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The Best Performances in the Worst Oscar Bait

Many of this year's Oscar acting nominees are notable for the giant chasm that yawns between the brilliance of their performances and the failures of the movies they're in. Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn, Max Von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: The reaction seems to be, "You have got to see this performance — and if you can do it without seeing the movie itself, even better!" This kind of disconnect is historically common in Oscar bait, and there’s a special kind of pathos to seeing a truly great performance undone not just by a bad movie, but by a bad movie that is so exhaustingly striving — and spectacularly failing — to hit that awards-yielding sweet spot. The phenomenon has become an awards season tradition unto itself, so, in its honor, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of our favorite performances from bad Oscar bait films of the past.