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Scott Harris

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By day, Scott Harris writes about movies. But by night, he patrols the streets of his city, clad only in pure justice.

The 20 Worst Golden Globe Nominations of All Time

Opinions are like Golden Globe nominations: Everyone seems to have one and most of them stink. And in our opinion, the opinions shared annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at the Golden Globes frequently fall somewhere between inexplicable and downright ridiculous.

Of course, the reasons for this have long been debated (with bribery being the most popular theory), but whatever the real reasons, the fact that the Golden Globes can be counted on to throw up at least one or two complete head-scratchers every year is part of their charm.

So what better way to get ready for this year’s 70th Annual Golden Globes, which air live on NBC this Sunday night, than by taking a look at some of the worst Golden Globe nominations of all time? Just remember to take our opinion with a grain of salt. After all, it probably stinks, too.

20. ‘Analyze This’ (1999)
No analysis is really needed to explain why the 1999 comedy “Analyze This” earned — or, well, received, anyway — a nomination for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical. The answer is obvious: Robert De Niro is in it and therefore it must be award-worthy, right? Of course, that assumption begins to break down if you actually watch this lowbrow, one-note film about a mobster who starts going to therapy. Sound funny? Well, we hope so, because that’s only one of two jokes the movie has to offer; the second had to wait until the Golden Globe nominations were announced.

Nine

19. ‘Nine’ (2009)
Daniel Day-Lewis can do pretty much anything, including, it seems, land his movies undeserved Golden Globe nominations. Director Rob Marshall tried to recapture his “Chicago” magic in this musical adaptation of the film “8 1/2″ featuring non-singers like Day-Lewis in most of the roles.  Despite widespread critical indifference and the obvious fact that the original “8 1/2″ was a vastly superior movie to “Nine” (never round up in cinema, apparently), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association still gave the movie a nod for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical. And you thought “Lincoln” was an impressive feat.

18. The 1989 Best Actress Category
Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat, but we made the rules and we can break them if we want to. Which apparently is what the voters were thinking in 1989 as well. So what happened? Well, for once they managed to actually nominate some good choices — and that was such an unfamiliar situation that they immediately screwed it up by giving the award to Jodie Foster. And Shirley MacLaine. And Sigourney Weaver. Yes, there were more winners (three) than losers (two), a situation made even sillier by the fact that one of the two snubbed nominees was Meryl Streep. Now we know why they keep having so many goofy nominees: Because it makes it so much easier to vote for the winner.

17. ‘Shrek’ (2001)
Look, 2001′s animated hit “Shrek” was good at a lot of things: selling Happy Meals, pulling off fart jokes, making enough money to buy Mike Myers a dozen vacation homes. But Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical? Maybe if this were the People’s Choice Awards. But considering the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is supposed to consist of professional critics rather than easily amused nine-year-olds, let’s just say this one was more than a stretch.

16. ‘Nuts’ (1987)
One of the biggest surprises this year was the lack of nominations for “The Guilt Trip.” After all, based on historical data, it would appear that there is an unwritten rule stating that any film featuring Barbra Streisand must be nominated. Exhibit A: 1987′s “Nuts,” which earned not one but three Golden Globe nods. Oh, by the way, “Nuts” currently has a Rotten Tomatoes fresh rating of 38%. Case closed.

15. ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ (2012)
On the other hand, there’s a fairly obvious reason why “The Guilt Trip” didn’t get a nomination for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical this year — because the spot for Most Inexplicable Nomination was already taken by “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” instead. And it doesn’t stop there, as “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” also landed nods for both of its stars, Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt. Three nominations? That’s basically one for each person on Earth who saw this movie. Who knew that the Yemen Tourism Board had this kind of pull?

14. ‘A Majority of One’ (1961)
The Internet is all about dropping knowledge on unsuspecting web surfers, so let this one settle into your brain: 1961′s “A Majority of One” wasn’t just nominated for Best Motion Picture: Comedy, it actually won, beating out films like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” among others. The problem? Well, let’s just say that it stars the legendary Alec Guinness — as a Japanese guy. Okay, so it’s true we have different standards today, but even at the time some critics were skeeved out by his yellowface make-up. “A Majority of One”? Sounds like that must have described the voting procedure for this award as well.

13. Dudley Moore, ‘Micki + Maude’ (1984)
Quick quiz: What the hell is “Micki + Maude”? Give up? Why, it’s the film that won Dudley Moore the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical in 1985. Now, we don’t want to be haters, but a) nobody has ever heard of this movie and b) Dudley Moore was chosen over Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters,” Eddie Murphy in “Beverly Hills Cop” and Steve Martin in “All of Me.” Clearly, Moore had somebody in his pocket behind the scenes, as between 1979 and 1985, he was nominated in this category five times.

The Nutty Professor

12. Eddie Murphy, ‘The Nutty Professor’ (1996)
This was the movie that revived Murphy’s career after a long stagnant period. And in a way, its nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical can be justified, as Murphy played roughly 800 different parts in the film. So that’s kind of impressive on a technical level. On a good film level, though, this one fails somewhere between “Eddie Murphy” and “fat suit” — a lesson that, had it been learned 15 years ago, could have saved both Murphy and America a lot of heartbreak. That’s another one you owe us, Golden Globes.

