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The 40 Lowest-Rated Best Picture Nominees Of All Time

A Certified Fresh movie winning the Best Picture Oscar? That’s expected. The last time that didn’t happen was in 1995 when the “just” Fresh Forrest Gump took home the big gold. And you’d have to go back to 1985 for the last Rotten winner of Best Picture: Out of Africa, the creaky and nearly three-hour romantic epic starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

Out of Africa may not be looked back upon with much fondness among critics, but the movie’s got plenty of company in our guide of the 40 Lowest-Rated Best Picture Nominees. Across 92 Academy Awards ceremonies, we’ve collected every Best Picture nominee with less than 70% on the Tomatometer. From recent times, this includes popular favorites that may have divided critics but hit big-time with audiences, like Joker and Bohemian Rhapsody – both Fresh at 68% and 60% respectively, and both with astronomical Audience Scores – and already almost-forgotten curiosities such Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the most recent Rotten film to be nominated for Best Picture. (If you want to see only the winners, check out All 92 Best Pictures Ranked.)

Rotten movies to actually take home the Best Picture statue, besides Out of Africa, include Cimarron, The Greatest Show on Earth, and The Broadway Melody. The latter won in the second Academy Awards ceremony, and is part the most Rotten crop of Best Picture nominees ever, with The Hollywood Revue of 1929 and In Old Arizona. This was the year sound film became the new standard in filmmaking, so it’s easy imagining the Academy being dazzled by these on a technical level.

Other famous movies to nearly win despite not being that great – according to the Tomatometer, at least – include The Big Chill, Babel, and The Godfather: Part III. We guess Francis Ford Coppola will just have to take solace in the fact that he’s directed one of only two series where every movie was nominated for Best Picture (the other being Lord of the Rings). See more of the movies that got less than 70% in our guide to the Lowest-Rated Best Picture Nominees! Alex Vo

#40

Babel (2006)
69%

#40
Adjusted Score: 77994%
Critics Consensus: In Babel, there are no villains, only victims of fate and circumstance. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu weaves four of their woeful stories into this mature and multidimensional film.
Synopsis: An accident connects four groups of people on three different continents: two young Moroccan goatherds, a vacationing American couple (Brad... [More]

#39

Les Misérables (2012)
70%

#39
Adjusted Score: 80596%
Critics Consensus: Impeccably mounted but occasionally bombastic, Les Misérables largely succeeds thanks to bravura performances from its distinguished cast.
Synopsis: After 19 years as a prisoner, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is freed by Javert (Russell Crowe), the officer in charge... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#38

Joker (2019)
68%

#38
Adjusted Score: 106246%
Critics Consensus: Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star -- and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.
Synopsis: Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 70830%
Critics Consensus: Although the central romance arguably suffocates the heart of the drama, a moving performance by Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand's deft direction give The Prince of Tides a soulful edge.
Synopsis: A New York psychiatrist treating an emotionally scarred woman finds it helpful to discuss her South Carolina family's troubled history... [More]
Directed By: Barbra Streisand

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 72488%
Critics Consensus: The final installment of The Godfather saga recalls its predecessors' power when it's strictly business, but underwhelming performances and confused tonality brings less closure to the Corleone story.
Synopsis: As Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) ages, he finds that being the head of the Corleone crime family isn't getting any... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#35

The Big Chill (1983)
69%

#35
Adjusted Score: 71804%
Critics Consensus: The Big Chill captures a generation's growing ennui with a terrific cast, a handful of perceptive insights, and one of the decade's best film soundtracks.
Synopsis: This compassionate "comedy of values" probes the growing pains of seven college housemates from the 1960s who have drifted apart... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 71107%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On a sea voyage to transport breadfruit to Jamaica, English Captain Bligh (Trevor Howard) abuses his crew and officers enough... [More]

#33

Love Story (1970)
68%

#33
Adjusted Score: 69239%
Critics Consensus: Earnest and determined to make audiences swoon, Love Story is an unabashed tearjerker that will capture hearts when it isn't inducing eye rolls.
Synopsis: When wealthy Harvard University law student Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O'Neal) meets Jenny Cavilleri (Ali MacGraw), a middle-class girl who... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Hiller

