Skip to comments.14 Films That Should Have Won the Oscar for Best Picture But Weren’t Even Nominated
Posted on 03/01/2014 7:11:00 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Anytime youre tempted to care too much about whats going on with the Oscars, consider the list of great movies that should have won Best Picture yet werent even nominated in that category.
The landmark in special effects and fantasy captivated the imagination and heralded a new era in which anything anyone could dream up became a cinematic possibility. The closing line was so perfect that Peter Jackson couldnt resist using it again in his remake seven decades later. But Oscar was obsessed with historical sweep at the time, and gave its top award to the generational family saga Cavalcade.
Sure, it won an honorary Oscar, because even the Academy couldnt ignore how Walt Disney devised a richer, more mature approach to animation that captured the shivery drama and the atavistic appeal of fairy tales. The winner was one of those noble but stiff historical pictures, The Life of Emile Zola.
This time Disney conjured up a deep, dark vision even more unsettling and morally and Biblically grounded. It was to be the finest animated film he ever made. Hitchcocks Rebecca, the winner, is also a classic and perhaps the top romantic noir of the era but the little wooden boy should have won by a nose.
Like such contemporaries as Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch, Preston Sturges had a cynical take on everything that feels very modern, but in this fable of a wealthy Hollywood director (Joel McCrea) who thinks hes going to find the real America by becoming a poverty tourist (inspired by a novel called O Brother, Where Art Thou?) Sturges aimed higher and delivered a dark comedy with uncommon wisdom. The winner was instead a teary piece of wartime propaganda about plucky Brits holding up their end, Mrs. Miniver.
Bing Crosbys warm and funny Going My Way was the big hit of the year and not a terrible choice for the top Oscar, but the musical that brought Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland together is the kind of family-friendly joy bomb that can be (and should be) re-watched every holiday season.
Hollywoods intellectual inferiority complex was never more apparent than when the Academy chose starchy, stagey prestige over grand entertainment and selected Larry Oliviers Hamlet over Howard Hawks and John Waynes Red River. John Ford was said to have seen a whole new side of his frequent collaborator, saying of Wayne, I didnt know the big son of a bitch could act!
Possibly the most boneheaded move ever made by the Academy was ignoring the single greatest musical comedy ever in favor of one of the most rancid pieces of melodramatic garbage ever to even be nominated for best picture, the brainless circus melodrama The Greatest Show on Earth.
A straight-up shot of intoxicating Billy Wilder, this hilarious, wised-up comedy-mystery about a cynical POW played to perfection by William Holden was decades ahead of its time and far superior to a much soapier and more on-the-nose approach to WW II, From Here to Eternity.
Acclaimed by a recent Sight and Sound poll as the greatest film ever made, this psychosexual Hitchcock freakout was simply too bizarre for its time and cant fully be absorbed on a first viewing, so the top nod went to the colorful, cute Gigi.
By this point Billy Wilder had built up such an impressive body of work that the Academy felt like blessing his second-tier romcom The Apartment over Hitchcocks unforgettable thriller.
Brawny all-American action pictures never stand much of a chance if theyre up against costume pieces featuring lots of British accents, and so the Academy went with the now-forgotten comedy Tom Jones.
As a new generation was coming of age, the old guard resisted (the previous year, Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate lost to the mediocre police and race drama In the Heat of the Night). In 68, the G-rated singing orphan show Oliver! was the inexplicable big winner. From this point forward, though, Hollywood became considerably less obtuse, and the following year reversed course to give top honors to the X-rated Midnight Cowboy.
Cameron Crowes strange, enticing, big-hearted memoir is a one-of-a-kind treat, whereas Ridley Scotts Gladiator is glossy entertainment that simply put a fresh coat of paint on Spartacus.
Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielbergs Pinocchio update was mind-blowing sci-fi that was ten times as interesting as Ron Howards hokey one-twist redemption drama A Beautiful Mind.
The Passion should’ve won in 2004. It’s the best, most important film of the 21st Century. It’s just that Hollywood’s anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity that kept it from even being nominated.
No “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
I pretty much agree with the list except I haven’t seen a couple of them and “2001” was just plain awful to me.
Wilder's best film IMHO was "One, Two, Three"....Pure comedic genius, and one of the all-time great comedy performances from James Cagney.
Almost Famous???? What a drag of a movie.
OTTO E MEZZO
The Passion shouldve won in 2004. Its the best, most important film of the 21st Century. Its just that Hollywoods anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity that kept it from even being nominated.
lol. Most of Hollywood is Jewish so hardly anti-Semite. The movie was ok but Son of God is 100 percent better.
Truly cringeworthy melodrama.
A.I. was one of the most comically horrible movies ever made, like Al Gore meets L Ron Hubbard. (It also stole mercilessly from Bladerunner, but Bladerunner was such a better film, I won’t compare it.) And that’s one of only two from my middle-aged lifespan.
The Jews in Hollywood are like the Jewish leaders in the Warsaw Ghetto, sending other Jews to their deaths to keep the national SOCIALISTS from picking them.
While there are some good movies on this list, it just proves once again that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Personally, I think anybody who sat through Kubrick’s turgid “2001, etc” without falling asleep half way through should get some kind of award.
Number 14. Nope. I really wanted to like that movie. It has great special effects and interesting story, but it just didn’t do it for me. There is a reason it’s so cheap wherever you find it.
Son of God? Really? The liberally white-washed TV show being released as a movie?
Well, I know it’s not what the usual would expect, but really I thought The Haunting of Hill House, 1963, really should’ve won an Oscar.
The supposed scary or horror films have never reached it’s level, yet.
