Terrible Comedies from the 2023 Oscar Nominees
Congratulations to all you fine performers and filmmakers recognized today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s not only a tribute to your exemplary work this year, but a reminder that even you, our most talented and lauded artists, are capable of participating in terrible comedic dreck. Here is living proof that some of the cringiest laughers are made by our most talented artists.
Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan — ‘Encino Man’
Two Oscar nominees from Encino Man, a movie that Variety called “a low-budget quickie (that’s) insulting even within its own no-effort parameters”? There’s still hope for you yet, Pauly Shore.
Colin Farrell — ‘Dumbo’
You only have to go back to 2019 to find Farrell headlining this live-action Disney remake. “There's a lot going on in the movie,” read Slate’s review, “none of it entirely coherent.” At least we think Farrell was funnier than the CGI elephant?
Cate Blanchett — ‘Ocean’s 8’
This cast was promising as heck, littered with actual Oscar winners like Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Anne Hathaway, alongside nominees like Helena Bonham Carter and Elliott Gould. But audiences only have it at 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. “Hurrah,” cheered The Spectator in sarcastic font. “Women can now make dull formulaic franchise films too!”
Steven Spielberg — ‘1941’
Spielberg was coming off an all-time heat check (Jaws and Close Encounters, back to back!) when he made 1941, so how could this fail? John Belushi? Dan Aykroyd? John Candy? 1941 was a slam dunk! But the New York Times (and America) thought it sucked: “It may possibly be that Mr. Spielberg has chosen gigantic size and unlimited quantity as his comedy method in the awareness that he has no gift whatsoever for small-scale comic conceits.”
Jamie Lee Curtis — ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’
Curtis is the actual human being here, playing Aunt Viv to a Beverly Hills mutt who sounded a lot like lisping Drew Barrymore. You’d think this would have garnered her another Oscar nom, but sadly no. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua isn’t terrible,” lied a Slate reviewer. “Okay, it’s kind of terrible, but it’s a talking-dog movie, and anyone who goes to a talking-dog movie without being prepared to step in poop deserves to ruin his shoes.”
Angela Bassett — ‘Vampire in Brooklyn’
Remember this Eddie Murphy comedy? No? Well, there’s a reason for that. “If your idea of a laff riot is a guy’s ear falling off, then this movie might be for you,” suggested the Santa Cruz Sentinel, “therapy might be for you, too.”
Judd Hirsch — ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’
At least Sharknado 2 was trying to be bad. Bonus: Hirsch drives a Taxi!