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Truly rotten: 'Slumdog Millionaire' ranked below 'Unforgiven' on Oscars' list

March 3, 2009 |  4:23 pm

What an outrage! Poor "Slumdog Millionaire" comes out at only No. 31 on Rotten Tomatoes' ranking of the Oscars' 82 best-picture choices. Above "Slumdog Millioniare" on the list are such over-rated past champs as "The Best Years of Our Lives," "All the King's Men," "An American in Paris" and such outright junk as "Unforgiven."


The top 10 Oscars best pictures, in descending order: "The Godfather," "All About Eve," "On the Waterfront," "Rebecca," "Marty," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Godfather, Part II," "An American in Paris," "Annie Hall" and "The French Connection."

Here's what doesn't make sense about this list. The introduction to the photo gallery suggests that these are ranked according to critics' scores, but they're not. Below is a breakdown of the lowest-ranked best pix. The percentage number given is its RT score. Notice, for example, that "The Greatest Show on Earth" has a score of only 39%, but it's ranked above "Cimarron," which is in last place with 50% score.

77.) "The Life of Emile Zola" (70%)
78.) "The Great Ziegfeld" (59%)
79.) "Cavalcade" (62%)
80.) "The Greatest Show on Earth" (39%)
81.) "Broadway Melody" (40%)
82.) "Cimarron" (50%)

Notice an obvious pattern on this list. The old flicks are all pushed to the bottom. Whatever happened to that familiar whine, "They just don't make pictures like they used to!"?

Photos: "Forrest Gump" and "Titanic" (Paramount), "Gandhi" (Columbia)


Did Jennifer Aniston really snicker when Brad Pitt lost best actor?

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The comments to this entry are closed.


Slumdog Millionaire is outright junk, an unimportant film you forget as soon as you walk out the door. Unforgiven was much better....

I agree, Unforgiven is really boring. I guess that means I know nothing about film. Funny, considering I've seen almost 150 films in the Top 250.

Not sure what these commentors are smoking. The characters were uninteresting, it was cheesy and not unique at all, etc.

You are the guys who need to be educated in film. Watch some Kubrick and Hitchcock for starters.

Only a person compeltely uneducated in film would describe Eastwood's elegiac masterpiece as 'junk'. Slumdog Millionaire is an embarrassment.

When I went to watch Slumdog, I expected to at least be entertained. I did not bank on being thoroughly disappointed. The movie should not have even been nominated. Apart from good editing and camera work, it is flawed on so many levels. There are massive jumps of believability, the dialogue - if it weren't an Indian movie, would have been trashed to high heaven for being cheesy and trite; there is no character development at all. everyone was cliched and stereotypical ... (a typical Bollywood movie!) it was so predictable ... the Academy was really disappointing - this must be the WORSE best movie ever. It was at best a summer flick. I bet Danny Boyle is laughing all the way to the bank; it's almost like he said 'Lets make a movie about poor India and put all the things westerners would like to see even if it is far fetched .. so long as we give them something foreign enough and triumphant enough, has all the required third world sordidness ... we'll surely have a winner!;

I am Asian ... I would have welcome a best movie to be an asian-centric one ... but this, really insults our intelligence. Really, the west should stop patronizing us, and we should stop being readily gleeful to receive their praises.

I've given up on responding to the idiocy here, but this is too absurd to let pass. UNFORGIVEN is the best deconstruction ever made of the Western genre, and one of the greatest films of all time. Whoever wrote this is simply an embarrassment.

Who is the idiot writing your movie articles? "Junk like Unforgiven?" Let's forget for a moment that Slumdog Millionaire is the worst Best Picture winner since Titanic and just agree to disagree on its qualities as a motion picture, but to label Unforgiven - a true masterpiece - as junk is laughably incompetent for someone hired to write about film. I could do a hell of a lot better writing your articles for you - and I guarantee I've seen more movies than this joker. In fact, I bet I've also written and sold more screenplays than the moron you have writing for you.

What a horrible article.

Everybody else has said it all so well but, really, Tom, what in the heck is wrong with you? Even if you personally don't like UNFORGIVEN, how can you call it junk? It's obviously well-thought out, well-made, and well-loved. Much more so than SLUMDOG is. Sometimes I don't know about you...

I love how you go and claim Unforgiven to be trash as if everybody's going to agree with you, and not a single person on the comments have agreed with your statement.

Yeah, I'm in the "idiot" camp as well.

It's ridiculous to call "Unforgiven" junk! It's Eastwood's masterpiece.

It's invcredibly directed and written. Your opinion is based on what ground exactly? Your personal taste?

It's one of the best winners of all time, and to me, your opinion sounds like something I would hear from someone who understands nothing about films.

The movie UNFORGIVEN is a masterpiece and sadly the western genre has almost come to a end. It is far superior to Slumdog Millionaire which will soon be forgotten like Crash, but just like the legacy of Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven will be remembered for a long time.

