Oscar season is that time of year that excites any movie buff. Each year we see the Academy recognize the best films, performers, directors, and cinematographers for their craft. Among the excitement of the nominations and winners, inevitably the Academy Awards snub some worthy film, actor, or director. Any cinephile remembers the actor or director who was robbed of their Oscar. This year alone I would argue that Moonrise Kingdom was overlooked for many awards (it was only nominated for Best Original Screen Play), Ben Affleck was snubbed for the Best Director (Argo) and amidst political backfire, Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant Django Unchained was overlooked for Best Director. Even Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances were left out of the Academy Award nominations.
Throughout history there have been many amazing films overlooked at The Academy Awards. The most infamous Oscar snub came in 1941 when Citizen Kane, revered today, did not win one Oscar. However, as you look throughout history there are many films that have become an important part of film history that have been slighted by the Oscars. Some years are extremely competitive, leaving some films with well-deserved wins and, at the same time, and sending other great films home empty-handed. Though Citizen Kane is a shocking Oscar snub, in 1939 Gone with the Wind swept the Oscars, leaving famous and respected films such as The Wizard of Oz and Stagecoach without an Oscar. After exploring the history of The Academy Awards, I would like highlight my top 10 Oscar Snubs.
This was a tough Oscar’s season in which Avatar and The Hurt Locker were the most talked about films of the year, but other great films—Crazy Heart and Inglorious Basterds—were also recognized at the Oscars. Unfortunately the highly publicized competing nominations for James Cameron and his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow seemed to trump some of the truly unique and special films that were produced that year. District 9, though nominated for four Oscars, walked away empty handed. District 9‘s sci-fi plot about the clash of two cultures (one alien and one human) was an interesting rumination on race relations and vastly more telling than Avatar. Moon was another interesting low budget (a meager $5 million) sci-fi film that did not receive one Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, these films failed to walk away with an Oscar. Instead The Hurt Locker walked away with six Oscars and Avatar walked away with three.
Apocalypse Now is recognized as one of the most important films of New Hollywood (post production code). Furthermore, the film garnered quite a bit of attention based on its troublesome production; production difficulties included Marlon Brando’s infamous weight gain, Martin Sheen’s heart attack, tropical disease, and extreme weather. However, Kramer vs. Kramer swept the Oscars, leaving Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now with two Oscars for Cinematography and Sound.
Blue Velvet is a disturbing tale of the darkness that lurks below an idealized small town. Lynch’s utilization of film noir style and pop culture create a truly unique and interesting film. Though Lynch was nominated for Best Director, it is a true snub that Blue Velvet did not receive a Best Picture, Writing, or even Acting nomination. Certainly Dennis Hopper’s portrayal of Frank Reynolds is the worst oversight. Hopper was nominated the same year for actor in a supporting role in Hoosiers, but his chilling portrayal of Frank clearly deserves recognition. In fact, Hopper sought out the role claiming “I’ve got to play Frank. I am Frank.”
Some Like It Hot is a screwball comedy that rivals the creativity and playfulness of It Happened One Night—the first film to win all five major Academy Award categories, which include Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Screenplay. However, Some Like It Hot was nominated for six Oscars, but only won one for Costume Design. Marilyn Monroe’s charming performance was one of many huge oversights for the Some Like It Hot. Since It Happened One Night, many comedies throughout history have been unnoticed or unrewarded by the Academy Awards, including the recent hit Bridesmaids.
Stay tuned in February for the top 5 Oscar Snubs.