Awards Seasons is a very, very busy time in Hollywood. In the winter, fall, and even part of the summer seasons of the years, studios and directors are busy busting out as many movies to try and pick up as much awards steam as possible.
Amidst the wide array of award contending movies however, there’s the unlucky bunch. The Oscar Bait movies, the movies that try to earn nominations by reeling in big casts, telling an overly emotional story, or trying to make a point about whatever topic is relevant during the year.
Before further reading, bear in mind that even though these movies can qualify as Oscar Bait that doesn’t necessarily make them bad. Oscar Bait has never meant bad. It’s merely a term used for a movie that tries harder to garner award nominations during awards season then most, and while some can be bad or mediocre, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good ones.
So brace yourselves. Because it’s time to count down the Top Ten Failed Oscar-Bait Movies of 2015!
10. Ricki and the Flash
Does Meryl Streep not have enough Oscars? The woman has three so far, and with this movie it seems like she’ll do just about anything to try and earn the golden statue. The movie tells the tale of Ricki, a rock star played by Streep who moves back to her hometown to try and right some wrongs with her family, whom she left to pursue fame and fortune.
While it is entertaining to see Streep playing a character she normally wouldn’t play and to see her act alongside her real life daughter Mamie Gummer, the movie is very predictable, is coated with that awkward, sexual, hipsterish humor that the film’s writer, Diablo Cody is known for, and has the sappiness of a Christian Drama movie. Sorry Meryl, good luck trying to get another nomination this year though.
Hmm…speaking of Meryl Streep…
A movie about feminism and the struggles that women endured to try and earn equal voting rights. Sounds like a recipe for success right? Eh…not so much. Though the movie does feature some great cinematography, nice production design, and great performances form a stellar cast, it’s very preachy, and sticks to the whole “men are bad, women are good” sort of ideology that modern feminism is preaching nowadays.
That paired up with the fact that the two main characters are fictitious can also make this movie somewhat historically inaccurate despite appearances from actual people involved in the Suffragette movement such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Emily Davison, David Lloyd George, and King George V.
8. Black Mass
If there’s one thing in Hollywood that’s guaranteed to earn Oscars, or any kinds of awards buzz, it’s gangster films. From The Godfather, to The Untouchables, to Goodfellas to The Departed, there’s just something about these kinds of Gangster films that the Academy loves.
With Hollywood’s love for Mafia films, Black Mass tries to play into the love of Mafia films and tells the story of the former Boston Mafia leader James “Whitey” Bulger and his life of crime from the 70’s to his arrest in the 90’s.
While the movie does a good job at portraying the grittiness of Boston and Johnny Depp’s performance as Bulger is electrifying, the movie is plagued by a hollow script that lacks emotional depth, as well as no character to guide the audience. If anything hopefully Black Mass will at least earn Depp projects better than the ones he’s currently been getting.
Another movie about gangsters, Legend is similar to Black Mass in the sense that it involves a real life group of gangsters and tried to nab some awards during October last season.
Much like Black Mass however, Legend suffers from the same problems, like a lack of a character to guide the audience, and no real emotional depth to the story. That paired up with an unintentionally comedic performance from Tom Hardy as the crazier twin, Ronnie Kray, makes one wonder why the movie wasn’t called “Kray Kray”.
A movie that’s been trapped in Development Hell since 2008 only to be released now. When is Hollywood going to realize this never works? Burnt is about a washed up chef named Adam Jones, played by Bradley Cooper, who, after a bad history of drugs, attempts to re-earn his respect and get his life back together.
While the acting from Cooper is great along with performances by a stellar ensemble cast consisting of Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Daniel Brühl, Matthew Rhys, and Alicia Vikander, to name a few, the movie suffers pretty much everywhere else. It features a cliché story that’s been told again and again in different movies, and features a mostly unsympathetic character that the movie attempts to make you root for.
Just goes to show you, sometimes development hell is a better place for some movies.