The Biggest Oscar Snubs Of All Time: When The Academy Awards Got It Wrong
Early each year, the film world is taken over by an epidemic known as Oscar fever. As each year of movies and documentary film making goes by, critics assign “Oscar-buzz” to particular films and performances. Some receive Oscar buzz and are considered shoe a shoe in for Academy Award Nominations before they’ve even been seen by the public or even in many cases before they’ve even been filmed. A recent example is Daniel Day Lewis being practically penned in for an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln, in Steven Spielberg’s latest biopic “Lincoln.” Whether or not he deserves the buzz is not decided until the performance hits the big screen, and but the buzz is undeniable and filmmakers aren’t complaining as it is sure to get more viewers out of their homes and into the theaters.
Once The Academy Awards arrive each year, there is always controversy and in many cases the decisions are criticized and questioned by the masses. How could that film not win Best Picture? Her performance was undeniably brilliant, how could she lose out to her? The questions fly, and nobody will ever be happy. However, some years there are decisions that such a vast majority of viewers agree, are plain an simply, downright wrong! Here are some of the biggest Oscar snubs in film history. Feel free to suggest any you feel should make the list!
Annie Hall beats out Star Wars (50th Academy Awards in 1978)
Until Lord of the Rings: Return of the King took home Best Picture in 2004, the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres had never seen a winner in this category. Largely responsible for this is the first of my Oscar snubs, which took place during the 50th Academy Awards in 1978. Woody Allen is a great, reputable director who has seen a large number of nominations throughout the years, most recently the fantastic and charming Midnight in Paris. Annie Hall was also a great flick, funny and witty, but what George Lucas did with Star Wars was reinvent filmmaking as it was then known, and spawn one of the biggest franchises in the world. What he created was a well written, well-acted, innovative, and groundbreaking, special effects filled masterpiece and that is one of the most loved films of all time. These kinds of films don’t come around very often, and when they do they are often not awarded accordingly, as was the case in 1978.
Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan (71st Academy Awards, 1999)
When you think of modern war movies, the first to come to many people’s minds is Saving Private Ryan. Directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and a host of fantastic, fantastic actors, the film is easily one of the most realistic, gritty, emotional and immersing films of all time. Quite frankly, it is possibly the greatest war film ever made, and that is a list including such films as Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. Spielberg took home a well-deserved Best Director Award, so the film must be a lock for Best Picture, right? Wrong. It was beaten out by Ralph Fiennes and Shakespeare in Love, a good, even great film. But, Saving Private Ryan it is not. In many eyes this is quite possibly the worst Oscar snub of all time, and I think if you sit down on evening and watch these two films, you will see why.
Art Carney (Harry and Tonto) over Al Pacino in Godfather Part 2 (47th Academy Awards in 1975)
The Godfather: Part 2. Arguably the better of the first two Godfather films (a debate I had here), and possibly my favorite film of all time. Coppola’s masterpiece deserved of every single major Academy Award available to it, and it won 6. Best Picture, Best Director, a Best Supporting Actor award for De Niro. However, there was one award it did not receive, perhaps the one award that was most deserved. Al Pacino was fantastic in The Godfather, but what he did in Part 2 was undeniably more powerful. Pacino’s performance in part 2 is one of the most menacing, monstrous, and beautiful pieces of acting of all time. His on screen presence is like nothing I’ve ever seen, and his portrayal of the paranoia and power Michael Corleone is feeling can send chills down your spine. To lose out to Art Carney, (a fantastic actor, no doubt) is quite frankly inexcusable.
How Green Was my Valley over Citizen Kane (14th Academy Awards in 1941)
Citizen Kane is a film that is commonly called “the greatest film ever made,” and rightfully so. The argument can be made that no film in history has had a bigger influence on the industry than Orson Welles’ film. So many of the technical and storytelling techniques used in the film were mimicked for years to come, and modern filmmaking may not be where it is at this point without them. Not to mention a fantastic performance from Mr. Welles himself, and one of the most iconic phrases in film history “Rosebud”. The film had an epic feel about it, in story and delivery, and this is something that very few films are able to establish. Granted, the films value wasn’t established to many until years after, and for this reason it could be said that the Academy should get a reprieve. However, as the ultimate group of critics, who are supposed to be the true opinions that matter in the world of Hollywood, one would hope they would be able to see a classic when it hits them in the face.
LA Confidential loses to Titanic (70th Academy Awards in 1998)
This one may surprise a few people, but it is a personal choice that I really wanted included in this list. The reason being, I for one, believe that Titanic is wildly overrated. Sure, it is a good film, on an epic scale, which broke box office records all over the place. However, when you really break it down, it was cheesy, the acting was horrific from almost all parties involved and in all honesty it was almost laughable at times. LA Confidential on the other hand, had masterful acting from a great cast, it was gritty, dark and did “noir” better than any modern movie in recent memory. It also had surprises and twists that were truly effective and surprising. It had everything a great Oscar winning film should have. Titanic did not, plain and simple. This one will sting for a while for me.
Well there is my first list of all time Oscar snubs. Feel free to add on some of your own!