Skip To Content

    14 Oscar Contenders In The Roles They Weren't Nominated For

    There are plenty of strong performances in the running for acting awards at this year's Oscars — but even great actors make bad movies. Here are several of the nominees in their less impressive roles.

    Best Supporting Actor

    Tommy Lee Jones in "Batman Forever"

    View this video on YouTube

    Before Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones hammed it up as Two-Face in the candy-colored Batman Forever. He's not the worst thing about the movie — really, no one deserves all the blame for this turkey — but that isn't saying much.

    Robert De Niro in "Little Fockers"

    View this video on YouTube

    One of the great things about De Niro's performance in Silver Linings Playbook was that it wasn't the broad, self-parody he's been doing for the past several years. (The joke here is that farts are funny, and De Niro is mean.)

    Christoph Waltz in "The Green Hornet"

    View this video on YouTube

    This one's a little iffy, because surprise — Christoph Waltz is literally great in everything. But hey, The Green Hornet, Michel Gondry's trippy superhero flick, came and went without much notice. So, too, Waltz's performance.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman in "My Boyfriend's Back"

    View this video on YouTube

    Surely we all remember before-its-time zombie romantic comedy My Boyfriend's Back. But few recall that it featured a young Philip Seymour Hoffman, before he took on a string of very serious roles that earned him endless critical acclaim.

    Best Supporting Actress

    Anne Hathaway in "Valentine's Day"

    View this video on YouTube

    Despite being universally terrible, Garry Marshall's ensemble romcoms attract an impressive array of talent. Here's Anne Hathaway doing a "sexy" Russian accent. Yes, it's supposed to be silly, but that doesn't make it any less embarrassing.

    Sally Field in "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure"

    View this video on YouTube

    If there was one thing The Poseidon Adventure needed, it was a sequel. No, this is pretty bad. On the other hand, Sally Field was a flying nun once, so it's hard to believe she considers this a career lowpoint. And look, Michael Caine's along for the ride, too.

    Amy Adams in "Cruel Intentions 2"

    View this video on YouTube

    The difference between Cruel Intentions and Cruel Intentions 2 is that one is slightly trashier than the other. I'll let you figure it out for yourself. Anyway, if you've ever wanted to see Amy Adams make out with a lady, enjoy this scene from another unnecessary sequel.

    Helen Hunt in "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"

    View this video on YouTube

    This is more joyous than shameful. (The shirt is pretty bad, though.) If you really want to see Helen Hunt debase herself, check out the clip of her PCP freakout from this round-up of celebrities in after school specials.

    Best Actress

    Jennifer Lawrence in "The Bill Engvall Show"

    View this video on YouTube

    Lawrence has been lucky enough to avoid bad movies. (You could definitely make a case for House at the End of the Street, but I'll give her a pass.) TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show, on the other hand, is just crappy. For anyone who's wanted to experience Jennifer Lawrence with a laugh track.

    Naomi Watts in "Tank Girl"

    View this video on YouTube

    Before The Impossible, Naomi Watts did the impossible by looking meek and nerdy. Don't worry, Jet Girl is totally a bad-ass in her own way. Tank Girl didn't exactly dazzle audiences or critics, but it does have a sizable cult following.

    Best Actor

    Bradley Cooper in "Failure to Launch"

    View this video on YouTube

    Hi, shirtless Bradley Cooper. I will watch you in anything. But Failure to Launch is pushing it. Cooper's been in lots of less-than-great comedies, though some of his mediocre flicks (cough, The Hangover, cough) still get praised. Not a lot of people defending Failure to Launch, is all I'm saying.

    Joaquin Phoenix in "The Village"

    View this video on YouTube

    Joaquin Phoenix has the distinction of being in two M. Night Shyamalan failures — The Village and Signs. Neither is Phoenix's fault, but both are ... not good. On the other hand, Phoenix grew a gross beard and played crazy for a year to make a fake documentary, which is very much on him.

    Hugh Jackman in "Paperback Hero"

    View this video on YouTube

    We know Hugh Jackman can sing, but he (intentionally) does not do it well here. Whatever, he's still charming as hell, because he's Hugh Jackman and that's kind of his thing. Bonus points for using his real accent, which is always a delight.

    Denzel Washington in "Virtuosity"

    View this video on YouTube

    Watch Denzel beat the crap out of a white supremacist in the very silly techno-thriller Virtuosity. It's wroth noting that the film also stars Russell Crowe, who was not nominated for Les Misérables, on account of he was really not good.

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form