Every year, film fans love to discuss the Academy Awards and their list of nominees. There are always snubs and maybe some winners who didn’t really deserve it. We’ve seen some worthy performances and movies get left out this year like any other. Here are ten of the most egregious snubs and wrongful winners in Academy history.
The Year: 2014
The Offense: Jake Gyllenhaal is snubbed for Best Actor in Nightcrawler.
Why: Gyllenhaal has been nominated before for his work in Brokeback Mountain. But here, he completely lost himself in this role. Gyllenhaal plays Louis, a demented sociopath who films crime scenes and sells the footage to local news stations. He becomes obsessed and begins to go to any length to get his shots. This is best role of his career. Take out an undeserving, yet still fantastic Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, and you have the perfect set of nominees for 2014. Gyllenhaal will hopefully be redeemed in the future.
The Year: 2012
The Offense: Leonardo DiCaprio is snubbed for Best Supporting Actor in Django Unchained.
Why: Leo has famously never won an Oscar despite six nominations. While this may be Leo’s year, I’ll argue he should’ve won in 2012. Instead, his co-star Christoph Waltz was nominated, and won his second Oscar. Leo drifted into new territory to work with Quentin Tarantino playing a villain for the first time in his career. And, he absolutely crushed it. Leo finally got his Oscar last year, but he should’ve taken it home sooner.
The Year: 2014
The Offense: The Lego Movie isn’t nominated for Best Animated Feature
Why: Not only was The Lego Movie the best animated film of 2014, it was one the best reviewed movies of 2014. It’s snub here was outrageous. Some speculate that since it has pieces of live action in it, Academy members stayed away. I don’t think that’s the case. It is such a fun film and one of my favorite animated films of the last decade. Instead, Big Hero 6 took home the statue. This was arguably the biggest head scratcher of last years Oscars.
THE FRAUDULENT WINNER
The Year: 2010
The Offense: The Academy endorses category fraud, nominates and picks Christian Bale to win Best Supporting Actor, Andrew Garfield not nominated.
Why: First off, let me say this; Christian Bale should’ve won for The Fighter, just not in the Best Supporting Actor category. Bale got a deserved win, but snubbed in the process was Andrew Garfield’s work in The Social Network. Bale and Mark Wahlberg should’ve been considered co-leads as they share nearly equal screen time. Garfield was brilliant in The Social Network and should’ve won the award let alone at least been nominated. Category fraud is an issue, and still is, just look at this years Oscars. *Cough* Alicia Vikander *Cough*.
THE VERY, VERY UNPOPULAR OPINIONS
The Year: 1997
The Offense: Titanic Wins Best Picture over Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential
Why: I probably just opened Pandora’s Box here, but I digress. I didn’t care for Titanic. The fact it beat out two fantastic films like Good Will Hunting and even L.A. Confidential is highway robbery. Good Will Hunting is such an exceptional film filled with fantastic performances and an Oscar winning script. Even L.A. Confidential was more deserving in my opinion and my favorite Russell Crowe movie. Titanic is too melodramatic and overly long winded. The Academy should’ve gone for a more subtle, human story like Good Will Hunting. Sorry Titanic fans, the movie is a supremely undeserving Best Picture winner.
The Year: 2003
The Offense: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King wins Best Picture over Mystic River
Why: I love The Lord of the Rings. The Return of the King is far and away the best of the trilogy. But, Mystic River is the better film and should’ve been the rightful winner. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins both won oscars for their roles in the film and it is based on one of my favorite books of all time. It is such a harrowing story and really great acted drama. Phenomenally directed by Clint Eastwood, Mystic River is simply just a far superior film The Return of the King. Was I mad it won? Absolutely not. But if it’s about the best film, the best film didn’t win that year.
THE WRONGFUL WINNERS
The Year: 2005
The Offense: Crash wins best picture over literally anything else.
Why: Crash is a film that isn’t very memorable. If you asked someone if they’ve seen the film, your most likely to hear, “what?”. Literally every nominee for Best Picture that year was leaps and bounds better than Crash. My pick would’ve been Good Night, And Good Luck. However, it is hard to argue with Brokeback Mountain, Capote or Munich. All would’ve been worthy. Crash will go down as maybe the most forgettable film ever to win Best Picture.
The Year: 1994
The Offense: Forest Gump wins Best Picture over Pulp Fiction AND The Shawshank Redemption.
Why: Was 1994 the best year for Best Picture nominees? I think so. In addition to the three of the great aforementioned films, the other two nominees were the terrific films Quiz Show and Four Weddings And A Funeral. Now this may be a little biased considering Pulp Fiction and Shawshank are tied atop my list of my favorite films of all time, but either one of these two would have been rightful winners. Forrest Gump is a tremendous film, but it beat out Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece and the greatest Stephen King adaptation of all time which is just plain wrong.
The Year(s): 1990 and 1980
The Offense: Martin Scorsese loses twice in a decade for his two greatest films.
Why: Raging Bull and Goodfellas are Martin Scorsese’s crowning achievements. Both were passed on for Best Picture by Ordinary People and Dances With Wolves respectively. Now while I haven’t seen Ordinary People, I can’t imagine it is better than Scorsese’s boxing epic. Raging Bull is a film filled with raw emotion and Robert De Niro’s best performance of all time. De Niro won the Oscar but the film didn’t. Dances With Wolves is a remarkable film and one of Kevin Costner’s best. But is the lesser film to the beloved gangster picture Goodfellas. Scorsese was given his due in 2006 winning Best Director and Best Picture for The Departed. But it was 16 years too late.
THE BIGGEST BLUNDER OF ALL TIME
The Year: 1998
The Offense: Shakespeare in Love wins Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan.
Why: Shakespeare In Love is a fine film, it’s actually quite a good one. Saving Private Ryan is an American cinematic landmark. Steven Spielberg’s gritty, visceral and realistic look at World War II is the greatest war film ever made. However, Spielberg’s masterpiece was defeated by a romantic comedy for Best Picture in 1998. There never has been or never will be a war film like Saving Private Ryan. It features incredible visuals and another stellar performance from the great Tom Hanks. It won five Academy Awards, just not the one that mattered. Shakespeare In Love has cemented itself as the most unworthy Best Picture winner of all time.