The Super Bowl is not the only major event in February. Oh yes, everybody knows the Academy Awards are the best way to end the winter. This Hollywood event has everything from stunning actresses on the red carpet to unrehearsed drama and tears. Often the Academy Awards are better than all the movies in the world as we get a chance to laugh, cry, and dance with the world-class entertainers. What else could we ask for? I can guarantee that there are a lot of angry people each year, who feel that some movies were robbed of an Oscar.
There are a lot of cases in the Academy Awards history, when unworthy movies won the most prestigious Oscar for Best Picture, leaving some of the greatest masterpieces behind. The fact is that some movies did not deserve the Oscar for Best Picture.
15. The Hurt Locker – 2009
I don’t get it. I just don’t. The Hurt Locker is a good movie, but awarding it with an Oscar? Well, it is way too much. To be completely honest, after Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood failed to make a great war movie. I can totally agree that The Hurt Locker was sending an important message, but it was also boring at times with some unnecessary scenes.
The only funny thing about this film is that the director Kathryn Bigelow reigned supreme over her ex-husband James Cameron. Everyone expected Avatar to sweep the Academy Awards ceremony, but it just didn’t happen. While everyone’s attention was on these films, a third film should have won. I am talking about Inglourious Basterds. It is easily one of the best movies by Quentin Tarantino. I cannot understand why Academy hates Quentin so much.
14. Rocky – 1976
I watched Rocky for the first time when I was a kid. It totally blew my mind, and I am a huge fan of this series. Whenever I need to get motivated, I know that I can turn to Rocky. That soundtrack was amazing, and the script was well-written. However, there should be something extra in a movie for it to win an Oscar for Best Picture. And Taxi Driver had that something in it.
It is a masterpiece created by the unity of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. It talks about the eternal questions of the humankind in the most artistic way that one could imagine. Martin Scorsese and the whole team of producers were robbed in 1976. So, I am not mad about the success of Rocky, but Taxi Driver deserved it.
13. The King’s Speech – 2010
Is it a great movie? Without a doubt. Is it a masterpiece? Not so much. It has been seven years since The King’s Speech was released, and everybody has forgotten about it already. Most of the people wouldn’t even remember this movie if you asked them. Yes, it was executed perfectly by the crew, including superb acting of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, but it lacked something. In my opinion, the movie was just too basic.
Which movie should have won then? Darren Aronofsky directed the film, Black Swan, that year. Do you remember Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis were fighting to become the greatest ballerina ever? That was simply unforgettable. Inception was also made that year. We are still discussing the ending of Inception after all those years. What does that tell us?
12. American Beauty – 1999
The last Academy Awards of the 20th century had some surprises. No one could argue about the legitimacy of Kevin Spacey’s Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. As usual, he was spectacular in American Beauty. However, would the movie itself be that good if Spacey was not present? I have some serious doubts. Of course, there are some extravagant scenes such as the one with nude Mena Suvari covered only with rose petals. Was it a brilliant scene which will never get outdated?
I cannot argue with that. However, I can tell you that there were some other movies that year, which should have won. Does the phrase “I see dead people” ring a bell? The Sixth Sense came out in 1999. I find it hard to believe The Academy chose American Beauty over The Sixth Sense. To rest my case, I will just say – The Green Mile was also more worthy of winning an Oscar for Best Picture. That movie can still make a grown man cry.
11. Forrest Gump – 1994
I know that it is pretty outrageous to say that a movie like Forrest Gump did not deserve an Oscar for Best Picture. Yes, I agree that it is a magical movie, which will be watched by many generations to come. And you might not find a bigger fan of the legendary line by Tom Hanks “Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
That said, we had some other massive contenders that year, and you can tell me whatever you want, but both Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption were more worthy of an Oscar for Best Picture. Do you need any proof? Well, The Shawshank Redemption is still the number one movie on IMDB Top 250 list, while Pulp Fiction ranks seventh. Forrest Gump definitely belongs on the list of the timeless movies, but it should not belong on the list of Best Picture winners.
10. The French Connection VS A Clockwork Orange – 1971
If I asked you now which movie was a better one, what would you say? I have this strange feeling that the majority of readers didn’t even know that The French Connection is actually a movie. And don’t get fooled, The French Connection is a really great and interesting movie which was big at the time. However, it is now very outdated, while A Clockwork Orange is only getting better each year.
All those problems discussed in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece remain just as relevant as it used to be, and it breaks my heart to see that it was robbed at the Academy Awards in 1971. Of course, it must have been hard to tell 40 years ago which movie will last better, but we know now. Alex from A Clockwork Orange is one of the most influential fictional characters created in the 20th century, which depicts all the problems of our society perfectly.
9. Argo – 2012
Argo is a decent movie, and I am happy for Ben Affleck and all the success that he received. Ben should really consider spending more time behind the camera, because he is a talented director, and… he sucks at acting. No one will ever argue with the fact that Argo was a brilliantly directed piece, but we already covered this topic when talking about The Hurt Locker. There are so many good movies each year, and depicting relevant events of that time should not be enough. Which movie deserved to win then? Django Unchained. It was just another masterpiece of Quentin Tarantino, which got totally rejected by the Academy. I understand that Django Unchained is not for everyone, and might be a little pretentious at times, but the world still talks about this movie, while Argo is buried somewhere deep in the archives. Who would have thought that it will only take five years for this to happen?
