Top 10 Films’ Lyndon Wells teams up with the Down The Hall podcast team to talk about Oscar gongs that – perhaps – didn’t go the way they *should* have done. Here’s the top 10 Best Picture snubs…
It’s that time of year again, the awards season crescendo, the Oscars are coming, but what are the most notable Best Picture snubs?
For a Top 10 Films first, writer Lyndon Wells has teamed up with the Down The Hall podcast to compile this list. Hosts and housemates Chet & Rodney have made it their mission to help you spend less time finding and deciding what film to watch. On average, we’ll spend 115 hours each year trying to decide on a movie to watch, but the Down The Hall podcast is now here to save you time by helping you determine what movies are and aren’t worth your precious time.
In a podcast special Chet & Rodney have been joined by Top 10 Films’ Lyndon Wells to identify the top 10 biggest Oscar Best Picture snubs of all time. You can listen to the podcast here.
You can check out our finalised top 10 list below, but on the podcast we also discuss this year’s Best Picture nominations (there are other films apart from La La Land nominated!). Also on the podcast we each pick a film that we would have liked to see on this year’s Best Picture nomination list.
Top 10 Films editor Dan Stephens takes his own look at the Top 10 Films To Be Snubbed For Best Picture At The Oscars
So this top 10 list identifies the nominated films that should have won instead of the film awarded by the academy. If the list was to include films that weren’t even nominated then getting the list down to only 10 would be a Herculean task. So with that in mind we should make a couple of special mentions first.
Rodney reminded us that in 2015 the academy awarded the Best Picture Oscar to the divisive Birdman and David Fincher’s disturbing thriller Gone Girl was not even nominated. Chet also made me gasp when he recalled that the best superhero film ever made – The Dark Knight – didn’t even get nominated. As a reaction to this particular non-nomination the academy attempted to appease the disgruntled masses by announcing the Best Picture nominations list would go from five to a maximum of ten films.
As a way of compiling our top 10 we took another published list evaluating the choices and addied our own additions. If you listen to the podcast you will find from our discussions that two major themes evolved when compiling our list:
– The test of time: hindsight is a wonderful thing and with the benefit of it some choices are so obvious because the winner has drifted into obscurity whilst the worthy loser remains a popular and much discussed film today.
– The ‘Oscar friendly’ film wins. This means the Best Picture winner often fits a certain Oscar stereotype whether it be a three-hour epic like Ghandi, or a film about Hollywood like Birdman or another historical British film featuring the monarchy like Shakespeare In Love. Blockbusters are rarely considered worthy or films released outside the manufactured Oscar season (usually spanning November to December in Stateside film release scheduling).
Top 10 Films’ Dan Grant talks about 10 Times The Oscars Got It Completely Wrong
Let us know if you agree with our list of when the Oscars gave the Best Picture award to the wrong film…
10. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Lost to Crash
Crash is the most talked about Best Picture winner by film critics who feel it was the wrong choice. It’s not really talked about in terms of what it beat, more the fact it actually won. As with all the films on the list it’s not a bad film, but the exploration of racial prejudice in LA through multiple plot threads is hardly subtle and the humanist redemption flirts with fantasy. You just have to remember the fact that Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain was winning everything else in the lead up to the Oscars; this beautiful film also had a huge box office haul but the academy deemed Crash more worthy. Ang Lee mastered a subtle cowboy meets cowboy romantic epic that handled its difficult topic with a degree of finesse that Crash could only dream of.
9. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Lost to Titanic
This is an interesting one as the academy chose the populist blockbuster over the more “worthy” smaller film. Titanic is one of the the most successful films ever at the Oscars winning 11 gongs putting it joint with Ben-Hur and The Return of the King as the most decorated Oscar-winning movie. Titanic was so successful it became trendy to dislike. It’s a great true life disaster film with a melodramatic romantic centre, but is it better than the complex human tale of self-discovery and belief portrayed in Good Will Hunting? At least they got it right by awarding Robin Williams the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
8. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Lost to Shakespeare in Love
This isn’t the first war film wrongly overlooked by the Oscars on this list, but it is also not the only overlooked Spielberg film on the list. Shakespeare In Love is a great film. It is funny, quaintly British, romantic and features a monarch on screen, played by the great Dame Judi Dench (whose 10 minute performance was worthy of a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. But is Shakespeare In Love a visual game changer, doing something unique in its opening scene to be remembered for generations to come? No. Guess what, Saving Private Ryan is and it influenced the industry so much it deserved the recognition more than Shakespeare In Love which looks far more dated than you remember. The Oscars do seem to shy away from great war films but did strangely award Best Picture to the lacklustre The Hurt Locker in 2008 which as Chet pointed out has already failed the test of time.
