10 Worst Actors/Actresses to Win an Oscar

“I want to thank the Academy!” is one of the most recognizable lines in the world and it’s usually accompanied by a shaky voice and possibly a few tears. When actors and actresses win an Oscar for their performance in one of their latest films, it’s pretty much the be all and end all of their career – this is what they work so hard for. Unfortunately, some of those Oscars should have been placed in more deserving hands. Here are ten actors (and actresses) who, in our opinion, really shouldn’t have had the chance to give their acceptance speech.

10. Anthony Hopkins, 1992

In 1992, Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor for his role as Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs.” While Hopkins is adored, his performance in “Silence…” was a bit over-the-top, according to critics, not to mention that he was only in the film for mere minutes. He beat both Robert De Niro and Robin Williams that year.

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  • Pyes

    Why did I just waste my time reading some one’s completely subjective opinions? Your title is a complete misnomer

  • Zeeta

    I felt the same way about reading their complaints about the movie “Ray”, so sad. I feel slightly dumber for reading this. Especially their saying that these people can’t act, they can’t be serious.

  • python33

    Katherine Hepburn won for “On Golden Pond” in 1981. There is no such movie called “The Loons, the Loons”, although this is an oft-spoken quote from Ms. Hepburn’s character.

  • dylan111

    This is absolutely ridiculous. You might well be able to argue that the actors didn’t deserve to win for these specific performances, but to call these men and women “the worst actors” is absurd. Katherine Hepburn? Gene Hackman? Really? You trashed your own credibility by writing such nonsense.

  • Cheryl J. Brock

    Anthony Hopkins may have only been in Silence of the Lambs for “mere minutes” but how many people quote Jodie Fosters lines all these years later?

  • Ken James

    The article was written by an idiot.

  • keithsmylove

    This article is so ridiculous! Ever heard the term……no use crying over spilled milk?? You said Nicole Kidman should not have won her Oscar for The Hours, however, she was robbed of one Oscar she should have gotten for Moulin Rouge that went to Halle Berry in that raunchy movie she won for…Monsters Ball.

  • Pronk

    I refuse to read past Anthony Hopkins. He was a defining villain to a generation, and in only 19 minutes of work. I get that others may feel cheated, but too freakin bad.

  • Iam_Spartacus

    Best of Davidson’s career?! He’s only done TWO films, Crying Game and Star Gate for crying out loud! Idiotic list.

  • Geoff B

    Uhm, I think that was a joke.

  • Geoff B

    Because we like to hear others’ opinions. Why are you reading these comments?

  • Geoff B

    Did you all expect something other than a fluff piece? The article was written by “staff.”

  • Rolo_Tomasi

    The title of the article is misleading

  • solana beach

    Whoever wrote this must be 29-34. Short, single, white/confused. … dude don’t mess with pacino and hackman!

  • python33

    jokes aren’t allowed on here…..this is a deadly serious business ya know !

  • Rebecca Jay

    Halle Berry FTW x1000 on this.
    Runnerup: Julia Roberts for Erin Brokovich.

  • merwanor

    When I saw Anthony Hopkins on the list I scrolled up to see if I read wrong, but no, it actually says worst and not best. :S

  • Smokeywombat

    If you don’t think Roberto Benigni 100% deserved his Oscar then you obviously haven’t watched Life is Beautiful. Notorious faux par? I think probably the most sensible decision the Oscar committee has made in the last 20 years!
    A brilliantly acted film.

  • CComry

    What? All actors are “impersonating someone”. Seriously, I hope this isn’t your day job.

  • TJ

    #2 gene Jackman 1992

    He beat Shouty Mcshoutsalot (Al Pacino)?

  • Harcourt

    Agree with almost everyone else here. This article is moronic, period.

  • RyDaScotchDrinker

    i dont know who half of these people are.

  • Jake

    You guys understand where this guy is coming from, don’t you? He puts the other nominees so you can compare and I gotta say I do believe they all got robbed, these people can act however and they do it very well but most of the performances here were nominated in the same year as some other actors who CLEARLY should have won, technically that is my opinion but judging the fundamentals of acting in the technical aspect you can clearly judge the performances and give the award to the nominees that clearly deserved it. Again though I am not at all insinuating that these actors can’t act but they should have been beat out by the other actors in the list with them.

