The Top 10 Oscar Best Picture Mistakes

The Academy Awards is the most prestigious award show in the film industry. It is an acknowledgement that the work that went into this film was great and worthy of praise. However the winners and often the nominees are of great controversy. These are the top ten snubs that the academy got wrong.

10. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring & The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers not winning Best Picture (2001, 2002)

I am starting this list on a double because I consider the Lord of the Rings franchise one connected film. The Lord of the Rings are simply masterpieces of film making and are the very definition of modern classics.

The fact that The Fellowship of the Ring lost to A Beautiful Mind is a great shame. I am not taking anything away from A Beautiful mind but The Fellowship of the Ring was our first look at Tolkien’s world perfectly replicated by Peter Jackson and the amazing WETA workshop. Jackson didn’t just create a film, he created Middle Earth and it truly shows in Fellowship. Hobbiton looks like a place you would want to live, Rivendell looks regal, Moria looks dark and murky, it is all perfect. If that wasn’t enough the actors were perfectly cast, giving everything to their roles and leaving their ego’s at the door.

The Two Towers lost to Chicago in 2002, again not to take anything away from Chicago but it was another mistake by the Academy. If Fellowship introduced us to the wonderful scenery of Middle Earth then The Two Towers showed us epic battles, more races and introduced a great character in Gollum. The Two Towers is arguably the weakest of The Lord of the Rings series, however it is still a masterpiece and definitely deserved more recognition.

9. Black Swan losing to The King’s Speech (2010)

I feel that as an Englishman I should be championing The King’s Speech with my last breath, but simply it didn’t deserve its win. It was a great film don’t get me wrong, however there were better films from 2010. Black Swan being the best of the year by a significant margin. Black Swan is a great, complex film which requires the viewer’s full attention as we follow Nina, played perfectly by Natalie Portman, and her psychological breakdown.

Black Swan is the more intricate, fascinating film compared to the often bland King’s Speech yet it plays perfectly as an Oscar bait movie, which the Academy ate up giving The King’s Speech almost every award it was nominated for.

The King’s Speech, frankly, is dull. It had a good story but if everyone is honest in today’s society a film about the king of England just isn’t what the audience wants. Today’s audience wants edgy, raunchy and rough films which challenge them mentally. Black Swan was all of this and more, it was a dark, psychologically-oriented film and blew the other nominations out of the water.

8. Trainspotting not being nominated (1996)

The nominations for Best Picture in 1996 were: The English Patient (which won), Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Secrets and Lies and finally Shine.

How Trainspotting was not nominated in the place of one of the mostly average movies on that list is beyond me. Trainspotting is a great film set in Scotland following a bunch of Heroin addicts and their battle with recovery, some say that it glamorises drug use, however it simply shows that there are positive and negative aspects of being an addict. Just watch the film and you will find that out.

In my opinion Trainspotting is far superior than anything on this list as it is just a grittier, better made film with likeable, yet deplorable characters, which is hard to maintain, yet Boyle manages perfectly thanks to some stellar performances from McGregor and company.

From doing my research for this list I have come to the sad conclusion that the Academy are old men and women who do not like anything that challenges their ideas about modern society or challenges them mentally. It is ridiculous that The English Patient won when Trainspotting wasn’t even nominated.

7. Raging Bull losing to Ordinary People (1970)

Raging Bull was the film that reunited Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese which is a combination which produces great films and Raging Bull is no exception to the rule. Raging Bull is a great, well-made film with powerful performances from everyone involved. It is arguably not as good as some other Scorsese-DeNiro collaborations but it is definitely Oscar worthy and the fact that it lost to Ordinary People is a shame.

The raw emotion involved in this film alone should have been enough to secure a victory for it, however after Rocky, maybe the academy were tired of boxing films, even one made as well as this. As predictable as the academy is most of the time, they do not like to seem it.

The only other reason I can come up with is that the Academy didn’t want to give Scorsese an Oscar for every film he directs in case they seem to favour him, but honestly, if he deserves it, then give it to him, truly great films are rare at the best of times, reward hard work.

6. Scarface not being nominated (1983)

The nominations for Best Picture in 1983 were: Terms of Endearment (Which won), The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff and Tender Mercies.

Now, you can’t tell me that Scarface didn’t deserve a nomination and a win when compared to the above films. Scarface wasn’t nominated for a single Oscar and in fact it won a Razzie for Worst Director. Whether this film was received differently in 1983 than how it is regarded today I will never truly know, however watching Scarface now it is truly a great film with some great performances and is, from what I have seen so far, my favourite film of 1983.