7. Fargo (1996)
Lost to The English Patient
The English Patient ticks every Oscar stereotype you can think of: a long, dramatic, poetic exploration of loss and discovery based on a book with an incredible ensemble cast. But how many times has someone suggested to watch it again compared to the Coen brothers’ darkly comic tale that gets better with every watch. The Coen’s would eventually win the Best Picture award with No Country for Old Men (2007) but like others on this list the academy awards certain filmmakers for the wrong films as a recognition of past mistakes.
6. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Lost to Kramer vs Kramer
Many would list this Vietnam War film as the best war film ever made. Apocalypse Now remains an iconic film, a symbol of the agony of filmmaking that can produce a sprawling piece of art that amplifies the beauty and terror of the world whilst being set to the power of Wagner’s music. Kramer vs Kramer is a worthy film starring Oscar sweetheart Meryl Streep, it’s a heartbreaking portrayal of a painful life event many suffer through, but it is not as unique or enshrined in film history as Coppola’s epic.
Top 10 Films editor Dan Stephens takes a look at 11 Academy Award Best Actor Nominees Who Should Have Won The Oscar
5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Lost to Forrest Gump
This is a tough one as Forest Gump is a worthy winner and a film I very much liked when I first saw it. The Shawshank Redemption however is consistently rated the best film ever made on IMDB and not only did it not win Best Picture, it didn’t win any Oscars, losing out on all seven of its nominations. Shawshank did suffer at the box office and only really found a life on its video release which may have affected the academy’s decision. Also, I am yet to meet anyone to dislike Shawshank where as Forest Gump has plenty of detractors that find the film almost slips into parody. After rewatching it recently I still enjoyed it, but it’s no Shawshank Redemption.
4. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Lost to The King’s Speech
The academy just cannot resist British monarchy especially when it concerns Colin Firth overcoming personal adversity to triumphantly lead the country. The King’s Speech is a wonderfully made film with great performances – in particular Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Its uplifting narrative brought people to the cinema who hadn’t been for years, however it’s not the final instalment of the most perfect trilogy ever made that is simultaneously the best film of the trilogy. Yes, Best Animated Feature has its own category, but it’s not as revered and remembered as Best Picture. The academy has seen fit to only nominate three animated films for Best Picture: Beauty & The Beast, Up and Toy Story 3. Will we ever see an animated film win Best Picture?
3. E.T. (1982)
Lost to Gandhi
Ghandi, like The English Patient is an “Oscar” film, a grand epic in scale and length with a mesmerising central performance that deserves plenty of praise. But saying it is better than ET highlights the ludicrous nature of awards like the Oscars. ET is another film many more people will have seen compared to Gandhi. ET is a film locked in the social conscience as an essential coming of age milestone. Of all the films on the list this is the one I want to go away and watch again now. Just thinking of the film brings on that warm fuzzy “Spielberg-y” feeling of safety and enjoyment. Gandhi is a film you can appreciate, ET is a film you love.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
Lost to Ordinary People
Martin Scorsese would eventually win his Best Director award for The Departed (2009) but Raging Bull should have seen him win much earlier in his career. And the academy knows it. A boxer’s emotionally self-destructive journey leading to success in the ring whilst destroying his personal life still remains the ultimate film about the sport of boxing and continues to resonates with audiences today. To my shame I have never see Ordinary People, a film directed by the great Robert Redford that explores the emotional strain on a family after an accidental death. The fact I hadn’t heard of the film until compiling this list speaks volumes, whilst I have seen Raging Bull several times and it remains a film everyone recognises.
1. Citizen Kane (1941)
Lost to How Green Was My Valley
As I point out on the podcast, none of us have seen or heard of this Best Picture winner and reading the plot synopsis alone bored me. This is the ultimate test of time as Citizen Kane is still talked about by so many critics as one of the best films ever made. People who haven’t seen it still recognise the name and use the phrase “it’s no Citizen Kane” to describe a film. As Rodney says I won’t believe anyone in their 20s who tries to tell me Citizen Kane is their favourite film, but the fact it didn’t win Best Picture seems to be the biggest snub in Oscar history.
Do you agree with the list – let us know what best picture snub would you have put on the list?
Remember to check out the Down The Hall podcast back catalogue, there are some great reviews and interviews including Rob Burnett, the director of the great Netflix film The Fundamentals of Caring, talking about the movie.
Also let us know what top 10 lists you would like us to tackle on the podcast in the future, top 10 war films is looking like a popular choice.