badly in between the few high points.

Butterfield 8
California Suite
Johnny Eager
Scent of a Woman
The Sin of Madelon Claudet


Thank God It’s Friday, according to Leonard Maltin, was “[p]erhaps the worst film ever to have won some kind of Oscar” - it won for best song.

('Course, that’s not a performance, exactly, is it… )

Titanic didn’t win any performance Oscars. (And why do people rag on it so much, anyway? I can understand some people not appreciating the love story, and I can understand pretty much everybody hating the performance of Billy Zane, who shouldn’t be allowed near a movie set, but in the big picture, it was a helluva movie.)

I can’t think of any original, I’m just voting for * Ghost *.

Mary Pickford as a Southern belle in Coquette (1929) gives us a two-for: the worst performance to win a Best Actress Oscar, in the worst movie to feature a Best Actress performance. She probably got it because she was one of the founding members of the Motion Picture Academy in 1927.

English Patient

English Patient

English Patient


Compared to LA Confidential, Titanic is crap.

Hell, compared to Good Will Hunting, Titanic is crap.

Both films were up for best picture in 1997 along with As Good As It Gets, The Full Monty and Titanic.

The one that killed me was Paul Newman winning for The Color of Money. Clearly they were giving it to Newman because they’d snubbed him so many times before. But the thing that really burned me was that he won over James Woods in Salvador. James Woods in Salvador was an amazing performance.

That was when I realized the oscars were a popularity contest, and I haven’t watched them since. That was in '86.

John Wayne winning for True Grit