1983 was a pretty shit year for films as far as I can tell, yet Scarface is far and away a truly great film. Probably the best film to ever win a Razzie. Let’s be honest with ourselves, everyone loves Scarface, it has a great powerhouse performance from Al Pacino, a great story, great directing and is an extremely rare case of a remake being good. Maybe the Oscars hate remakes, but in a year where most of the nominees were average at best, sometimes you just have to ask, “What the fuck Academy?”

 

5. Se7en and The Usual Suspects not nominated (1995)

The nominations for Best picture in 1995 were: Braveheart (which won), Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino and Sense and Sensibility.

The nominations show that 1995 was a great year for films with a wide variety nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, however, the fact that neither Se7en or The Usual Suspects were nominated makes me question why the Academy chose to nominate Il Postino or Sense and Sensibility over the obviously superior films.

I would have used the excuse that perhaps Se7en was too graphic for academy voters, however a few years before The Silence of the Lambs WON Best Picture. I think it was simply backstage Oscar politics which snubbed two great films.

Se7en in my opinion was the best film of 1995 and the fact that Babe (which I enjoy), Il Postino and Sense and Sensibility were nominated over it and The Usual Suspects is an injustice. As I have said before the Academy are full of old people set in their ways who, from the looks of it wouldn’t know a great film if it hit them in the face, or chopped their wife’s head off.

4. Memento and Requiem for a Dream not nominated (2000)

The nominations for Best Picture in 2000 were: Gladiator (which won); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Traffic; Chocolat and Erin Brokovich.

The fact that the Academy thought that all of the above films were better than Memento or Requiem for a Dream is unbelievable. I have said it before and I will say it again, the Academy hates Christopher Nolan. That is the only possible excuse for his films getting snubbed, as well as his excellent directing skills and script writing, he never gets rewarded.

Requiem for a Dream I can kind of understand not being nominated as a lot of Academy voters are fairly old and could have become confused at the mere premise of Requiem for a Dream. But honestly, if the Academy can’t open their minds to great films that take them out of their comfort zones then they don’t deserve the privilege to vote.

3. Goodfellas losing to Dances with Wolves (1990)

Goodfellas is an extremely well made film. What else would you expect from the pairing of Scorsese and DeNiro (yet again on this list)? Goodfellas is by far my favourite Scorsese film yet it lost to Dances with Wolves, which is good however Goodfellas is one of the best American gangster films ever made, yet it lost.

Goodfellas had a great ensemble cast, a fantastic story and an amazing director in Martin Scorsese. How it lost to Dances with Wolves I will never understand. Academy voters sure are nostalgic, which is perhaps why they voted for a western with no heart instead of a fantastic gangster film with a plethora of soul and grit.

It could be due to the fact that the Academy can’t keep giving Scorsese every award they make, but as I said earlier, that is no excuse. Goodfellas is well made, with great directing, amazing performances from the whole cast, a great script and a story that begged to be told. Quite simply, Goodfellas was robbed.

2. Harvey not being nominated (1950)

The nominations for Best Picture in 1950 were: All About Eve (which won), Born Yesterday, Father of the Bride, King Solomon’s Mines and Sunset Boulevard.

I love Harvey, it is an extremely charming story about the friendliest guy ever depicted on film, Elwood Dowd, played perfectly by James Stewart. Elwood has a best friend whom he thinks the world of, it just so happens that his best friend is a six foot invisible rabbit who interacts with him. It sounds ridiculously cheesy, however it is one of the most charming and heart-warming films I have personally seen and is the reason I adore it.

Harvey is the epitome of quirkiness at a time when quirky usually meant hamming it up (I’m looking at you Arsenic and Old Lace). Yet, there is nothing hammy about this film, it is told with love and a great sentimentality which is missing from most of these nominees.

The Academy back then must have had a heart of stone not to fall in love with Harvey. Soulless bastards.

1. Pulp Fiction & The Shawshank Redemption losing to Forrest Gump (1994)

Everyone has seen these three films, they are all great. However if I had to choose, I would say that Forrest Gump was most definitely the weakest of the bunch. How it beat the great Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption I will never know. This is by far the Academy’s greatest mistake, especially considering that The Shawshank Redemption is widely considered to be the perfect film.

Forrest Gump winning was a case of the Academy championing a film about a character with learning difficulties overcoming the odds, the Academy eats these films up, as is proven in Best Picture win for Rain Man (Which is far superior to Forrest Gump). However The Shawshank Redemption should have won, it was extremely well made, had a great story, great acting and is considered the perfect film. This is by far the Oscar’s greatest fuck up.

So in conclusion, fuck the Oscars.

By Brady Clay

Don’t forget to join the Lost in Reviews crew for the 2012 Kansas City Oscar Party! You can fill out your ballot here, and we hope to see you at The Terrace on Grand on February 26th.

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