  • UN

    AL PACINO…………name says it all

  • jay

    These are not bad actors…only misplaced awards…hoffman deserved this one.

  • jay

    Where’s Jeremy Irons and his odious acting, hello?

  • aprince66

    I dont agree. The title says “10 Worst Actors/Actresses to Win an Oscar”,
    not worst performance, or 10 winners who beat out better performances robbing worthier actors/actresses.

  • Momus

    I’m going to blame how stupid this article seems to be on what I’m going to assume is a mistaken and thoroughly misleading title.

  • Ghost_Babel

    Michael Caine should not have won for Cider House Rules. MCD should have won for the Green Mile or Haley Joel Osmet should have won for the Sixth Sense.

  • Ghost_Babel

    Tell us. Why did you?

  • Ghost_Babel

    They never said they can’t act, but only that the others were better in theirs.

  • Zeeta

    Hey, I was just going by the title. So in actuality, they DID say that. It’s the title! It’s like putting Mrs in front of my name, but I’m not really married, come on now.

  • Z_Lauren_Z

    Ditto! SIR Anthony Hopkins created one of the most indelible screen vilians of all time and he was BRILLIANT.

    Perhaps the writers of Fame10 can tell me how one accurately portrays a cannibal without being over the top?

    My Lord . . . and IF, IF on the off chance you were correct he would’ve gotten it later for Remains of The Day or Shadowlands – two incredible performances.

  • Z_Lauren_Z

    Absolutely! That film was incredible as was Benigni’s performance in it.

  • Tammy

    You forgot Halle Berry!!!!! She is awful and I cannot believe she has an Oscar. The Oscars have become a joke!

  • Tammy

    I AGREE!

  • Dana Hynes

    You’re either joking or you’re very young! Most of them are considered among the greatest actors/actresses of all time, and if you’ve never seen their great movies (the movies they won Oscars for were not always their greatest performances), you are in for a treat! Enjoy… :-)

  • Nathan White

    Great sourcing in this article. They’ve backed up their statements with the opinions of both “many” and “most.” Airtight.

  • Frank Drebin

    A lame list composed by lame people.

  • Chris Tennant

    No way you can tell me that Tom Hanks didn’t deserve an Oscar for SPR.

  • adrien siregar

    My thoughts exactly! Thank You!

  • J.A.C.

    This is one of the most over rated, useless articles I have ever read, I surely bet there was another article more deserving of this space.

  • ItalianMom

    Roberto Benigni was brilliant in Life is Beautiful. I can only assume the writer of the article doesn’t speak Italian or was too busy to pay attention to the subtitles. His acting was very impressive, and in the movie he was able to portray a multifaceted character who impacted the film. Saving Private Ryan is a brilliant movie, but my favorite acting was from Giovanni Ribisi and Ryan Hurst. I haven’t heard that Roberto Benigni’s win was viewed as a big faux pas, and I’m unsure how it went against social norms or was socially akward.

    Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Hannibal was great to watch, and he deserved the win. A character who impacts an entire movie, and is often quoted with only 19 minutes on screen should be reason enough to win for the movie. Buffalo Bill is another often quoted character from the movie.

    I hope the writer of the above list learns to word the title of future lists in a way that suggests it is their opinion as opposed to fact.

    If I took a page from their book I’d make a worst movies list and The Crying Game would be on it. I realize a lot of people like it, so my list would be called My List of the Worst Movies. That would at least let the reader know it was as subjective as one opinion rather than a panel of people voting on a list of things. I realize a panel of people voting would also make it subjective, but it is slightly less than one opinion.

  • xantheus13

    List should definitely be titled “People I feel beat out people I feel were better in the Oscars that particular year”. Also “to many” and “to most”, really? Those are some un-disputable facts to back up your opinions right there, great work.

  • http://beautypersoni.livejournal.com Christopher-J Carlson

    I was just hoping to see Tom Hanks on the list for his awful performance in Forrest Gump. *shrug*

  • Dax E. Richardson

    What about Humphrey Bogart beating out Marlon Brando in 1951 African Queen? Stanley Kowalski is the most recognizable and most quoted character in cinema history ” hey Stella” Bogart was just Bogart in that film nothing special

  • Dax E. Richardson

    Denzel did deserve Oscar that year over Pacino’s scent of a woman but Pacino should have won as well for four other films!