11. ‘Sabrina’ (1995)
There’s nothing inherently terrible about 1995′s “Sabrina,” which stars Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. But there’s nothing particularly good about it either, which is a problem considering it’s a remake of the 1955 Billy Wilder classic of the same name. If there’s one thing our list shows, though, it’s that there’s nothing the Hollywood Foreign Press finds quite as impressive as pedigree, which is why this one earned three nods, including Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical. The Golden Globes have a reputation for being more progressive than the Oscars, but they sure as hell didn’t show it with this boring homage.

10. ‘Bobby’ (2006)
Lindsay Lohan may be an industry (and national) punchline now, but when “Bobby” came out back in 2006, she was … well, she was a punchline then as well. Luckily, she had Emilio Estevez directing and stalwarts like Ashton Kutcher co-starring alongside her in this heavy-handed and moralistic look at the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. It also has Anthony Hopkins in it, which apparently was enough to earn the film a Best Motion Picture: Drama nomination. Sure. Whatever you say, Hollywood Foreign Press.

9. ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ (1982)
It’s safe to say that this movie is the only musical featuring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton in a whorehouse to ever land a nomination for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes. So far.

8. ‘Burlesque’ (2010)
Speaking of utterly preposterous nominees for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical, the 2011 Golden Globes — which, as we’ll see, gave us more than one stinkburger — served up “Burlesque,” which featured Cher, Christina Aguilera and Kristen Bell (?) as showhall dancers. Unfortunately, Burt Reynolds was nowhere to be seen. Which is too bad; maybe a little old-fashioned mustache twirling would have raised the film’s 36% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and given a good reason for this film to have been nominated for anything at all.

7. ‘The Tourist’ (2010)
So, yeah, the 2011 Golden Globes were a pretty silly affair. How silly? Most pundits didn’t even have time to talk about how goofy the nomination for “Burlesque” was, because they were too busy hyperventilating over the even more ridiculous nomination for “The Tourist.” And it wasn’t just that the movie was nominated for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical, even though it was neither a comedy nor a musical; stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie were also each individually nominated as well. Plus, the movie completely tanked at the box office. Maybe they should have used more of their budget on the movie instead of for bribing voters.

The People vs. Larry Flynt

6. Courtney Love, ‘The People Vs. Larry Flynt’ (1996)
Courtney Love knows her way around crazy, but even she had to be doing a double take when she landed a nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Drama for “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” Adding to the weirdness of the evening? Love didn’t win, but Madonna did, taking home Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical for “Evita.” All we can guess is that the Hollywood Foreign Press were hoping the two might have a diva-licious catfight on stage, because otherwise we’re just going to write off that whole ceremony as a fever dream.

5. Jim Carrey, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (2000)
We’ll give the live-action adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss book this much: It wasn’t as terrible as the Mike Myers adaptation of “The Cat in the Hat.” But simply not being an epic train wreck isn’t usually the criteria for earning a Best Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical nomination like Jim Carrey did. Carrey’s done some really funny movies over the years that he deserved recognition for. This is not one of them.

4. Sarah Jessica Parker, ‘The Family Stone’ (2005)
Sarah Jessica Parker was something of a Golden Globes favorite last decade, earning seven nominations for “Sex and the City” and winning four times. But we never realized just how much the Hollywood Foreign Press loved Carrie Bradshaw until Parker was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical for “The Family Stone,” a very bad romcom-dramedy in which she played a shrew obsessing over an engagement ring. But hey, at least she rocked that patented fashion style on the red carpet.

3. Mel Gibson, ‘What Women Want’ (2000)
Hard to believe now, but once upon a time Mel Gibson was not only a huge movie star but also a heartthrob who made romcoms like “What Women Want.” That was a highly embarrassing and frequently insulting movie about a douchebag who can read the minds of women, only kind of like if Professor X was a total stalker. In retrospect, Gibson’s nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical is horrifying, but at the time it was … also horrifying. Because you don’t have to be a mind reader to know what women want: Movies that don’t suck.

2. ‘Green Card’ (1990)
If this were a list about the worst Golden Globe winners of all time, “Green Card” wouldn’t just be number one, it would probably be the entire list because nothing else really comes all that close. In Gerard Depardieu’s first English-language role, he played a guy who tries to get a green card to stay in American by marrying Andie MacDowell. “Ghost,” “Home Alone” and “Pretty Woman” are among the films that lost to “Green Card.” Guess the Foreign Press really, really liked Depardieu.

1. ‘Patch Adams’ (1998)
“Patch Adams” isn’t just the worst film to ever receive a Golden Globe nomination (it actually got two, including Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical and a performance nod for Robin Williams), it’s simply one of the worst films ever made, period. Williams plays a doctor who is also a clown and then spends nearly two hours giving the world its best argument in favor of euthanasia. Ladies and gentlemen: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association!


Categories: Awards

Tags: 2013 Golden Globes, Awards, Golden globes

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