11 Actors Who Had an Oscar-Nominated Movie & a Total Bomb Come Out at the Same Time

by John Boone 8:32 AM PST, February 20, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Not every movie can be a winner. And not every actor can be Meryl Streep.

Even Oscar nominees make bad movies and sometimes, in an unfortunate twist of fate and bad timing, that bomb, that dud, that total and complete flop, comes out at the same time as some of the best work of their life. Here are 11 times that happened in the past 10 years:

Photo: Focus Features

1. Eddie Redmayne (2015)

Nominated Role: The Theory of Everything. Redmayne is the Best Actor favorite this year for this biopic about Stephen Hawking navigating black holes and ALS.
Losing Role: Jupiter Ascending. This totally effing bonkers Wachowski sci-fi flick came out just before Oscar voting started. And once you see Redmayne as Bowie-esque space prince Balem Abrasax, it cannot be unseen.

Photo: The Weinstein Company

2. Jennifer Lawrence (2013)

Winning Role: Silver Linings Playbook. Lawrence took home Best Actress for her turn as a trouble townie named Tiffany in this dark spin on a rom-com.
Losing Role: House at the End of the Street. Lawrence filmed this brainless horror movie before she was even cast in The Hunger Games; the studio just lucked out that, by the time they dumped it, she had become a huge star.

Photo: Universal Pictures

3. Hugh Jackman (2013)

Nominated Role: Les Misérables. Jackman earned a Best Actor nomination for playing Jean Valjean, though he was ultimately beaten by Daniel Day-Lewis’ for Lincoln.
Losing Role: Movie 43. We don’t know how this movie got made, let alone why there were actual actors in it. It’s like sitting through the worst student film festival ever. For his part, Jackman plays a blind date who has balls on his chin. Seriously.

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Photo: Summit Entertainment

4. Naomi Watts (2013)

Nominated Role: The Impossible. Watts was nominated for taking on the real-life role of tsunami survivor María Belón. This was the year Lawrence won.
Losing Role: Movie 43. Ditto everything we said above, but swap in Watts’ role: a mother who homeschools her son and tries to give him the true high school experience by hazing him and giving him his first kiss.

Photo: Columbia Pictures

5. Jessica Chastain (2013)

Nominated Role: Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain earned her second consecutive Best Actress nomination playing a woman at the center of the hunt for Bin Laden.
Losing Role: Mama. Hardly the worst bad movie on this list, this ghost story without any real spooks is still a misstep in Chastain’s otherwise critically adored career. Maybe Oscar voters didn’t recognize her in the wig though?

Photo: Lionsgate

6. Nicole Kidman (2011)

Nominated Role: Rabbit Hole. Kidman earned her third Best Actress nomination for her devastating turn as Becca, a mother grieving the death of her son. Natalie Portman won for Black Swan.
Losing Role: Just Go With It. This one wasn’t even good by Adam Sandler movie standards. And Kidman’s inclusion as Jennifer Aniston’s college sorority nemesis became more and more confusing the longer you watched, culminating in a hula dance-off?!

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

7. Sandra Bullock (2010)

Winning Role: The Blind Side. Bullock pulled out her best Southern accent and her biggest hair to win the Best Actress Oscar as Leigh Anne Tuohy, the surrogate mother of a would-be NFL player.
Losing Role: All About Steve. Bullock managed to win an Oscar and a Razzie the same year, the latter for Worst Actress in this misfire about “an eccentric crossword puzzler” who falls for a news cameraman played by Bradley Cooper. You have to give Bullock props for being sport enough to show up and accept her Razzie though.

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Photo: Paramount Pictures

8. Anna Kendrick (2010)

Nominated Role: Up in the Air. Kendrick earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination playing an uptight cost cutter opposite George Clooney. In the end, Mo’Nique took the category for Precious.
Losing Role: The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Bet you forgot Kendrick was in these. And sure, the movies aren’t...great, but Kendrick was often the best part of whatever installment she popped up in as Bella Swan’s snarky frenemy.

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

9. Anne Hathaway (2009)

Nominated Role: Rachel Getting Married. Before she won an Oscar for Les Mis, Hathaway was nominated for Best Actress for playing a recently sober bridesmaid in her sister’s wedding. Kate Winslet won for The Reader.
Losing Role: Passengers. Bet you forgot this movie even existed. Hathaway tried her hand at a conspiracy thriller, but the lame plot and knockoff M. Night Shyamalan twist made this a critical flop.

Photo: Dreamworks

10. Eddie Murphy (2007)

Nominated Role: Dreamgirls. Murphy earned his first and only Best Actor nomination for channeling James “Thunder” Early. He ultimately lost to Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine.
Losing Role: Norbit. Think of everything you liked about The Nutty Professor. This movie had none of that, even with Murphy pulling triple duty as the titular Norbit, Mr. Wong, and Rasputia (pictured above).

Photo: 20th Century Fox

11. Reese Witherspoon (2006)

Winning Role: Walk the Line. Witherspoon’s first Best Actress nomination was also her first win, for bringing June Carter to the big screen opposite Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash.
Losing Role: Just Like Heaven. A rom-com where Mark Ruffalo falls in love with Witherspoon’s ghost. What more is there to say?

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