5. Eddie Redmayne
This wet loaf of bread is insanely lucky he looks enough like Stephen Hawking and was thirsty enough for an Oscar that he was willing to put himself through some painful stuff to play the iconic genius. Otherwise he would not be in the position he is in. It was the movie that really made him and got people’s attention. He was in movies prior, sure. But nothing really worthwhile or long lasting.
Prior to the Hawking role, he was in the truly atrocious adaptation of “Les Miserables” by Tom Hooper, and it was a bit of a coming out party for him. But it’s hard to say anything is a coming out party for a man who blends so seamlessly into the background.
He has no charisma. There’s no IT factor to him. He just drifts out of your mind the second he’s gone from your line of sight. He’s all sharp angles and barely audible whispers. A strong breeze looks like it would ruin his entire bone structure. He’s almost never not completely Eddie Redmayne, and it’s never interesting. It’s almost like he skipped a decade or two of solid work and immediately became a caricature of himself.
4. Sandra Bullock
It’s almost impressive how quick the dismissal of Sandra’s Oscar win was. Went from zero to 60 in record time. “The Blind Side” being in any sort of consideration come Oscar time was a joke, even in a year as weak as that year. But the fact that Sandra came out winning was just a sure sign that the whole thing was meaningless and that the Academy was giving her an award for her career and not the actual performance. But also, her career isn’t that great. She falls into this weird middle ground where she can play both high society types and blue collar gals, but she can’t convincingly play either.
When she’s playing rich, she feels too blue collar to completely sell it. And when she’s playing blue collar, she never feels like she’s ever worked a day in her life. There’s a put upon phoniness to her that doesn’t sit quite well, like a replacement for Julia Roberts that was crafted in a lab to reach more audience members.
The only time this imbalance works is in “Demolition Man,” playing someone in a future where everyone is basically a soy boy but she is the soy boy version of a blue-collar rough house type. She’s very rarely in good movies and she doesn’t have much variety. She gets by on being a movie star, but it’s really not that good enough. In the end, it’s kind of fitting that she would win for a joke of a movie.
3. Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody deserved to win for his role. There’s no doubt here. His work in “The Pianist” was magnificent, Polanski directing it controversy notwithstanding. But, he never really lived up to this kind of work again. He went Hollywood with it, trying to be a star in stuff like “The Village” and “King Kong.” Didn’t work out too well for him. He’s been stuck doing direct-to-video shlock with the occasional elevation into worthwhile cinema. Wes Anderson has plucked him out of obscurity every now and then. He had a good show of it in “Midnight in Paris.”
But it seems evident that he has no quality control in him. He’s done so much bad. And he’s bad in these things too. It’s not like Nic Cage going full ham in a role, trying his damnedest to elevate a tax break movie. No, Brody is lazy. He’ll show some new side of himself and then just fall off the deep end into embarrassing. At a certain point, one just has to throw up their hands and say he’s not worth the effort anymore. It’s been four years since his last worthwhile effort (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”). It’s doubtful a new one will be coming anytime soon.
Cher is really bad. She is another in a string of musicians taking aim at the movie industry. But unlike others that are really bad, she tricked people into thinking she was good. It must be sheer charisma that got people to think this was true. But it isn’t.
The role she won an Oscar for is bad. “Moonstruck” is grating as hell. And she is bad in it. It’s spaghetti face, a movie made by people that have seemingly never met an Italian before. And she is just so unconvincing as an Italian woman. She has no connection with anyone on screen. Seeing her try to connect to Nic Cage is embarrassing, even when he himself is quite bad in the movie.
The only movie that is worth anything with her in it is “The Witches of Eastwick” and it’s because George Miller is a great director who knows how to utilize her and also surround her with icons like Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer. I’d like to think that she herself realized what a worthless game it all was as she has barely acted in decades. Sadly that streak is over this year with the very timely (10 years later) sequel “Mamma Mia 2: Paychecks Cleared.”
1. Roberto Benigni
This idiot is what happens when Jerry Lewis has no shame. That’s what that god-awful “Life is Beautiful” is. That Holocaust clown movie Lewis made, without the clown but still the offensive tonal whiplash. This guy is like the trickster god Mr. Mxyzptlk from Superman comics. This tiny whirling dervish of inanity and irritation. How anyone could be captivated by this moron’s performance is truly some “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled” insanity.
He’s bad. He’s annoying. He has no true idea what the hell he’s doing, what makes movies work and why people don’t want to watch a jerk Italian man clown around in an concentration camp. Was there a way to make a movie work with these ideas? Sure. This purveyor of the terrible nightmarish “Pinocchio” imagery sure as hell wasn’t the guy. Truly abysmal actor. What the actual hell.