There are some great movies that aren’t perfect. There are also some bad movies that are redeemed by a single great element. The fact of the matter is that most movies land somewhere in the middle, and that’s definitely true of all the entries on this list. Each of these films was nominated for at least one Razzie, which is meant to signify the worst films in a given year, and an Oscar, which are meant to signify cinema’s very best.
While it’s true that both these awards are often meaningless, the fact that these movies earned nominations at both ceremonies just goes to show that most movies aren’t complete failures, or complete successes. Some of the entries may seem surprising, but remember that both of these ceremonies isolate particular elements of the films they nominate. They aren’t always looking at the film as a whole.
With all that said, here are 15 Movies That Were Nominated For Both Razzies And Oscars.
A notoriously terrible film, Waterworld wasn’t entirely ignored by the Academy, despite of its abysmal reviews. Widely regarded as an enormous failure, the film was designed as a star vehicle for Kevin Costner, and is still one of the most expensive films of all time. The entire film was meant as a warning about the impending threat of climate change, set in a water-covered world where small islands are the only land.
The film managed to get itself a nomination for Best Sound at the Oscars, but it got far more love at the Razzies, where it won the award for Worst Supporting Actor for Dennis Hopper’s performance, and earned nominations for Worst Actor, Worst Director, and Worst Picture. Suffice it to say that Waterworld is more bad than good, but it’s a fascinating story behind the scenes, and it’s well worth watching just to try to figure out what exactly went so terribly wrong.
14. Suicide Squad
No one was shocked when Suicide Squad’s name was mentioned in the Razzie conversation. The film failed to meet almost everyone’s expectations, and is pretty universally described as a mess. It follows bad guys who unite in an attempt to save the world, but quickly becomes a convoluted disaster filled with largely unmemorable characters. At the Oscars, the film was nominated for its admittedly impressive makeup, which was used on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn as well as Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc.
At the Razzies, the film earned two nominations. One was for its deeply confusing screenplay, and the other was for Jared Leto, who played a deeply unhinged Joker, and never seemed to fit into the movie around him. On the whole, Suicide Squad was a fairly messy exercise, and now its legacy will reflect that. At least its fans can be thankful that it got fewer Razzie nominations than Batman V. Superman.
13. Vanilla Sky
Actually a remake of a Spanish film called Open Your Eyes, Vanilla Sky never really managed to match the high bar set by that film. Starring Tom Cruise as a vain publisher who gets into a horrific accident and sees his world turned upside down, the film was the first of several that brought about the downturn of director Cameron Crowe’s career.
The film did managed to score an Oscar nomination in the Original Song category, where Paul McCartney’s “Vanilla Sky” was nominated. At the Razzies, Penelope Cruz’s performance in the central female role was nominated. Cruz plays Sofia, the chief love interest for Tom Cruise’s publisher throughout the film, and turns in a fairly unremarkable performance. Cameron Diaz, who plays an ex-girlfriend of Cruise in the film, was actually nominated for a SAG Award and a Golden Globe for her work. Unfortunately, the Oscars didn’t give her the nod.
12. The Last Temptation of Christ
Martin Scorsese’s fascination with religion occasionally boils to the surface of his films, but it usually remains subtext. His pre-Silence Jesus biopic The Last Temptation of Christ is likely his most religious effort, and the results of the exercise were largely positive. The film tells the story of Christ up through his final days on the cross. Like most things that Scorsese touches, The Last Temptation of Christ is visually stunning and was critically acclaimed upon its release.
Scorsese earned the film’s sole nomination at the Oscars for Best Director. Meanwhile, the Razzies nominated Harvey Keitel for Worst Supporting Actor. Keitel plays Judas, the mythic figure who betrayed Jesus in a move that led to his crucifixion. On the whole, the film works, and is buoyed by a remarkable lead performance from Willem Defoe. Unfortunately, the Razzies decided that even Scorsese wasn’t immune from a little light criticism, and so they gave Keitel, one of the director’s favorite actors, a nomination here.
11. Basic Instinct
Basic Instinct definitely has its ardent defenders. Some people love it, and other people don’t understand what all the fuss is about, which probably explains how it ended up on this list. The film follows Michael Douglas as a detective who’s charged with investigating a murder, and becomes embroiled in an affair with an attractive woman, played by Sharon Stone, who may be involved in the case.
