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The 10 Cringe-Worthiest Performances By This Year's Oscar Nominated Actors

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | February 4, 2013 |

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | February 4, 2013 |

Every actor who’s been around long enough has a few skeletal performances in their closet. Heck, our Agent Bedhead has built a whole series around that fact. Just the same, it always makes the record stop when you’re watching an old film or TV show and you stumble across a face that has since become markedly more famous/classy. Or you tumble to a performance that falls well below the mark of what you know this actor is capable of. Anyway, here’s just a bit of harmless, snarky fun at the expense of some performers who have spent the last few months having their actorly hindquarters kissed. Not every nominee made the list as some are too young (Quvenzhané Wallis), too discerning (Jessica Chastain) or too french (Emmanuelle Riva) to qualify. So here are ten, which is a nice round number anyway.

Helen Hunt-Pay It Forward Remember how, shortly after winning an Oscar for As Good As It Gets Helen Hunt was everywhere all at once and you wouldn’t be surprised if she showed up to substitute teach your history class? Of all the options from that over-exposed era, I think this mawkishly sentimental wince-fest has to be the worst. Sporting a fake tan and a faker accent, Helen Hunt tried to recapture some of her Oscar-winning tough-as-nails single mom glory, but fell way short of the mark.

Philip Seymour Hoffman-Along Came Polly: PSH occasionally likes to try his hand at comedy. And while he’s not comedically ungifted (see the scruffy charm of Pirate Radio or the Jack Black-before-there-was-a-Jack-Black of Twister), it’s hard for even the most talented performer to come out the other side of this embarrassment clean.

Amy Adams-Julie and Julia Now listen, there are a whole lot of people out there who like Julie and Julia. Myself included. But while I don’t want to speak for all of us, I know I speak for many when I say I wish the movie had just been called Julia. Or that, at least, there were a special director’s cut with all the Julie parts excised. Because, holy hell, is that woman irritating. Just an unpleasant, selfish, self-centered brat. Now, to be fair to Adams, this might just be the best possible spin she could put on the off-putting-in-real-life Julie Powell, but somehow I don’t think that’s what they were going for here.
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Tommy Lee Jones-Batman Forever I was nearly put Hope Springs on here because good golly was that a terrible movie. Man Of The House was also a tempting option. But when a man as talented as Tommy Lee Jones let’s himself get so thoroughly Schumachered, I consider it my bloggerly duty to make sure you never forget.

Anne Hathaway-Bride Wars What a wretched, wretched depiction of women and female friendships. This particular flick fell smack in the middle of the weird “homance” trend that was sweeping Hollywood for a bit. This kind of sh*t is beneath Hathaway. Heck, it’s beneath Hudson. And that’s saying a lot.

Denzel Washington-Heart Condition It is not at all fair to bring up a movie from so early in someone’s career, is it? I’m just going to leave the IMDB plot description here, and let you decide: “A racist cop receives a heart transplant from a black lawyer he hates, who returns as a ghost to ask the cop to help take down the men who murdered him.”

Naomi Watts-Movie 43 This could easily be the entry for many, many award winners in years to come. I personally haven’t seen this atrocity yet, but I *did* read Dustin’s review. And I think that’s enough. It’s enough.

Hugh Jackman-Van Helsing Though Jackman’s entry could have easily been Movie 43 as well, I have to pick this bloated, CGI’d vamptrocity instead. Listen, I’m no snob when it comes to Kate Beckinsale is tight clothing. The first twenty or so Underworld movies were mindless fun. But this? This was a nightmare.
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Jennifer Lawrence-X-Men: First Class I was wrong wrong wrong to compare Jennifer Lawrence with Kate Hudson. I’ll gladly eat my words, foot, crow, whatever. And as much as I didn’t really care for Silver Linings Playbook, I didn’t find any fault in Lawrence’s performance. I think she’s a charismatic and delightful young lady. All that being said, I really, really disliked her Mystique. I thought she was wooden and boring and, worst of all, completely unsexy in that blue body paint. For that, I suppose, we have the make-up department to blame.

Daniel Day-Lewis-The Nine Let’s be clear about one thing: Daniel Day-Lewis is a god among men. I consider him the Platonic Ideal of Acting. It doesn’t hurt that the man is very discerning when it comes to his projects and would rather learn how to cobble than take the wrong film. But he did falter when he agreed to star in The Nine. The magic that Rob Marshall somehow distilled in Chicago evaporated completely in this over-bloated misstep of a movie musical. At least Day-Lewis was in good company. Cotillard, Dench and Cruz’s milkshakes would be hard to turn down. Even as a fan of musicals and of Day-Lewis himself, I have to say this was a big mistake. Huge.

Joanna Robinson is afraid that when it comes to DeNiro, there are just too many to focking mention.