Ever year, the Academy seems to snub at least one person or film out of a no-brainer Oscar. To honor the classic films and talented artists snubbed by the Academy, our staff voted on what we felt were the worst snubs in the history of the awards show. Every cinephile has their own laundry list of Oscar snubs, and here’s ours…
The Top 10
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Best Picture/Stanley Kubrick – Best Director
In the eyes of our panel, this was the biggest Oscar robbery of all time. Hard to imagine how the Academy wasn’t blown away by this one, as we are still blown away over 40 years later. It should have nabbed the two biggest awards.
2. Vertigo – Best Picture/Jimmy Stewart – Best Actor
Vertigo is widely accepted as Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Meanwhile, Stewart’s performance as Scottie was the apex of a career that ended up in the top five in practically every greatest actors list in existence. Vertigo should have taken home both awards.
3. Citizen Kane – Uh, basically everything
Orson Welles should have won for Best Actor and Best Director. The film should have won Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, etc. The only thing it won was Best Screenplay, which it absolutely had to. It should have set the record for most Oscar wins, a record which it should still hold to this very day.
4. Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon – Best Actor
One of the greatest actors who ever lived carried what is considered the first film noir flick ever as Detective Sam Spade. The real crime in need of inspection is that the only statue Bogart got to hold for this performance was the Falcon itself.
5. Goodfellas – Best Picture/Martin Scorsese – Best Director
The voters who picked Dances with Wolves over the quintessential Scorsese film should join Henry Hill in the witness relocation picture. As much as we love The Departed, it is just wrong that film won Best Picture and this one didn’t.
6. Anette Bening, American Beauty – Best Actress
The only time losing to one person twice has been more befuddling than Benning’s two losses to Hillary Swank was when Democratic candidates lost in consecutive presidential elections to W. After all, American Beauty won Best Picture and she delivered the best performance in the film hands down.
7. Paul Newman, Cool Hand Luke and The Hustler – Best Actor
To be honest, Newman probably should have won for everything he was in. To be practical, he should have won at least for these two films, and probably The Verdict as well. That it took the stooges at the Academy all the way until The Color of Money to bestow this honor on Newman is a joke.
8. Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange – Best Actor
I think Academy members should be forced to have their eyes pried open to watch this performance over and over again, just like McDowell’s Alex was forced to in the film. That he wasn’t even nominated for perhaps the greatest performance ever in a Kubrick film is a disgrace.
9. Hoop Dreams – Best Documentary
Considering that some of our panel thought this film should have been nominated for Best Picture alongside Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction, the Best Doc snub is a real slap in the face. Raging Bull might be the greatest sports film of all time, but this is in that conversation as well as the one for best doc ever.
10. Apocalypse Now – Best Picture/Martin Sheen – Best Actor
It took 238 days to film this masterpiece. It will takes us at least that long to figure out why it didn’t win Best Picture, not to mention why Martin Sheen has never received even an Oscar nom. It should have been the big winner back in 1980.
Best of the Rest
11. King Kong – Best Picture
Not the 1976 vintage. Not 2005 either. The 1933 classic that still stands up to the test of time.
12. Faye Dunaway, Mommie Dearest – Best Actress
How one of the greatest actress ever didn’t win for her best performance confuses the bejesus out of us.
13. The Elephant Man/Raging Bull – Best Picture
Hey, Ordinary People was fantastic, but both of these films blew it out of the water.
14. Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver – Best Actor
No, Bob, the Academy was not looking at you. Guess he was just unlucky enough to battle a posthumous performance by Peter Finch (Network).
15. Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men – Best Cinematography
The most groundbreaking use of cinematography in the modern era.
16. Andy Serkis, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Best Supporting Actor
He deserved “the precious,” aka Oscar gold, for bridging The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King in this Gollum-dominated flick.
17. Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino – Best Director
Yes, Forrest Gump deserved Best Picture. But even Bob Zemeckis would likely admit that Q.T. deserved Best Director.
18. Katherine Hepburn, Bringing Up Baby – Best Actress
Hepburn was an absolute riot as a ditzy socialite opposite Cary Grant.
19. Jordan Cronenweth, Blade Runner – Best Cinematography
He shot one of the most visually stunning movies in the history of the medium and wasn’t even nominated.
20. Sidney Poitier, In the Heat of the Night – Best Supporting Actor
No offense, Rod Steiger, but the wrong fella walked away with the statue.
21. Saving Private Ryan – Best Picture
Losing to Shakespeare in Love for Best Picture in 1998? WTF!!!
22. The Wizard of Oz – Best Special Effects
This is one you probably won’t believe, but Dorothy and the gang got screwed.
23. Bill Murray, Groundhog Day – Best Actor
The performance of a lifetime from this comic genius didn’t even get a Golden Globe nom. Argh.
24. Peter Sellers, Lolita – Best Supporting Actor
Sellers never won an Oscar in his storied career. He should have for this enigmatic performance.
25. Cary Grant, The Philadelphia Story – Best Supporting Actor
The Academy botched this one so bad they later gave Grant an honorary award.
26. Charlie Kaufman, Being John Malkovich, – Best Screenplay
Possibly one of the 10 most original screenplays ever written, yet no trophy.
27. Mia Farrow, Rosemary’s Baby – Best Actress
How was she never even nominated? Either for this or The Purple Rose of Cairo? Yikes.
28. Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet – Best Supporting Actor
We start breathing all crazy like he did in the film when we think about this egregious snub.
29. John Cazale, multiple times – Best Supporting Actor
Every movie he was ever in was nominated for Best Picture. Coincidence? We think not.
30. Christopher Nolan, Memento and The Dark Knight – Best Director
How does the director of the 2000s not even get one Best Director nom? Ouch.