A psychological thriller is what they called it. I am still afraid to watch it, but it was wonderfully done.
Beat me to it.
Reruns of “A Snooze Odyssey” helped insomniacs for a couple decades, as it showed up ad nauseum on late night television.
I watched it with my pastor and a bunch of other members of my church. I was the only one that did not like it. As a matter of fact, it disgusted me. Watching a remake of my savior getting tortured is not only not entertaining, it is not even educational. The movie creeped me out on many levels, not least of which the concept of Christians intentionally watching their savior be tortured and killed.
I just don’t get the concept.
It came out last night so unless you went yesterday or today you cannot say a word. Sorry but until your answer you are just spouting air.
Looks like we’re in agreement on that one.
No, what was released last night was merely an abridged, santized version of what was already shown on cable. And the cable TV show was blander than stale matzah.
Oddly, the sequel was far, far better.
btw, i do like Vertigo--however, best pic? i do not think so... it is not even one of my favorite Hitchcock movies, and i am partial to it because of its being located in the Bay Area...
Preston Sturges REALLY displayed his”Depth”with”Sullivan’s Travels”!!!
2001: A Space Odyssey was a good book, but the movie was boring beyond words and didn’t make any sense unless you had read the book.
Yes that reality that Jesus was whipped, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross probably could get in the way of your fantasy world of what Christ went through so that you can have a chance at Heaven. My wife and I loved the movie so much. I am shocked by your criticism of it being uneducated, it was absolutely educational. And to complain that Jesus was tortured. I definitely think you should stay far away from the Passion of Christ because you will have a heart attack seeing what Jesus went through on that one.
You know what? You make me furious. What liberally white-washed TV show being released as a movie? Give me facts instead of nonsense.
Actually, it was FALSE accusations about the film's "anti-Semitism" that kept it from being nominated.
One, Two, Three is a great overlooked movie.
And, like Sullivan’s Travels has a non-Lefty message.
I have a very amusing memory of seeing this movie on late night TV, with commercial interruptions but still with a voice over introducer.
After one commercial he announced: Now we return to our feature: “Eins, Zwei, Drei”
2001 was not a well made movie. Interesting from a “cult” type movie perspective but certainly not Best Picture material.
And now for an opposing point of view...
2001 came out in 1968; I was in eighth grade and living in Japan. Over the next year, I went to see the movie at least 14 times, including losing the chance at a girl friend over it (I took her to the movie, then spent the remainder of the date trying to explain the movie, and that was our last date). To steal an old 7-UP ad line, 2001 was the un-movie, which is one reason why, when 2010 was made a generation later, it was much more of the traditional plot and archetypal characters that movie audiences have learned to expect. I will occasionally watch it now, but more for nostalgia than fascination, since so much of the techniques and technology in the movie is outdated.
I can’t believe that The Great Escape (1963) couldn’t win an award, especially with the performances of Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough in that film.
If I remember correctly, the book was actually written after the movie was shot.
They are nuts. Tom Jones is still one of the most spectacular films ever made. It made Albert Finney and instant star in his tour-de-force.
Except "what Jesus went through" in The Passion was NOT in the Gospel, but taken from the writings of Sister Anne Emmerich and Mary of Agreda. I still loved the film, but it is not strictly based on Scripture.
Speaking of Finney, he should have won an Oscar for "The Gathering Storm." He WAS Churchill.
A.I.? If there was an award for most ponderous third act it should win by a landslide, otherwise no.
"Agreed, "2001" was awful, except it had some good photography and music.
I can say that Special FX aren’t all that great alone by themselves. Fitting the FX into the story is the big key. Great Escape, despite being from back in 1963, is entertaining from the fact that you can see real stuntmen doing their thing, and not CG imitations of the person.
Clash of the Titans (the original) is immensely entertaining for how well Harryhausen pushed at doing claymation in the Krakken and the other mythological monsters. How they played with the lighting on Medusa in the original made her scary enough I was glad she was fake, otherwise, my bladder would empty real fast.
I would say, however, that it actually took the novel for me to appreciate the film 2001. Mostly because the novel allowed me to have somewhat of a background understanding of what was going on.
I always thought the book came first, but it didn’t.
Interesting article about it here at wikipedia.
2001: A Space Odyssey (film)
Absolutely agree on Singin’ in the Rain, because it is the greatest of all time, period. Meet Me in St. Louis is also a great musical, a great movie.
Disagree on Pinocchio, although can’t say if it was the best that year. As I recall it was not really a big hit, rather a flop. I managed to see something of it again a while ago, and bottom line it is too long. Or at least the different segments are too long, or in some cases unnecessary.
2001 is a snooze fest I still can’t get through.
I wouldn’t mind seeing him suffer if I also saw his ministry time with his disciples after he had risen from the dead, when he ate with them, or when they walked with him on the road to Emmaus. The short scene of him getting up from the tomb was just not satisfactory enough to me. The whole rising from the dead was a big fulfilling purpose of all that he had to go through, not the other way around. If anything, that’s why I enjoyed another Jesus film, which I am trying to recall, in which there was some blood shown, but it did have him risen and talking to his disciples afterwards, it also showed Satan as a mobster, and showed him having visions of WWII. Now, if someone could just gladly help me figure exactly what that film was I would so gladly get a hold of a copy for keeps...
I think it’s just The Haunting.
Still haven’t seen it. And my husband wouldn’t want to. Ghosts make him uncomfortable.
I like “2001”. Deep, dark, slow moving, and trippy. And I like how it overlays the 1960s onto the future. I want hot space stewardesses to bring me my meals.
The book and movie were actually done concurrently, with some script changes, but not all, included in the book.
I loved it! Stalag 17 was a great movie!