#32

Sons and Lovers (1960)
67%

#32
Adjusted Score: 66121%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a small English coal town, aspiring artist Paul Morel (Dean Stockwell) sets out to break free of the difficult... [More]
Directed By: Jack Cardiff

#31

Vice (2018)
65%

#31
Adjusted Score: 86917%
Critics Consensus: Vice takes scattershot aim at its targets, but writer-director Adam McKay hits some satisfying bullseyes -- and Christian Bale's transformation is a sight to behold.
Synopsis: Gov. George W. Bush of Texas picks Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Co., to be his Republican running mate... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 81954%
Critics Consensus: This biopic is undeniably stylish, but loses points for excessive length, an overreliance on clichés, and historical inaccuracies.
Synopsis: This lively biopic depicts the rise of Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell), a theater producer who became renowned during the 1920s... [More]
Directed By: Robert Z. Leonard

#29

Peyton Place (1957)
65%

#29
Adjusted Score: 66703%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of Grace Metalious' popular novel, steamy goings-on abound in the small, prim New England community of Peyton... [More]
Directed By: Mark Robson

#28

The Mission (1986)
67%

#28
Adjusted Score: 67927%
Critics Consensus: The Mission is a well-meaning epic given delicate heft by its sumptuous visuals and a standout score by Ennio Morricone, but its staid presentation never stirs an emotional investment in its characters.
Synopsis: Jesuit priest Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) enters the Guarani lands in South America with the purpose of converting the natives... [More]
Directed By: Roland Joffé

#27

America, America (1963)
67%

#27
Adjusted Score: 66025%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Stavros Topouzoglou (Stathis Giallelis) is a young Greek man living in an area under Turkish oppression, who wants nothing more... [More]
Directed By: Elia Kazan

#26

Viva Villa! (1934)
60%

#26
Adjusted Score: 60980%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After an overseer beats his peon father to death, a young Pancho Villa spills his first blood when he enacts... [More]
Directed By: Jack Conway

#25

Anchors Aweigh (1945)
57%

#25
Adjusted Score: 57800%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Joe (Gene Kelly) and Clarence (Frank Sinatra) are two young Navy sailors on leave in glitzy Los Angeles. The two... [More]
Directed By: George Sidney

#24

Chocolat (2000)
63%

#24
Adjusted Score: 66060%
Critics Consensus: Chocolat is a charmingly light-hearted fable with a lovely performance by Binoche.
Synopsis: When mysterious Vianne and her child arrive in a tranquil French town in the winter of 1959, no one could... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#23

Cleopatra (1963)
56%

#23
Adjusted Score: 59671%
Critics Consensus: Cleopatra is a lush, ostentatious, endlessly eye-popping epic that sags collapses from a (and how could it not?) four-hour runtime.
Synopsis: "Cleopatra" is a lengthy, sprawling, spectacular love story, helmed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, depicting Cleopatra's manipulation of Julius Caesar and... [More]
Directed By: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 64099%
Critics Consensus: The Turning Point is a handsomely-made resuscitation of Old Hollywood melodramas with a compelling duo at its center, but the formulaic script keeps this story from realizing its symphonic potential.
Synopsis: Forced to give up ballet after becoming pregnant, Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) moved from New York to Oklahoma to raise a... [More]
Directed By: Herbert Ross

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 86156%
Critics Consensus: Bohemian Rhapsody hits a handful of high notes, but as an in-depth look at a beloved band, it offers more of a medley than a true greatest hits collection.
Synopsis: Freddie Mercury -- the lead singer of Queen -- defies stereotypes and convention to become one of history's most beloved... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#20
Adjusted Score: 60132%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three hopeful American secretaries visiting Italy -- newcomer Maria (Maggie McNamara), romance-seeking Anita (Jean Peters) and the more mature Frances... [More]
Directed By: Jean Negulesco

