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Top 10 Failed Oscar Bait Movies of 2017

VO: MW WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Ezuma
Tiffany Ezuma If you've ever seen a movie that felt like it was just trying to hard to be oscar bait and failed, you may find it on this list! WatchMojo presents The Top 10 Movies from 2017 that Tried and Failed to Get Oscar Recognition! But what will take the top spot on this list? Will it be Downsizing, Suburbicon, or Roman J. Israel, Esq.? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Have an idea for our next video? Check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.commy/suggest.php

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Top 10 Failed Oscar Bait Movies of 2017

They had visions of trophies, but couldn’t pull it off. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Failed Oscar Bait Movies of 2017.

For this list, we’re looking at movies that seemed like they were created with the Academy Awards in mind, but weren’t up to that standard.

#10: “Hostiles” (2017)

A gritty western featuring high calibre a-list actors and a gritty, unflinching plot that addresses the search for humanity in the face of horrific acts of violence? Sounds to us like something that would make it rain golden statues! Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the case. While an overall decent film, with both Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike delivering powerhouse performances, critics couldn’t seem to make their mind up about Hostiles. In the end many were left feeling that the film didn’t excel in the areas it meant to, and the whole project just slipped under the Oscar Radar.

#9: “Goodbye Christopher Robin” (2017)

A WWII period drama based on beloved children’s author, A.A. Milne, sounds exactly like the kind of movie that would have won an Oscar 20 years ago, heck even 5 years ago. Added to the film’s prestige is that up-and-coming A-listers, Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie star in the awards vehicle. But despite the fact that the movie tells the story of the creation of Winnie the Pooh, as well as depicts the psychological toll of war, the movie just seemed completely middlebrow, neither here nor there in terms of its identity.

#8: “Breathe” (2017)

We’re not sure if anyone in the Academy even heard of this film, let alone saw it. The directorial debut from beloved character actor, Andy Serkis, “Breathe” is based on the true-life story of Robin Cavendish, a man who was paralyzed age 28 and became an advocate for the disabled. With a strong cast including Andrew Garfield, and Golden Globe-winning Claire Foy, the movie is exactly in the same vein as past winners. But it seems like a traditional, well-told story might not have been enough to catch the voters’ attention in a year where more unconventional movies made a splash.

#7: “The Book of Henry” (2017)

Spielberg-approved director Colin Trevorrow has already made a name for himself with big budget movies, but many thought this would be a chance to see what a smaller, awards-friendly movie would look like from him. But it didn’t quite work out. Despite the casting of Naomi Watts, as well as Jacob Tremblay, who made a name for himself with 2015’s Oscar-winning “Room,” critics absolutely hated this movie for its nonsensical plot and uneven tone. It bombed at the box office and received a very low score on Rotten Tomatoes, effectively sinking any chance it had at Oscars glory.

#6: “The Glass Castle” (2017)

The Academy often loves to reward films based on real people, especially when their story is as heart-wrenching as the memoir Jeannette Walls wrote about her childhood growing up in poverty with unstable parents. Add in Academy Awards favorites Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson, and the film seemed like a sure thing for Oscar nods. But while the movie received praise for the performances of Larson and Harrelson, many critics thought the film’s sanitized version of the events and general deviation from the book was unsatisfying, which probably explains the strong performances being overlooked.

#5: “Wonderstruck” (2017)

Todd Haynes is a director’s director who Hollywood admires, but his movies are often too weird to compete in the big race. It seemed like “Wonderstruck” could finally be his golden ticket. Based on a children’s book of the same name, the film tells the story of two kids, one in 1927 and the other in 1977. As a double period piece, with the 1927 storyline shot in black and white, it seemed like the kind of technical achievement the Academy rewards. Great performances from powerhouses Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams made it a shoe-in. Right? But the movie came and went with little fanfare. As screenwriter William Goldman once noted of Hollywood: “Nobody knows anything.”

#4: “Wonder Wheel” (2017)

In the face of the negative social feedback actors are starting to face for working with Woody Allen, it makes perfect sense that the Academy might want to stay away from one. And also, maybe it just wasn’t that good. With a Rotten Tomatoes score in the low thirties, the general consensus was that despite the casting of good actors like Oscar-winner Kate Winslet and Jim Belushi in a fun period setting, the film didn’t capture the same magic as Allen’s last Oscar-winning movie, “Blue Jasmine”. The movie’s plot didn’t amount to much of anything; and, while it looked great, it was altogether pretty forgettable.

#3: “The Greatest Showman” (2017)

Oscar voters generally love movies that shed light on complicated historical figures, but “The Greatest Showman” did not go that route with P.T. Barnum. The film capitalized on the success of “La La Land,” (which won numerous Oscars) and elected to tell a glossier version of the creation of the circus. The music was written by the same composers of “La La Land,” and with the casting of Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, they were signaling that this was going to be the next big musical. It did receive some love at the Golden Globes but it just lacks heft.

#2: “Downsizing” (2017)

Director Alexander Payne is no stranger to the Oscars, so it’s quite a surprise that this star-studded vehicle didn’t make an impact at nominations time. With a stacked cast including Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Laura Dern, and Christoph Waltz, and high concept social satire about shrinking humans, it seemed like a good bet. But the movie was pretty much DOA after the initial critical consensus seemed to be that it didn’t deliver on its premise, and that the mixing of genres wasn’t a success (in addition to some issues with the portrayal of non-white characters.) Actress Hong Chau, at least, received a nomination at the Golden Globes.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

"The Beguiled" (2017)

“Victoria and Abdul” (2017)

#1: “Suburbicon” (2017)

This was just not the year for any Matt Damon vehicle. Directed by George Clooney, and based on a script originally written by the Coen Brothers, “Suburbicon” had all the juice behind it to make it a contender. Add a cast that includes not only Damon but Julianne Moore (again) and Oscar Isaac, and this should have been a movie to beat. But the film received savage reviews, many ripping on Clooney’s turn as director and co-writer, especially when it came to the all-over-the-place storyline and abrupt changes in tone. Name recognition only goes so far, and maybe more time should have been spent on making a better product.

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