Oscar Snubs: Best Picture

26 Feb

By Sony

As we await the winner of Best Picture this evening, LIH thought you might enjoy some Oscar trivia about those films that should have received an Oscar but didn’t.

1951 Sunset Boulevard

  • Bad timing! SB had to compete against Bette Davis’ classic “All about Eve” and despite 3 other awards lost in the category “best picture”.

1961 Psycho

  • Alfred Hitchcock and the Oscars – that’s another story! Although he was nominated 5 times as director for the most important movie award he never won. Probably his most famous work, “Psycho”, wasn’t even taken into consideration in 1961. At least Billy Wilder’s “Apartment” was a worthy winner for best picture.

1964 A Hard Day’s Night

  • Among the most incomprehensible sins of the jury is the crude disregard of the Beatles-movie “A Hard Day’s Night”. Richard Lester orchestrated the Fab Four at the height of Beatlemania. His style was trailblazing and started the MTV-pioneers off into the era of video clips decades later. The movie was nominated only in the categories of best writing/original screenplay and soundtrack and got nothing at all.

1969 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Pioneering – futuristic – visionary! Critics and movie goers went head over heels in their chorus of praises when Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece was released in 1969 – only the Academy members didn’t get bitten by the bug of general excitement. “A Space Odyssey” got the award for special effects but in the most valuable category the Oscar went to the musical “Oliver” – now completely vanished into oblivion.

1970 Easy Rider

  • Easy Rider: cult movie of a whole generation, still relevant as a contemporary document. America’s contribution to the festival in Cannes in 1969, the Oscar jurors didn’t give Dennis Hopper’s outsider drama the time of day. Only Jack Nicholson was nominated as supporting actor for his role (which happened to be his breakthrough). What made the defeat more bearable was the fact that the competition in 1970 was extremely strong. John Schlesinger’s drama “Midnight Cowboy” won best picture, among the defeated nominees also was George Roy Hill’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

1974 Chinatown

  • Roman Polanski’s homage of the classical Film Noir was nominated in 11 categories. It received only one for original screenplay. Chinatown has been acknowledged as a masterpiece for years. Jack Nicholson gave one of his best performances ever, but in 1974 another movie was offered to the jurors and they couldn’t deny it: “The Godfather II” won the awards for best picture, best director and 4 more Oscars.

1980 Apocalypse Now

  • Francis Ford Coppola’s stunning Vietnam epos hasn’t lost any of its power until today and still is the war movie all other films of this genre have to compete with. But in 1980 the eligible voters considered this topic too hot – they decided to honor the divorce drama “Kramer vs. Kramer”.

1981 Raging Bull

  • Until “Departed” was awarded as best picture in 2007, Martin Scorcese nearly had lost all hope that the Academy would ever take his work into account.  After “Taxi Driver” lost against “Rocky” in 1977, his next big disappointment followed: Scorsese’s masterful drama “Raging Bull” (1981) faltered in the category of best picture against “Ordinary People”. OP was Robert Redford’s debut as a director, nowadays only known to insiders.

1995 Pulp Fiction

  • With “Pulp Fiction” Quentin Tarantino crashed all boundaries of moviemaking with his  stylistic and narrative appliance. For the venerable Academy this stroke of genius perhaps was a bit too modern – the jurors decided in favor of the harmless blockbuster “Forrest Gump”.

2006 Brokeback Mountain

  • In 2006 there were severe arguments in the feuilletons about sense and nonsense of the Oscar decisions when Ang Lee’s taboo-buster wasn’t honored as best picture, after having raked nearly every movie award worldwide. After that, a disappointed critic of the Los Angeles Times denied the Academy members any expertise at all.



13 Responses to “Oscar Snubs: Best Picture”

  1. Parisienne February 26, 2012 at 2:28 PM #


    Great Article! Out of the ones you mentioned, Psycho and Brokeback Mountain are my favorites. Why do you think the Academy snubbed these films?

    • Sony February 26, 2012 at 4:12 PM #

      Hi Parisienne,
      I’m so glad to meet you here again!
      I admit that I’ve no idea why the Academy didn’t like “Psycho”, perhaps the members found the end too scary?
      And w.r.t. “Brokeback Mountain” I can only guess: I’ve just read in a German newspaper today the following about the Academy members; 64% of the members made it into the Academy without being ever nominated themselves; the average Academy member is 62 years old, only 14 % are younger than 50; 94 % are white and 77 % male. I’m afraid that “Brokeback Mountain” wasn’t their “cup of tea”….

      • Open Book February 26, 2012 at 5:32 PM #


        Very informative!!

        How often do they recruit new members?

      • Parisienne February 27, 2012 at 1:47 AM #


        Its great to see you too! We need to chat more often. 🙂

  2. Open Book February 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM #


    Great article. Wow! I liked Psycho, Sunset Blvd. & Pulp Fiction.

  3. Comic Relief February 27, 2012 at 4:45 PM #


    Given “The Artist’s” win, it appears hollywood is a lot more receptive to retro than innovative options (like Pulp Fiction etc.).

    • Littlebells February 27, 2012 at 5:58 PM #


      I missed you last night! OB, Paris and I were very excited about TA’s win. it gave us hope that something that is not a blockbuster film, is completely outside the box, and uses unknowns (leads) to an American audience can win an Oscar! I saw it Saturday night and my husband and I loved it. And I think Jean’s 11 day tour of positive and kind PR was definitely a perk. 🙂

      • Comic Relief February 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM #

        Sorry I missed Sunday.
        Glad to hear you liked the artist, 🙂
        With all the live performance smarts I knew you would love it.

  4. Comic Relief February 27, 2012 at 4:46 PM #

    The previous statement was purely an observation; not really criticism at all.

    • Open Book February 27, 2012 at 7:00 PM #


      I have a question for u? What made Pulp Fiction Innovative to u? Do u think it borrowed or was influenced by past films of this genre stylistically? For example, production design, dialogue, editing, cinematography etc…

      P.S. Big hugs!!

      • Comic Relief February 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM #


        I believe the dialogue in regard to the script writing was innovative.

        I don’t necessarily know why but some genre’s seem to motivate innovative performances out of their producers. I miss the way noir film’s used to provoke similar kinds of creativity.

    • Open Book February 27, 2012 at 7:04 PM #


      Oh! Did u get a chance to watch the Oscars last night? If so, what did u think about the show?

      • Comic Relief February 28, 2012 at 2:10 PM #

        I thought it was favorably packed with a lot of contradictions….

        For sure, you’ll hear what I thought in Hollywood Take 2. The article is almost already written.

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