#19

Out of Africa (1985)
61%

#19
Adjusted Score: 68019%
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Initially set on being a dairy farmer, the aristocratic Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) travels to Africa to join her husband,... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#18

Picnic (1955)
50%

#18
Adjusted Score: 50215%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Charming Hal Carter (William Holden) turned to wandering after a failed acting career left him loose in the wind. Interested... [More]
Directed By: Joshua Logan

#17

In Old Arizona (1929)
56%

#17
Adjusted Score: 55538%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this early Western, notorious bandit the Cisco Kid (Warner Baxter) is so feared that he rarely has to fire... [More]
Directed By: Raoul Walsh

#16

Cimarron (1931)
50%

#16
Adjusted Score: 53391%
Critics Consensus: Cimarron is supported by a strong performance from Irene Dunne, but uneven in basically every other regard, and riddled with potentially offensive stereotypes.
Synopsis: In 1889, adventurous lawyer and newspaper editor Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) convinces his genteel wife, Sabra (Irene Dunne), to join... [More]
Directed By: Wesley Ruggles

#15

The Alamo (1960)
52%

#15
Adjusted Score: 53616%
Critics Consensus: John Wayne proves to be less compelling behind the camera than he is before it in The Alamo, a blustery dramatization of the fort's last stand that feels more like a first draft.
Synopsis: In 1836, the Mexican army, led by General Santa Anna, is invading Texas. Hoping to create a diversion for Santa... [More]
Directed By: John Wayne

#14

Alibi (1929)
50%

#14
Adjusted Score: 50367%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Shortly after mobster Chick Williams (Chester Morris) rejoins his gang once released from jail, a policeman is murdered during a... [More]
Directed By: Roland West

#13
Adjusted Score: 53822%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Hong Kong in 1949, Mark Elliott (William Holden) is an American reporter covering the Chinese civil war. Undergoing a... [More]
Directed By: Henry King

#12

Naughty Marietta (1935)
56%

#12
Adjusted Score: 55817%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Desperate to avoid an arranged marriage, Princess Marie (Jeanette MacDonald) trades identities with her maid, Marietta, and sets sail from... [More]
Directed By: W. S. Van Dyke II

#11

The White Parade (1934)
57%

#11
Adjusted Score: 57387%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A nurse (Loretta Young) and her comrades face difficulties while training at a Midwest nursing hospital.... [More]
Directed By: Irving Cummings

#10
Adjusted Score: 53327%
Critics Consensus: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close has a story worth telling, but it deserves better than the treacly and pretentious treatment director Stephen Daldry gives it.
Synopsis: Oskar (Thomas Horn), who lost his father (Tom Hanks) in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, is convinced... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Daldry

#9
Adjusted Score: 53821%
Critics Consensus: The Greatest Show on Earth is melodramatic, short on plot, excessively lengthy and bogged down with clichés, but not without a certain innocent charm.
Synopsis: "The Greatest Show on Earth" is a dazzling spectacle of life behind the scenes with Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus,... [More]
Directed By: Cecil B. DeMille

#8

Hello, Dolly! (1969)
45%

#8
Adjusted Score: 48115%
Critics Consensus: Though Streisand charms, she's miscast as the titular middle-aged widow in Gene Kelly's sluggish and over-produced final directorial effort.
Synopsis: In 1890s New York City, the bold and enchanting widow Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) is a socialite-turned-matchmaker. Her latest clients... [More]
Directed By: Gene Kelly

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 42196%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The top performers of the 1920s strut their stuff in this star-studded variety show. Actress Joan Crawford displays her singing... [More]
Directed By: Charles Riesner

#6
Adjusted Score: 38726%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This film adaption of a Broadway play is based on the historical events surrounding the founding of the Church of... [More]
Directed By: Charles Jarrott

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 43272%
Critics Consensus: The Broadway Melody is interesting as an example of an early Hollywood musical, but otherwise, it's essentially bereft of appeal for modern audiences.
Synopsis: Vaudeville sisters "Hank" (Bessie Love) and Queenie Mahoney (Anita Page) take their act to the Broadway stage in New York... [More]
Directed By: Harry Beaumont