  • TraceSkipper

    This is the worse article I ever read. I stop after Al Pacino.

  • Jose David Yacaman

    stupid article.
    great actors

  • Grey D

    You forgot the worst one;
    Jennifer Hudson!
    Did not deserve it then, does not deserve it now!
    I haven’t watched the Academy Awards since that travesty was committed.

  • jbuzz1973

    Anthony Hopkins is on this list for portraying one of the most iconic villains of all time, yet Cuba Gooding Jr. goes unmentioned for Jerry Maguire? If anyone from JM deserved an Oscar, it was that little kid!

  • villedeville

    I think it is only the title of the article that is wrong. His assessments of the particular actor in their winning roles are spot on. Sure, some of them are great actors/actresses, but their roles in the particular movies that won them the award are either mediocre or insignificant. He is almost 100% right in his comment on who should have won.

    Incidentally, I would like to add to the list Dame Judi Dench 6-minute role in ‘Shakespeare in Love” in which she won the Best Supporting Actress of the Year

    I think the title of the article should have been “The Worst Oscar-Award Winning Performance By an Actor/Actress”.

  • Omar Gonzalez

    I absolutley agree with #1 It was the most obnoxious and undeserving performance in Oscar history

  • Ghada

    If this list was called “Actors who won an oscar for the wrong part” I would have agreed. Most of these actors are amazing. I am not sure I can share your opinion!

  • blizzard789

    errm….Benigni was superb.
    This was a pretty weak list.

  • Tsk

    This is the dumbest list I’ve ever seen. Who wrote this?

  • scooterdie

    someone doesn’t know who votes for the winners. This isn’t the People Choice Awards or something. This a bunch of other Oscar winners bestowing favours on people they like by increases their worth in future projects.

  • Robert Guilfoyle

    Fame 10 staff…

    Go ***k yourselves with rusty razors.

    Your pathetic attempts at ‘shocking’ for hits is mere trolling.

  • Carlos Arango

    Worst CNN title ever, all famous actors who won not for their best performances but far for being “worst actors”. I’ll give u my real worst actor list later.

  • Carlos Arango

    My real “worst actor” list is based on their overall performances, not their Oscar performance. Be nice to me: Ernest Borgnine, Sissy Spacek, Sally Field, Burt Lancaster & Louise Fletcher

  • Lee Miller

    Terrible article. Nothing more tha an uninformed rant. Who is “Julianna Moore”?

  • Lee Miller

    Also….why is Hoffman being derided for “impersonating someone”, yet the author supports Denzel Washington over Al Pacino in 1992. What role did Denzel play in 92? Malcolm X!

  • LuyenDao

    I thought Roberto deserved it that year, because it was more than just about him, it was also the uplifting story during a tough time.

  • sweetpeasmom

    Gary Sinise should have won Best Supporting Actor in 1994 instead of Martin Landau. What an uninspired actor Landau is. Just sort of shows up.

  • sweetpeasmom

    Don’t get all looney on us, now.

  • Katrina

    Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought the article completely discredited itself from the onset.

  • Matt Mulligan

    That film was horrible and manipulative.

  • Matt Mulligan

    Benigni was horrible, as was the film.

  • Matt Mulligan

    Life is Beautiful was a manipulative piece of crap. Horrible movie.

  • Smokeywombat

    Any other year I would agree as even though I didn’t really enjoy SPR Tom Hanks was brilliant. However, Benigni’s performance was magnificent – I don’t know any other actor that could have portrayed both the horror of the Holocaust and comedy of a father entertaining his child in the same scene! I think he should have won all the Oscars!

  • Phil Naccarato

    This is the dumbest list ever. Some amazing world class talent in this list. This is journalism..?

  • Geoff Aucoin

    Yes DeNiro’s performance in Cape Fear was so subtle…

  • Sircornflakes

    Oh FAME10, cry me a river

  • S freud

    Are all the writers in the “Fame 10 Staff” gay? Just wondering.

