Every year the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces its Golden Globe nominations, and every year we wonder why this rococo freakshow matters. In years past, clunkers like The Tourist and Burlesque have been nominated for Best Picture, and to the HFPA’s credit, neither of those ridiculous movies ended up winning Best Picture. Unfortunately, the five I’ve listed below either won Best Comedy/Musical or Best Drama, and you’ll likely agree that these embarrassments remain stinky all these years later.
Here they are, the five worst movies to win the biggest Golden Globe of the night.
I’m obviously an elite-level Madonna fan, but I’m also the first to admit that Evita is un-special. Madonna’s performance is serviceable and Antonio Banderas’ is a bit better, but to me Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rather muted spectacle is the least interesting thing about Madonna in the ’90s. And yes, I remember “Nothing Really Matters.” The Hollywood Foreign Press is clearly sympathetic to musicals, but was this so-so effort really better than contenders Fargo, Jerry Maguire, and The Birdcage? Compared to those, Evita is just another suitcase in another hall.
4. A Majority of One
1961-2 marked a boom in comedies featuring esteemed white actors wearing offensive makeup to play Asian roles, otherwise known as “yellowface” portrayals. You had Shirley MacLaine playing a geisha in My Geisha, Mickey Rooney donning the bucked teeth and racist makeup for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and even Sir Alec Guinness joined the fray in A Majority of One, a racism drama (based on Leonard Spigelgass’ play starring the eternally fabulous Gertrude Berg) where Obi-Wan played a Japenese businessman. The movie is boring, forgettable, and an awkward footnote in cinematic history. Even the New York Times called Guinness’ portrayal “disturbing.”
3. A Star Is Born (’76)
Excuse me. How is it possible that the most overblown, cliched, uncharismatic musical spectacle of the ’70s clinched a Best Film trophy? Barbra Streisand and director Frank Pierson famously clashed on set, and their strife is apparent: This movie is disorganized and overlong and — worst of all — boring. This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I’ve always believed that “Evergreen” (which earned Streisand and her collaborators a Best Original Song Oscar) is one of her emptiest ballads. It doesn’t lead anywhere! It’s too short! And the lyrics are downright unfortunate. In fact, they make my “spirits rise, and their dance is unrehearsed.” Except then the dance turns into an angry, hellish stampede.
I do love “Queen Bee” though! Esther should’ve never left the Oreos.
2. Green Card
What says “chemistry” like Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell? Green Card is one of those rare comedies that’s both pretentious and too thin, and even though it notched an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay (?!?!), nothing can save this romance-of-convenience yarn from MacDowell’s flat line-readings and Gerard Depardieu’s unimpressive stateside debut. The HFPA’s love of foreign actors did them in this time — surely fellow nominees Pretty Woman and, hell, Ghost deserved top honors more than this.
1. Love Story
Twentysomethings try to blame a lot on Baby Boomers, but here’s one area where we have to agree: Most movies made from 1967-1970 were just awful, including the classics. Easy Rider? Midnight Cowboy? Charly? Airport? I dare you to watch them again. (Though I’ll give special props to the unbelievably wonderful They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Rosemary’s Baby). But worst — and I do mean worst — is this unthinkable stinker based on Erich Segal’s bestseller. Love Story is not just bad; it’s senseless. The way Ryan O’Neal “flirtatiously” calls Ali MacGraw “bitch”? The way Ali MacGraw deadpans “Preppy” every ten seconds? The way both of them garnered Oscar nominations?
And of course, never forget the laughable “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” sentiment. Does love also mean never having to state that you have leukemia? Because we never find out that awful Jenny has leukemia. That’d have been nice to learn. The first line of this film is “What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?” and my response is: Well, for one thing, she didn’t make a lot of sense. And neither did the HFPA: I’d have easily chosen Five Easy Pieces over this dreck.