Much of Basic Instinct is based around the intent of being as scintillating as possible, and the film certainly succeeds in that regard. At the Oscars, the film was nominated for its editing and score, both of which add to the sexual tension the film is designed to create. Unfortunately the film’s performances were considerably less acclaimed, and earned Razzie nominations almost across the board. Audiences may have thought Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone had killer chemistry, but Razzie voters certainly didn’t think so.
10. Fifty Shades of Grey
The easiest way for bad movies to get nominated for Oscars is probably the Original Song category, where big films can get popular artists to write big anthems to play over the film’s credits. That’s what happened here, with Fifty Shades of Grey earning its sole Oscar nomination for “Earned It,” which the Weeknd wrote and performed for the film. At the Razzies, the film had a lot more success. In addition to nabbing the top honor of Worst Picture, Fifty Shades of Grey also picked up Razzies for Worst Actor, Worst Actress, and Worst Screenplay.
Of course, the film wasn’t warmly received upon its release, but it made a ton of money anyway. After all, a steamy adaptation of a hit novel that’s about kinky sex was bound to sell well, especially near Valentine’s Day. With a sequel coming soon, it seems as though the film’s numerous Razzie wins did little to hamper its success.
9. War of the Worlds
The first of two Spielberg entries on this list, War of the Worlds was mostly a good time, but it came with some minor hiccups. The film follows Tom Cruise’s Ray Ferrier, a father who is forced to fight for survival alongside his daughter after the world is invaded by extraterrestrial forces. War of the Worlds features some truly stunning visual effects, and no one would ever say that Spielberg isn’t a genius in that regard. The film was nominated for both sound categories at the Oscars, and for its visual effects as well.
Unfortunately, the leading man wasn’t up to snuff, at least in the eyes of Razzie voters. Cruise was nominated for Worst Lead actor. His career has long been characterized by this kind of unevenness. Sometimes, he’s brilliant, as he was in Born on the Fourth of July, and Edge of Tomorrow. Other times, it just doesn’t click, and Cruise ends up with a Razzie nomination for a film that was otherwise critically acclaimed.
8. Rocky III
Although the original Rocky won Best Picture, subsequent Rocky films were somewhat less favored by the Academy. That being said, this third installment managed to squeeze out a nomination. Rocky III had the band Survivor and their undeniable classic “Eye of the Tiger” to thank for that. Otherwise, Rocky III would never have landed itself on this list.
While it only earned one Oscar nomination, it was nominated just once at the Razzies as well, for Mr. T in the Worst New Star category. Mr. T arrives on the scene as Rocky’s latest rival, and it’s up to Apollo Creed to get Rocky back in fighting shape in order to beat his new opponent. All of the Rocky movies are uplifting in one way or another, and Rocky III is no exception. It may not be the best Rocky movie, bit it works pretty well, even if Mr. T doesn’t hold his own. After all, “Eye of the Tiger” is iconic, as is this film’s freeze frame ending.
7. The Godfather Part III
The first two Godfather films are masterpieces. They’re among the best films ever made, and there are few who would argue with awarding them Oscars. Having said that, The Godfather Part III doesn’t really hold up the way its predecessors do. Of course, that’s not to say that this third installment doesn’t have its merits. The film was nominated for eight Oscars, after all, including Best Picture and Best Director.
There was one part of the movie that almost everyone hated, though, and it came courtesy of Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter, Sofia. Sofia plays Michael Corleone’s daughter, and she turns in a famously overwrought performance, which earned her nominations for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst New Star at the Razzies
. Of course, Sofia went on to direct, and found that she was much better at that, eventually earning an Oscar nomination for directing Lost in Translation. She found her real talent – it just took a minute.
6. Batman Returns
Tim Burton’s vision of the Batman was revived with Batman Returns, which is definitely among the weirder entries in the Batman universe. For the most part, the film is solid. It follows Batman as he contends with both the Penguin and Catwoman, and it manages to tell its story in a way that is often quite disturbing and effective. The Razzie nomination here comes courtesy of Danny DeVito’s incredibly creepy performance as the Penguin.
While it’s hard to argue that DeVito is perfect in the role, he does bring a certain sinister air to the performance that those voting in the Razzies may have overlooked. At the Oscars, Batman Returns was nominated for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup, two awards that seem fitting, especially considering how much work likely went into creating the Penguin and coordinating the action sequences.