  • speedgeek

    Title should perhaps have read worst performances, not actors, but even then it is a subjective view, as all these posts are.

  • wageslave1

    I am not familiar with the actress Julianna Moore. Is she any relation to Julianne Moore?

  • Joey Jojo Junior Shabadoo

    All these legendary and GREAT actors and they leave off Jean Dujardin, Adrien Brody, Mo’Nique, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Hudson, Melissa Leo, Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard??!! And that’s just the past decade. Add Halle Berry and Anna Pacquin to that list too. I mean seriously? Adrien Brody is a better actor than Sir Anthony Hopkins or PACINO?!!! Who are you people?

  • Warren Spencer

    I would agree with Dylan111. You just lost all your credibility by saying something negative about Gene Hackman, his performance as the corrupt sheriff was exemplary and he came out of a relatively quiet time in his career to deliver that one. I do agree that Clint should have won over Al, that’s not just from being a huge fan but I thought, and still do that Unforgiven was/is his strongest acting role. Again coming from a poor run of films to be able to remind cinema-goers he was far from done. Al was great though in Scent of a Woman. I feel also Whoopi Goldberg really commanded the screen with her performance and it’s something she will never top. In all these choices the actor has won through a commanding performance, the characters they’ve given us (Oda Mae Brown, Sheriff Bill Daggett, William Munny, Hannibal Lecter) are larger-than-life, memorable, quotable and have become part of movie lore. So shut it.

  • davidfGuest

    Great, now I know what a mongoloid thinks about Silence of the Lambs.

  • davidfGuest

    No wonder none of you idiots wanted your names on this flaming POS ‘article’.

  • Bob Phatuski

    Who ever wrote this is a complete an utter moron who knows nothing about movies.

  • denroy3

    Worst “Actors”

  • denroy3

    And SPR wasn’t?

  • denroy3

    Stopped before moving past Anthony Hopkins. No sense giving them page views.

  • SCParegien

    “In all honestly”… Owning a tablet and keyboard whilst expressing an opinion does not mean you are a writer. As Truman Cappote once put it: “That’s just typing.”.

  • Robert Johnston

    Sour grapes, anyone?

  • nickc66

    Holy crap. A list w Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Kate Hepburn, Gene Hackman, and Ingrid Bergman and no Mira Sorvino, Cuba Gooding Jr. and the My Cousin Vinny woman. Seriously?

  • Andrew Heitz

    horrid list. what a moron.

  • John Ross

    I disagree. I think he was pretty right on with about 2/3′s of the actors on the list. Hopkin’s Oscar was more of a limetime achievement Oscar, and his performance, as well as the film, for that matter, were not Oscar worthy.

  • Sea Tea

    One of the worst articles I’ve read in 15 years. That’s just my uneducated opinion….like this article.

  • Blombiddyshob

    The title of your article is completely misleading. 10 Worst Actors to Win an Oscar would indicate that these actors are bad actors instead of actors who were merely undeserving of an Oscar for that particular role. I don’t think you’re actually suggesting that Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino are bad actors, are you?

  • s_lock

    horrible misleading header

  • Grant Kanigan

    Stopped reading when I saw Anthony Hopkins…

  • Draconian9053

    Goodfellas should’ve swept the Academy Awards in 1991. Instead, it was nominated for 6 Oscars, and won only one. It was nominated for 5 Golden Globe Awards and won zero.

    Critics were more enamored with Dances With Wolves.

  • Jamie Masters

    My IQ has plummeted just reading the first part of this moronic drivel .

  • Al Dente

    I agree with most of the article but I have to say that to me the most undeserved Oscar I can recall is Kevin Costner for “Dances with Wolves.” The movie was wildly overrated and as usual Costner can’t act.

  • Mr. Hesse

    I agree with a couple of these (Benigni for sure), but most of this list is nonsense.

    And where is Marissa Tomei for “My Cousin Vinny”? Seriously?