8. Ordinary People – 1980
Ordinary People is one of those perfect examples of good timing. This movie came out in 1980 when people were craving melodrama as a small kid craves candy. So, Robert Redford signed some top-notch actors and made a truly powerful melodrama. And one would be foolish to say that the movie is not good, but oh boy, it has nothing compared to Raging Bull. I told previously that the Academy is not very friendly towards Quentin Tarantino, but there is one more man who is getting robbed almost every single time that he directs a movie – Martin Scorsese. You can look at Raging Bull from any angle, and it will still remain a flawless masterpiece. The directing was superb, Robert De Niro acted as if he was born a boxer, Thelma Schoonmaker did some outstanding job at editing, and Paul Schrader wrote a time lasting story. If Rocky won an Oscar, Raging Bull should have won at least five.
7. Crash – 2005
It sounds harsh, but Crash is the worst movie to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture. It was sending a very powerful message, but it got lost somewhere in the mediocrity of the movie. The only positive thing about Crash was the fact that Paul Haggis managed to lure in all the best actors. If it wasn’t for the acting, this movie would have been forgotten before it even came out. It might look like 2005 was just an awful year, and the Academy chose the best of the worst, but it is not the case. Ang Lee directed Brokeback Mountain that same year. How did Brokeback Mountain lose the Oscar race? A lot of people think that it was too controversial for a Best Picture Oscar in 2005. Let me put it this way – you can think whatever you want about homosexuality, but the movie remains a masterpiece. Ang Lee went ahead of time and created a drama, which will be watched by generations to come, and it is a shame that it was not awarded with an Oscar for Best Picture.
6. Dance With Wolves – 1990
Kevin Costner did an outstanding job with Dance With Wolves. You probably know that he was the leading role in this drama, but here comes some additional trivia. Kevin Costner also produced and directed the movie. So basically, Kevin made the movie from scratch. I respect such determination but Goodfellas should’ve won. Oh yes, this should have been the rightful winner of an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1990. It looks like history repeated itself after ten years. Martin Scorsese made a masterpiece once again, and once again he was robbed. I cannot imagine how pissed he must have been to find out that Goodfellas lost. We are still talking about it after 27 years, and I have no doubts that we will talk about it after 27 more. Goodfellas is easily among top 5 best crime dramas ever made alongside with The Godfather or Scarface. That is why, with all due respect to Kevin Costner, Goodfellas must have won the prize for Best Picture.
5. Shakespeare in Love – 1998
If I told you to think about a movie that has won 7 Oscars, would you think about Shakespeare in Love? I think I know your answer. I am not saying that this was a bad movie, but it was certainly not that good. Shakespeare in Love is one of those movies that you can watch one time and forget about it in a couple of weeks. It entertains in a certain way, but it is surely not a masterpiece. At least not when compared to movies like Saving Private Ryan. Oh yes, Saving Private Ryan was released in the same year. I don’t want to know why the Academy did what they did, but it will forever remain one of their biggest mistakes. Saving Private Ryan is the best war movie ever created in Hollywood. In the Academy’s defense, Saving Private Ryan won Oscars for the best cinematography, best directing, and best film editing… So how the hell it did not win an Oscar for Best Picture?
4. Chicago – 2002
Chicago was a very amusing musical with some powerful performances from Catherina Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger. It is one of the best musicals of modern day, and 13 Oscar nominations prove that. To be completely honest, I can see some similarities between Chicago and La La Land. Anyway, no matter how good was this musical, there was one better movie that year. Do you remember The Pianist? Oh yes, Roman Polanski flawlessly depicted cruelty of the World War II, but at the same time, he managed to show that hope is always alive even in the most hopeless situations. Till this day, I cannot explain how the Academy thought that Chicago was a better movie. I am only delighted that this upset did not stop The Pianist from becoming one of the best movies of this millennium. It rightfully ranks 42nd in the IMDB Top 250 and I don’t see a reason why it should not rank even higher.
3. My Fair Lady – 1964
You haven’t seen My Fair Lady, have you? There is no shame in that. It is an old movie, which was really good 50 years ago, but is completely outdated today. The only everlasting thing in that movie is Audrey Hepburn’s charisma, but is that enough to win Best Picture? My Fair Lady, which won 8 Oscars including Best Picture, has now become a ghost. And to think that the same year we had another Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Dr. Strangelove. It is one of the best comedies about the insanity of war. It does not matter which year you are living in; you can always relate with Dr. Strangelove. The line “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!” should have been enough to win an Oscar.
2. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – 2014
This is the most recent flop of the Academy. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Birdman, but I don’t think that it should have won Best Picture. Yes, Michael Keaton showed that he can (still) act, and Emma Stone was charming as always. To be completely honest, this movie depicted all the vanity of Hollywood pretty accurately, but many people still believe that Whiplash should have won the Oscar for Best Picture. If Birdman was good, Whiplash was extraordinary. Damien Chazelle did a great job directing and keeping the tension throughout the movie. I don’t even want to begin talking about how brilliant J.K. Simmons’ acting was. And on top of all this, the soundtrack of Whiplash was a real revelation. You could watch this movie with closed eyes, and still, enjoy every bit of it. Even though Birdman is a great movie, the Academy should have handed the Oscar to the producers of Whiplash.
1. The English Patient – 1996
One of the greatest mysteries of humankind is how The English Patient won 9 Oscars, including the one for Best Picture. I guess that people were really craving some good romance drama in mid-90’s, and The English Patient happened to be in the right spot at the right time. I have no other explanation. Sadly, Fargo, a masterpiece by the Coen brothers, was overshadowed by the success of The English Patient. And I still find myself living somewhere in the parallel universe, where Fargo rightfully won the Oscar for Best Picture. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who feels this way. To be completely honest, Space Jam should have won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1996. Don’t even try to tell me that you would not have wanted it to happen. Jokes aside, The English Patient is probably the most unworthy Best Picture winner of all times.