Winning an Academy Award can mean everything in Hollywood…even if in the long run it means nothing. Apart from having a shiny trophy to use as a doorstop, and a prestigious note to add in the bio, winning an Oscar can boost an actor’s profile, not to mention his paycheck. On the other hand, it raises the standards for a performance, which can also dog an actor thereafter. Without good material, the Oscar amplifies the embarrassment an actor suffers when he gives a less-than-award-worthy performance.
Which brings us to these unfortunates. All have given, at times, brilliant performances—enough so to take home the Oscar gold. On the other hand, since winning their awards, they’ve turn in performances so laughably bad it’s a wonder an angry mob hasn’t shown up on their doorsteps to take away the Oscar trophy.
10 Halle Berry
9 Roberto Benigni
Who, you say? There’s good reason…
Benigni wrote, directed and starred in Life Is Beautiful, which proved an art house hit in 1998. Come Oscar night, he took home the statue for Best Foreign Language Film. Though nominated for Best Actor as well, Benigni’s chances of winning seemed slim. The contest appeared to vie between Ian McKellen for Gods and Monsters and Edward Norton for American History X. The auditorium gasped in shock when previous winner Helen Hunt called Benigni’s name for Best Actor.
8 Adrien Brody
7 Faye Dunaway
6 Marlon Brando
I know, I know, Brando is often cited as the actor of the 20th century, delivering incredible performances in A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and of course, The Godfather. He took home Best Actor statues for the latter two, both of which remain classics of film.
5 Kim Basinger
Tinsel town never thought of Basinger as an acting heavyweight. She’d begun her career as a model, and her gorgeous looks more than her range helped her win roles in Batman and Wayne's World 2. An uneven filmography kept her from great roles, at least until LA Confidential came her way. Cast as a lookalike of starlet Veronica Lake, Basinger’s performance won wide acclaim, as did the film: it scored several Oscar nominations, including one for Basinger in the Best Supporting Actress category. LA Confidential’s chances on awards night dwindled under the weight of runaway hit Titanic, though Basinger actually won in an upset.
4 Whoopi Goldberg
3 Nicolas Cage
2 Michael Caine
Cher began her acting career as a joke. Already known as a pop musician, her first outing, Chastity, bombed at the box office. Years later, she tried again with Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which earned her strong notices. A year later, she nabbed an Oscar nomination for her performance in Silkwood, before winning the statue in 1987 for Moonstruck. Then, she lost interest. Her output dropped considerably as she returned to her singing career and became an infomercial spokesmodel. By the time she appeared in Burlesque in 2010, audiences had forgotten her considerable acting chops, and wondered how she ever even got parts in the first place.
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