  • dave816

    You nailed it on this one. Ian McKellen was so good it was so obvious that he should have one but Oscar has a very poor track record in general. It is and always will be a popularity contest. Regarding The Hours and Nicole Kidman, it was believe it or not Meryl Streep who should have won and not the boring one trick pony Julianne Moore who resorts to baring her lower teeth in every film she makes. Nicole Kidman is , however a brilliant actress, she just won for the wrong role. Oscar loves to give awards for characters who hide or transform themselves in make up as in the case of Meryl Streep two years ago for the Margaret Thatcher impersonation. Oscar is just an excuse to see your favorite actors all dressed up and acting very humble and needy…Anne Hathaway ring a bell? Through out Oscar history they have ignored really talented people, so many fine actors never won or even received nominations. This year 2013, they gave honorary Oscars to Angela Landsbury and Steve Martin?
    Angela Landsbury made a hand full of supporting roles through the 1960′s then went to real fame on Broadway and later television. Steve Martin ? ( scratching my head ) Tell me it’s not a popularity contest when Doris Day did not get a nod for Love Me or Leave Me nor has she been given an honorary award for total career achievement. Barbara Stanwyck never won an Oscar, nor did Greta Garbo and so many others.It’s silly to ever take these awards shows seriously, better to just enjoy looking at the pretty people and trying not to worry about who is popular any given year.

  • 21010

    Oscars awards is nonsense … best movie of the year is all that counts

  • rain

    And they rarely get that right.

  • rain

    Can not really agree with you. Adrien Brody deserved Oscar for Pianist, and Marion Cotillard is brilliant.

  • rain

    I did like Life is Beautiful and Roberto Benigni was great.

  • friday

    This is YOUR opinion.

  • Beaver

    Thank you, thank you ,thank you….I’m still saying Halle Berry should never have won an Oscar…period!!!!!

  • Beaver


  • http://www.facebook.com/brendan.myers.10 Brendan Myers

    Worst article I have ever read. And this is the internet, so thats saying something

  • E Feetham

    terrible name for the list…surely you mean poor performances to win the Oscar?…some people on this list are truly great actors.

  • jamesthemod

    Al Pacino… one of the worst actors?

    I’m confused.

  • John Nalley

    Hannibal should find the composer of this article and eat their hands.

  • varmintz

    Thank you for your objective opinion, for what it is worth.

  • varmintz

    Sorry to hear your opinion. Myself, I enjoy watching her, and wish her well including congrats !

  • Matt DiNero

    Some of these are right on and some are way off, gene Hackman was great in Unforgiven and the competition that year was weak, I agree Benigni shouldn’t have won but nothing about American History X was any good but Tom Hanks was great in Saving Private Ryan.

  • Niestle

    The title of the article is “10 WORST actors/actresses. ” basically says the dont think they can act.

  • Baconator

    This article was truly terrible. Top 10 worst articles: this one. spots 1-10

  • Omkar Kulkarni

    absolutely nonsensical list. the actors in the list are being dismissed to the most preposterous reasons. this so-called team is basing their opinions on nothing but heresay. they have no opinions of their own. both pacino and hopkins deserved their wins. waste of time.

  • Omkar Kulkarni

    exactly!!!!! i commend u for saying that. besides despite his screen-time being for just ‘mere minutes’, he was absolutely riveting.

  • Omkar Kulkarni


  • Thingamajig

    Wow. This is the worst article I’ve read.


  • Eelo Fudpucker

    Where is Denzel Washington??????
    You know the black actor that whined so much about not getting one they gave him one just to shut him up.

  • Avihxc

    This article was terrible. Every actor who won was deserving. You clearly know absolutely nothing about the craft and it doesn’t seem like you know how to title an article as it was very misleading…I mean you just called Phillip Seymour Hoffman and GENE HACKMAN bad actors. WTF are you smoking?

  • Rockyxx19

    I agree with you, but saying “Jodie Foster’s lines” is more of a compliment to Jodie Foster than him.

  • Rockyxx19

    I’ve never seen it so I can’t judge but it is the win (along with Marisa Tomei) that I hear the most snark over.

  • Janardan

    Wow, this list was a waste of 5 minutes of my life. Anthony Hopkins?! Really?!! Hannibal Lecter is easily one of the most memorable and infectious performances in history.

  • Janardan

    I do think that Edward Norton should have won for American History X.

  • skorpyo_nayts1169

    Stupid article. Worst actors? Subjective and no basis.