Ridiculous. Disagreeing over this and that choice is one thing, and I have disagreed with GoldDerby every once in a while, but calling Unforgiven "junk" is the death knell for any credibility. I'm not even fan of the Western genre (or Clint Eastwood) but Unforgiven is a masterpiece and was an inspired Best Picture choice.

I loved Slumdog Millionaire a lot, but even I would rank Unforgiven higher.

I think GoldDerby just demoted to an awards gossip site with some nice pictures, nothing more...'s a wonder they let you do a column that has anything to do with the movies. Calling "Unforgiven" "outright junk" is ill-conceived, but calling "The Best Years of Our Lives" over-rated is just ignorant. I know that opinions are just that----the author's feelings on a given topic. But your opinion is supposed to be weighted by the supposedly great knowledge you have of "the movies", not just some uneducated musing. In addition, most of the movies you list as THEIR "top 10" AND the movies YOU mentioned as "over-rated" ("The Best Years..., "An American In Paris", "All the King's Men") above your precious "Slumdog" are ALL "old flicks" which flies in the face of what you call a "pattern" of older movies being "pushed to the bottom". I'm 43 and I consider movies from the 20's through the 60's as being "old" or "older" movies. Heck, even "The French Connection" could be considered "old" to certain age groups!
Drivel, absolute drivel.

Who are you to call unforgiven an overrated piece of Junk. Also about your percentages did you not read the formula on the bottom. It doesn't just take into account the percentage of fresh ratings. It takes into account the numbers of ratings and average ratings as well. PAY ATTENTION MORE!!!!

Well, to each his own, but "Unforgiven" is a great film. I enjoyed "Slumdog Millionaire" quite a lot, but I wouldn't put it above "Unforgiven," and I think it's kind of silly to portray this as some kind of outrage.

The dig at UNFORGIVEN is way off the mark. Unforgiven is a tremendous film, a culmination of the western genre.

This article comes across as tremendously arrogant. You simply cannot substantiate a claim that Unforgiven is "outfight junk" with a shred of rational argument.

I think if the RT formula placed The Best Years of Our Lives over Slumdog Millionaire, it's a pretty solid formula.

We all have different opinions, which is why:

1) the RT formula is a good attempt to find some enduring consensus, and
2) it's not very useful to use words like "overrated" and "junk"

Unforgiven is junk! Are you serious Unforgiven too me is one of the better Best Pictuire winners of all time. "Deserve got nothing to do with"

Why don't you actually watch unforgiven?

Umm your not qualified to fetch clint Eastwood water. You are nobody tom oneil. your opinion is meaningless. Unforgiven is great

Try doing some research before going spastic. If you go to the intro page and click "How it works" you get this:

How It Works

Each February, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents a
statuette to the film it feels embodies the finest in cinema from the previous year.
But despite all the prestige surrounding Oscar, he isn't perfect; many of the
Academy's selections through the years have sparked vigorous water cooler
debates. And every year, we take a fond (and occasionally, not-so-fond) look
back at Best Picture winners of Oscars past, as compiled by the typically strict
and rigorous standards of Tomatometer science. From the undisputed
classics (Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia) to the dubious selections
( The Broadway Melody), we’ve ranked every Best Picture winner from
Wings to Slumdog Millionaire. How many have you seen? Where do
your favorites rank? Check out RT’s Best of the Best Pictures to find out!

* Each critic from our discrete list gets one vote, all weighted equally.
* Reviews without ratings are not counted toward the results.
* Because reviews are continually added, manually and otherwise, we have a cutoff
date at which new reviews are not counted. The current cut off date is 2/22/2009.
* We use a weighted formula to account for variation in the number of reviews
per movie per year. The winners are determined by the rankings,
designated as the "adjusted score," after applying said formula:

t + ((r-a) ÷ a) if number of reviews > average number of reviews for
corresponding year.
t * (r ÷ a) if number of reviews < average number of reviews for
corresponding year
t if number of reviews = average number of reviews for
corresponding year
with "r" representing the number of rated reviews, "t" the
Tomatometer score, and "a" the average number of reviews
per movie for corresponding year

check it out:

"unforgiven" is an excellent film and i can't believe you called it junk. it is the most beautiful western i have ever watched, even above "high noon". "slumdog millionaire", while good this year, doesn't come close to the level of "unforgiven" and will not attain the timelessness of this eastwood masterpiece.

and no, i'm ok with the low rankings of "around the world.." or "cimarron". these are the junk 'd rather throw and take their oscars away from.

Unforgiven is a masterpiece.

On what alternative universe is it considered junk?

Even if you are not a fan of the film, to call it junk is delusional.

It was propelled to the Oscars by a combination of excellent reviews and solid popular support. It won both the LA Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics awards as best picture.

unforgiven is brilliant, restrained, contemplative, intelligent...basically everything the mess that is slumdog isn't. I can't believe slumdog scored as high as it did (really the 31st best picture?!)



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