The Academy Awards are a funny old business; half the time the wrong person wins, either because the Academy loves sentimental, pat melodrama, or they aren’t prepared to sit down and watch more challenging, visceral films. Every so often, they give out an acting award that beggars belief, either in its initial context or in the years that follow, once we realise that the winning actor actually isn’t particularly good. Either they were blessed with a flash-in-the-pan great role, or they’ve just gotten lazy and not followed up their award-winning turn with other befitting work.

Here are the 10 worst actors to ever be gifted an Academy award…



10. Timothy Hutton

It still boggles the mind that Timothy Hutton scooped up a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn in Ordinary People – becoming the youngest winner of the award in history – beating out Joe Pesci’s immortal turn in Scorsese’s astounding Raging Bull. While the performance, like most on this list, is far from bad, it’s just not Oscar worthy, compounded by the fact that Hutton never returned to the same level of prestige, and three decades later, is stuck working in daft heist TV show, Leverage. It’s probably what he’s best known for these days, but all it does is remind us that Hutton certainly has that “flash in the pan” quality; his stilted, unfussed work on Leverage is sad proof that Hutton really wasn’t ever that good an actor, and simply appealed to the Academy’s fanciful sensibilities that year.

It’s a shame as most surely expected he would only improve after this glory. Rather, it seems he peaked too early…

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This article was first posted on November 6, 2012