  • Uncle Bug Music

    Jesus. Just because you have learned to type and put things on the internet, doesn’t mean you should. Think about that the next time you feel the need to share your opinion with the world. Consequently, I will do the same. :)

  • http://hotair.com/ SwiperTheFox

    Anthony Hopkins?!?!

    You people are crazy!

  • Tom Sillers

    One of the stupidest lists ever.

  • nicholasi

    Begnini played a jewboy in a lolocost flick, so what do you expect?

  • Bucktooth

    Anthony Hopkins..excellent!! Philip Seymour..excellent!! Why didn’t you add Halle Berry..not good in anything!!

  • mkmilan

    This was NOT an article about worst actor/actress, but subjective “worst” performance! Really, CNN !?!?!

  • Rumionemore

    I agree with only one – Rene Zellweger. Why didn’t you mention Gwyneth Paltrow??
    All the other actors took on challenging roles and, for the most part, did remarkably well. All but Zellweger have a body of excellent work to back them – not just one role.

  • HFS…and then some

    Next topic: Top Ten Worst Reviews of Worst Reviews of Oscar Winning Actors.

  • Bob Konkel

    This list is a joke without mentioning Kim Bassinger for LA Confidential, it should be #1

  • Diane Sampson

    Yes – The title is completely misleading.

  • Sammy80

    Anthony Hopkins didn’t overact his role; he was playing the role of an extremely sociopathic murderer who loves to skin his victims! I think Hopkins captured the character perfectly; his stares alone would send a chill down your spine and are worthy of a second Oscar :)

  • TJ

    Shoutymcshoutsalot= Pacino?

  • Laura Steel

    What bull! Actors shouldn’t get awarded when they are in biopics? Instead of fictional stories? Maybe I’m just flabbergasted at your dissing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Your criticisms are gratuitous and eccentric.

  • keslyn

    I was thinking that too!! Still to this day, I shutter even thinking about his performance. He made that movie.

  • Sadie Sharpe

    Costner didn’t win for acting. He won for directing. Just setting the record straight.

  • Sadie Sharpe

    From the title on through to the end, this article is a fabulous exercise in trolling. Look how ticked off everyone is — it’s almost as if the “Staff” set out to print the most inflammatory positions they could think of and a couple hundred people bit.

  • none

    I guess people either loved it or hated it. For me it was one of the most memorable performances I’ve ever seen.

  • none

    Add Sandra Bullock here too.

  • pe8er8

    While I agree that the article was poorly written with a very misleading headline, the point was that Hoffman’s performance was simply a surface impersonation of a distinctive real life character like Capote, unlike the other performances which were created off the page.

  • pe8er8

    If it was titled “10 Most Undeserved Oscars” the article would have at least made a little sense . . .

  • gradyphilpott

    Probably the lamest article in the history of the printed word.

  • Jim

    Obviously, reading this article is in my 10 for moments wasted when i could have been doing something more constructive, like picking my nose in public.

  • Jeff Davad

    The only one I don’t agree with was Anthony Hopkins, his award was justified. To have an audience and critics remember your performance based on a small amount of time you have to make that character believable is a sign of a true actor. Diane Ladd should have won for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Jaye Davidson should have won for The Crying Game. Gene Hackman’s role in Unforgiven was only memorable by the fact that he kicked the living you-know-what out of Richard Harris, other then that his performance wasn’t as Oscar worthy as say his role as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection and Mary McDonnell should have won for her role as Stands With A Fist in Dances With Wolves.

  • James Turner

    Idiot writer..says Philip Seymour Hoffman deserved to win but on list of worst actors to win an Oscar. Why write this piece of crap?

  • sternum

    Worst article of all time?

  • sternum

    Katharine… Hepburn… I hope you burn in hades Fame 10

  • sternum

    I’m gonna guess you either wrote this article/or wrote part of it, or you are friends or family with someone who did.

  • sternum

    No. It wasn’t.

  • sternum

    Norton should have been a close second LOL terrible article

  • acost010

    Mo’Nique has an oscar and she’s not on this list… enough said… This list is crap

  • Warren Spencer

    Doing well until you discredited Gene Hackman.