Cuba Gooding, Jr. had the entire Academy on its feet as he refused to be played off after winning the Oscar for Jerry MacGuire. However, his post-Oscar management was terrible. They tried an actioner (Chill Factor, with then-flavor-of-the-month Skeet Ulrich) then a broad comedy (Boat Trip). When both of these ideas failed they just kept trying the same thing over and over and over again (see: Snow Dogs).Like so many actors before him, Gooding Jr. has gotten some credibility back by heading to television. His performance as OJ Simpson on American Crime Story has earned plenty of attention and more respect than acting against canines, but it's still hard to imagine him dancing off the stage any time soon.
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In one of the Academy's most brazen cases of nepotism, Mira Sorvino beat out Joan Allen, Kathleen Quinlin , Mare Wingingham and Kate Winslet for her 1995 Oscar. Her dimwitted hooker with a heart of gold in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite was a well-written role that she added nothing to except a Jersey accent. While she did show her range in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, her career went flat for two decades as she wallowed in TV movies and straight-to-DVD fare (a.k.a. post-Oscar purgatory).
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The Holy Grail of Oscar flubs came in 1990. Kevin Costner's preachy, self righteous, overwritten ("I want to see the West, before it’s gone!") loooong crapfest, Dances With Wolves snaked the Best Picture Oscar away from Martin Scorcese's masterpiece Goodfellas. It was one of those brainfart Academy years (although brain flatulence isn't limited to any particular year). They chose Ghost, Awakenings, and The Godfather Part III over Wild at Heart and The Grifters as Best Picture nominees.Kevin Costner spent the next twenty years indulging his inner hack. Since winning, he has failed to direct or even act in a single watchable movie. Some will say JFK is a good movie. These people are wrong. The movie is okay at best and Costner is terrible.
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While we are on the nepotism subject, Helen Hunt won for an uninspired performance in As Good As It Gets. Does anyone really think she held her own against Nicholson in any scene? Even against Greg Kinnear? No, sir, she did not.
She went on to appear in the over-manipulative Pay It Forward, was upstaged by a volleyball in Cast Away and phoned in another nothing role in Bobby. She did have a nice turn in What Women Want and did fine work in both Soul Surfer and The Sessions, for which she actually received an Oscar nomination, only to lose to Anne Hathaway.Like Mira Sorvino, she beat out Kate Winslet. Take that, logic!
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