#4

The Robe (1953)
38%

#4
Adjusted Score: 39525%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this biblical epic, a drunk and disillusioned Roman, Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton), wins Jesus' robe in a dice game... [More]
Directed By: Henry Koster

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 33234%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Edna Gladney lost her son when he was very young. By chance she discovered the injustice within the law towards... [More]
Directed By: Mervyn LeRoy

#2

Doctor Dolittle (1967)
29%

#2
Adjusted Score: 29159%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dr. John Dolittle (Rex Harrison) lives in a small English village where he specializes in caring for and verbally communicating... [More]
Directed By: Richard Fleischer

#1

Anthony Adverse (1936)
20%

#1
Adjusted Score: 20811%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Hervey Allen, this expansive drama follows the many adventures of the eponymous hero (Fredric March).... [More]
Directed By: Mervyn LeRoy

Bill Pullman

Few will forget Bill Pullman‘s rousing speech as the US president in Independence Day, but it’s only one of a long string of vast and diverse roles that have seen him cast as romantic lead, action hero, comedy star and dark villain. In more than twenty years of screen acting he’s defined himself as a hard-working, engaging talent.

His latest film, Surveillance, opens in UK cinemas this week. Directed by Jennifer Lynch, it casts Pullman as one of a pair of FBI agents (with Julia Ormond) tracking down the culprit of a grisly collection of seemingly unpremeditated murders. With a fine ensemble cast it’s an original crime thriller; only Lynch’s second film since her 1993 debut Boxing Helena. It will open in the US on 26th June.

Of his five favourite films, Pullman says his choices depend on mood and context. “I always feel like there are a lot of different types of favourites,” he tells RT. “there are some that I look to for interesting things, some that I look to for acting things, others that I watch again and again. I don’t know if this is in any sort of order!”

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia

“This is always the first choice when people say they have a new television set or home cinema system and they want to watch a great visual movie. I always choose this because I feel it has an incredible presence.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia

The Searchers
The Searchers

Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point

America, America
America, America

Scenes from a Marriage
Scenes from a Marriage


Bill Pullman

The Searchers

The Searchers

“I like The Searchers for the same reason. I like to see those performances again and just the way that without special effects or tweaked shots or CGI or whatever you get this expansive feeling of being in the outdoors.”


Bill Pullman

Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point

“When I was in college, first year, I saw it and I really hadn’t been exposed to a lot of European filmmakers. It’s such a ‘film’ film. It wasn’t required viewing, it was just a film playing on campus and I hadn’t been interested in film before then. Nowadays people are deciding to get into film at age five when they’re sitting, watching the Oscars. I really didn’t come out of that culture — I was pretty much a John Wayne fan and that was it. Zabriskie Point was a time when I was in a lot of change and flux and these incredible visuals hit me like they had rearranged the organs in my body. The ending and the free-floating debris and everything is an image that burned itself in my consciousness.”


Bill Pullman

America, America

America, America

“It’s a little bit of a Slumdog movie in a way of somebody coming from incredibly unlikely beginnings and climbing through a lot of incredibly hard challenges to get somewhere. As an actor you’re continually riding the waves of whether you’re in or out, getting work or not getting work, and Kazan was really a guy who was condemned into not working and looking to go deep into someplace and just live inside his art.”


Bill Pullman

Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage

“This is one I’ve watched a couple of different times in a couple of different forms. I’ve watched the film version and I’ve also seen the mini-series. I think when I first saw that it changed my idea of acting. I go back to it sometimes just to put myself back in that place where my discoveries about what was possible on a film and the level of immersion between people — this incredible dance that they do — really formed.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia

The Searchers
The Searchers

Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point

America, America
America, America

Scenes from a Marriage
Scenes from a Marriage


Surveillance opens in UK cinemas this week. It will open in the US on 26th June.