vote on everything
Watchworthy
1.3k voters

20 Action Movies That Are Way Better Than The Oscar Winners That Beat Them

Updated 23 Sep 2019 10.4k votes 1.3k voters 58.2k views20 items

List RulesVote up the bullet bonanza action movies that blow their year’s Best Picture Oscar winners to smithereens.

A rallying cry for bullet-crazed readers: guns up statues down! Classic action flicks over forgotten Best Picture winners for life. See, the Hollywood action movie style that has dominated since the 1980s – one characterized by excessive and cartoonish violence, excessive and cartoonish writing, and what appears, on the surface, to be a total lack of morality – is not often associated with the best things cinema has to offer. However, time has been kind to these movies; the most unique films of the genre have become separated from the pack; many are regarded as subversive and cutting edge. Others have a mythic quality to them that demonstrates Hollywood’s image factory operating at full strength. These movies wear their age much better than than Oscar-winning movies that haven't gotten old with grace, pictures like Rain Man and Driving Miss Daisy

A remarkable quality of the modern Hollywood action movie is its habit of involving supreme artistic talents such as John Carpenter, Paul Verhoeven, Michael Mann, Tony Scott, John Woo, and numerous others. Ignoring that the majority of action movies are varying degrees of forgettable, you can bank on at least a couple of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking movies every year being found among unpretentious multiplex fare.

In a similar vein, you can rely on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science to enshrine some of Hollywood’s biggest clunkers on a yearly basis. The Best Picture award has proven as adept at this feat as the action movie is at finding real artists. The worst Oscar winners, not too hard to choose with hindsight, were once critically lauded movies, and might still be, if you can believe it. Blame the supremacy of bourgeoisie aesthetic, if you need a scapegoat. 

Of course, there's no shortage of action excellence from film industries overseas. This list is not meant to force them out, or to ignore the reality that American action movies can be unspeakably poor or ludicrous by every measure. But if you look at the best American action cinema has to offer and what the Academy deems the best American cinema had to offer, the difference in quality and cultural impact is striking. What follows is a side-by-side comparison of 20 of the best action movies and the last 35 dismal years of Oscars for Best Picture. No one's here to beat up on Best Picture winners like Gandhi or Titanic, but rather, to see how they square up to the likes of John Wick and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Photo: 
FilmsFilmActionEntertainmenttop 20