Batman Returns tends to be remembered as one of the better Batman flicks, (it’s certainly better than Batman Forever, which also could have made its way onto this list) and that’s definitely because of the elements these awards chose to highlight.
5. Independence Day
Independence Day is such a fascinating mash-up of really cool ideas and really poor execution. Parts of the film are truly rousing and inspirational. Bill Pullman’s speech before the final battle will forever be remembered as an iconic monologue, and Will Smith’s performance is also wonderful. Of course, the film’s best element is likely its visual effects. In fact, they were so good that they earned the film an Oscar. Independence Day was also nominated for Best Sound at the Oscars.
Unfortunately, for all of the film’s good elements, it’s hard to argue that it holds together completely, and that’s at least partially because of poor writing. In fact, the film’s script was nominated for a Razzie, and that probably has something to do with the fistfulls of corny dialogue throughout the movie. Independence Day is a really fun blockbuster, but that doesn’t mean that every element of it is successful.
4. Revenge of the Sith
Surprisingly, every Star Wars prequel was nominated for both a Razzie and an Oscar, but Revenge of the Sith, which is the best of the trilogy, was probably most deserving of its nominations at both ceremonies. At the Oscars, the film was nominated for its makeup work, which was especially wonderful in depicting Anakin’s horribly scarred body. At the Razzies, Hayden Christiansen won for his already notorious performance as Anakin.
Christiansen has an admittedly thankless role, and is tasked with delivering more than his fair share of awful dialogue. However, Christiansen’s performance is still worthy of some ridicule. He’s far too angsty for his own good, and the films suffer because he can’t pull the part off properly. Still, Revenge of the Sith is the best of the prequel films, and makes some genuinely interesting points about the way power can corrupt a legitimate democracy. These are ideas well worth thinking about.
3. Batman Begins
Many believed that The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins, deserved to be nominated for Best Picture. It’s somewhat surprising, then, to consider that the first film in the trilogy was actually nominated at both the Razzies and the Oscars. Of course, Nolan is a widely-acclaimed director, and he’s known for his incredibly distinct visual palette. It should be no surprise, then, that Batman Begins was nominated for its cinematography. It’s possible that Nolan made the best-looking superhero films ever with his trilogy, and this nomination only bolsters that argument.
Having said that, many were critical of Katie Holmes’s cartoonish performance as Rachel Dawes after the film was released. It often seemed like Holmes was acting in a different kind of superhero film altogether, one much lighter than Batman Begins. Her performance in the film earned her a Razzie nomination, and she ended up being replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal for the second installment.
Hook is almost definitely among Steven Spielberg’s weirder efforts. Following an adult Peter Pan who has left Neverland behind and is now living a fairly normal adult life, Hook shows us his return to Neverland, and his rediscovery of his true self. The film earned plenty of Oscar nominations, but it wasn’t compeltely free from criticism. Julia Roberts’ performance as Tinkerbell earned her a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actress, and it’s hard to argue that she didn’t deserve it.
At the Oscars, Hook was nominated for five awards, although those largely came from technical nominations, including Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects. Spielberg is still Spielberg, at the end of the day, and those nominations speak to what a visual wizard he is. Hook is no exception and, although certain areas falter, the all-star cast, including Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, coupled with Spielberg’s brilliance is enough to make this movie worth your while.
1. Wall Street
The only movie to ever win both a Razzie and an Oscar, Wall Street earns the distinction of having some excellent performances paired with others that are well below par. Michael Douglas earned an Oscar for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko, the slimy capitalist that he brought to life in the film. Meanwhile, Daryl Hannah won a Razzie for her supporting role in the film. Hannah plays Darien, a classic femme fatale who eventually goes against the main character’s plot to take down Gekko.
The film is something of a mixed bag, clearly, but its central message about the corrupting power of wealth shines through, and still feels relevant today. Douglas, always an excellent performer, turns in a performance that’s worthy of remembering. As for Hannah’s work, she’s offered a fairly thankless role and performs it admirably. It’s hard to play that kind of trophy wife character. We all feel her pain.
Do you think these movies deserve more Razzies or Oscars? Sound off in the comments!