The 10 Most Overrated Movie Performances Of All Time

5. Emma Stone – La La Land

In 2017, the Academy made two mistakes. The first one, now universally known as “The Oscar Scandal,” was that they announced “La La Land” as the Best Picture winner, when they should have said “Moonlight.” It was a mistake that was swiftly corrected. Thank God.

The second one was that they chose Emma Stone as Best Actress over Isabelle “She Can Do No Wrong” Huppert and Ruth “She Will Be A Huge Star” Negga. It was a mistake that they haven’t still corrected to this day. It is a shame. It makes me want to Septa Unella my way through the Academy.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Stone is a great performer. Even though her performance as the wide-eyed ingénue is lovable, it’s nowhere near the significance of the performances of Huppert or Negga. They clawed their way through it all. Stone was actually better the next year as the tennis legend Billie Jean King. In a movie that almost nobody talked about. Give me a bell already!


4. Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare in Love

undeserving best picture winners

I think a lot of people will join me in this one. Imagine a year of tremendous performances: you’ve got Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I, you’ve got Fernanda Montenegro in “Central Station”…  just stellar, acting class worthy work. And then… you take the little golden statue and give it to… Gwyneth Paltrow? Even she was shocked.

In this movie, she plays the love interest of William Shakespeare, played by Joseph Fiennes. It is rumoured that even the Bard himself tried to rise from his grave to stop the nonsense surrounding the overrated performance that belonged to Paltrow. He may have also suggested that he was gay and couldn’t have had a female love interest. We don’t know, the details are unclear.

Paltrow gave a pretty stellar performance, however, in the movie “Sliding Doors.” Just watch it. It’s really good and has her best performance(s) in it. Oh, you’ll see.


3. Sean Penn – Mystic River

Mystic River (2003)

Is Sean Penn on this list because I’m a huge fan of Bill Murray and I think that his performance in “Lost in Translation” was robbed? Yeah, maybe. But does Penn overact with every inch of his body in “Mystic River”? You can bet on it. In a few years, he will deserve every bit of attention he gets with “Milk.” But not with “Mystic River,” no.

Let’s talk about overacting for a moment. It’s misunderstood by most. People think that overacting is great acting. This is why Johnny Depp still gets to work today, despite the many scandals he is nose-deep in. Overacting is when someone makes you aware that you’re watching a movie. Because no one ever acts like that in real life. Imagine someone as campy as Jack Sparrow walking toward you on the sidewalk; you’d cross the road, trust me. Indies and art movies are known for their subtle acting. You feel as though you are watching a documentary. You don’t see that kind of acting in Hollywood. Not often anyway.

Overacting is also one of the reasons why we love villains more than heroes. Actors playing villains have the licence to overact. No matter how crazy or over-the-top it looks. Heath Ledger is unbelievable as the Joker. He won an Oscar for it. However, he was much better in “Brokeback Mountain.” Did anyone care? No. Because it was subtle. The emotions, the inner conflict… it was his best work.

Sean Penn as the grieving father is a classic case of overacting. All those looks and anger… all is out, nothing is left inside. What a waste.


2. Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook

This is funny, because I actually like this movie. I used to be a big fan of Jennifer Lawrence as well, thinking she was going to be the future of Hollywood. It all started when I first saw “Winter’s Bone.” The small movie that made her a major star and an Oscar nominee. I was struck by lightning. Who was this girl? Where has she been all this time? She quickly became America’s sweetheart, making everybody laugh with her goofy sense of humor and natural charm.

Suddenly, she was everywhere. From The “Hunger Games” movies to each and every David O’Russell movie. Then, her publicity team started to make her into something she was not: a Hollywood elite. This girl was never Angelina Jolie. She was the funny BFF everybody wished for. Why they changed her image I’ll never know.

In “Silver Linings Playbook,” Lawrence gives a convincing performance as Tiffany. I actually believe that diner scene is why she got the Oscar. Voters love scenes like that. Still, it’s unbelievable that Emmanuelle Riva, who was a revelation in Haneke’s “Amour,” walked home empty-handed that night. Even Lawrence was in disbelief. Do you remember what she said about Harvey Weinstein killing someone for her Golden Globe? That was pure shock. It may have also been true, considering what we now know about Weinstein.


1. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

You knew we would end up here eventually. No overrated list is complete without Leo. I do love Leo. He is talented, fun, kind, and really invested in nature. That’s a good man right there. However, he did not deserve all the glory that he got for “The Revenant.” Any other movie of his, absolutely. “Shutter Island,” “The Departed,” “Blood Diamond” (my personal favorite) and even “Titanic”… but “The Revenant”? No.

In every single Leonardo DiCaprio film, he is believable at worst. You believe him as that character. At best, he leaves you stunned at how someone that good-looking could be that talented as well. He is a natural. Like Brando and Dean, DiCaprio is effortlessly good in everything he does. Including walking joyfully down a road and saving rainforests.

In “The Revenant,” not even for a second did I believe that he was a grieving father. He spent so much time doing extreme things (like fighting off a bear and protecting himself inside a carcass) on camera that he forgot the simple things, like father-son bonding. I didn’t root for his character. Tom Hardy makes you identify with him, more so than DiCaprio. He was the real winner in that movie.

I conclude this list by once again stating that I respect the actors on the list and their talent in this craft. What I describe as “overrated” is their performance in a specific movie, nothing more. My ideas may be much different than yours and I respect that, too. That is the only way to lead a good life, after all.

Author Bio: Tugce Kutlu lives in Turkey. She was born a cinephile and is very proud of it. Tugce doesn’t discriminate between genres and she most definitely adores a good film no matter where and when it was made.