The Oscars are often lauded as the end-all be-all authority on what the year's best was in entertainment. The Golden Globes by contrast kind of acts as a litmus test for the Oscars. For the sake of novelty and difference, the two have to make different decisions for Best Film and other awards, otherwise there would be little to no point in having the two of them in parallel. Many years however, you find the Oscars making a pick that can only be described as "politically inclined". That is to say the film in question campaigned the best for its own cause, or the choice of film resonated with the social movements of the time, or in some cases the choice was made out of sheer political maneuvering.
While it's true in some sense that deciding a best film is often a matter of opinion, most of the time it's abundantly clear which film in a given year had the biggest impact, not only financially but culturally and in some cases a film has such a major impact that it literally changes the way the industry works. In those cases when you consider the Academy turning an obvious blind eye to the clear choice, it can be really puzzling. Below are a list of twelve such cases that stand out glaringly. Keep in mind there are MANY more cases where the film chosen for Best Picture was at best questionable, but this list focuses on head-scratching choices, ones where it's clear the Academy was too uptight to tell it like it is, where in fact it suggests that the Academy has to be "political" shall we say, instead of populist.
12 How Green was My Valley (Beating Citizen Kane) - 1941
11 Dances With Wolves (Instead Of Goodfellas) - 1991
10 Rocky (Instead Of Network Or Taxi Driver) - 1977
9 Ghandi (Overtaking ET The Extra Terrestrial) -1982
8 The Return of the King ( VS Lost in Translation) - 2004
7 Annie Hall (Replacing Star Wars) - 1978
6 Crash (VS Brokeback Mountain) -2006
5 Chariots Of Fire (Instead Of Raiders Of The Lost Ark) - 1982
4 Gigi (Chosen Over Vertigo) - 1959
3 Out of Africa (Rather Than Back to the Future) - 1986
2 The King's Speech (Instead Of The Social Network) - 2011
1 Forrest Gump (Over Shawshank And Pulp Fiction) - 1995
The highest rated movie on IMDb argued by some to be the best of all time, a Tarantino masterpiece, to this day a cult classic that changed cinema deeply, and the Oscar goes to the tame American propaganda film told through the eyes of someone suffering from some kind of autism. And don't give me that speech about how hot Tom Hanks was at the time either, Forrest Gump is cute and whimsically philosophical, but ultimately a sob story. The other two films reach higher, further, aspire to greatness and achieve it in many respects. It's choices like this that solidify the image of the Academy as a corrupt bunch of people who want to push an agenda that is tame and neutered.
Sources: imdb.com, oscars.org
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