space
space
head
head head head
Home Contact RSS Feed
COMICS   •   MOVIES   •   MUSIC   •   TELEVISION   •   GAMES   •   BOOKS
Oscars Retrospective: Best Picture Losers That Should Have Won Academy Awards
space
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
space

jaws poster Oscars loser

If your favorite movie of 2014 leaves Oscar Sunday a loser, have no fear. History suggests that the Academy Award losers have just as good a chance to become all-time classics as the winners. Granted, sometimes, the Academy gives the little golden statue to the right film. No one is going to argue The Godfather (1972), Casablanca (1942), or Schindler’s List (1993). But seriously, in 20 years is ANYONE gonna remember the overrated message movie of Crash (2005) or even the more recent 21st century silent film, The Artist? I sincerely doubt it. In fact, on 2007’s American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Films (10-year edition), 14 out the top 20 were NOT Best Picture winners, some not even nominated.

So here’s a brief list of some of the greatest Academy Award Best Picture losers of all time.

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane – 1941 – Orson Welles
Lost to How Green Was My Valley

When you look at any list of the greatest films ever made, it’s not a question of “if” Citizen Kane is there, but rather is it at the #1 spot? AFI has twice listed the Orson Welles epic at the top spot. It is essential viewing for anyone interested in movies in general. The noir details the rise and fall of Hearst-esque publisher Charles Foster Kane. The film is revered for its style, screenplay, and atmosphere and has stood the test of time. How Green Was My Valley is now no more than a trivia answer: What movie beat Citizen Kane?

Citizen Kane

Lost to How Green Was My Valley

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird – 1962 – Robert Mulligan
Lost to Lawrence of Arabia

Sir Lawrence would not be denied, but To Kill a Mockingbird is a monumental achievement, staying true to Harper Lee’s classic novel detailing a southern depression-era family battling ignorance and hate without throwing punches. Gregory Peck out-dueled Lawrence himself (Peter O’Toole) for the Best Actor award and his performance as Atticus Finch remains one of the greatest in American film. TKAM is as much an important film today as it was when it came out, and its virtues of heroism through rational thought and nonviolence, as well as respect and acceptance are everlasting.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Lost to Lawrence of Arabia

Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – 1964 – Stanley Kubrick
Lost to My Fair Lady

Maybe the best director to never win a Best Director Oscar is Stanley Kubrick, whose visionary mind has produced some of the greatest and controversial films in history. My personal favorite is his Cold War comedy, Dr. Strangelove. After a rogue general issues an order to drop nukes on the Soviets, a bevy of wacky characters get together to try to prevent Armageddon. These include the President of the U.S., a gung ho General, the Russian ambassadors, and a captain left with the crazy general trying to talk him down. I could only imagine what it was like in 1964 (two years removed from the Cuban Missile Crisis) to see this film which shows the chaos and lunacy of the Cold War and knocks it on its ass as only Kubrick could. Peter Sellers plays three characters, including the delirious title doctor who seems to anticipate all out nuclear holocaust with a strange sense of glee. The 1960s were big for the musicals as 4 won Best Picture in that decade, but Dr. Strangelove remains not just a wonderful parable about war, but a hilariously funny as well.

Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Lost to My Fair Lady

Jaws

Jaws – 1975 – Steven Spielberg
Lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest swept the Oscars in 1975 becoming the second of only three films to do so along with It Happened One Night (1934), and Silence of the Lambs (1991). But 40 years later, Jaws lives in the subconscious of every human who swims in the ocean, tunes in for Shark Week, or watches the Syfy Channel. Jaws also virtually invented the concept of the summer blockbuster, generating record numbers at the box office and putting director Steven Spielberg on the path to becoming the greatest director of the modern era.

Jaws

Lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver – 1976 – Martin Scorsese
Lost to Rocky

The first of three now infamous Oscar losses by Scorsese, his disturbing vision of the seedy underbelly of mid-70s NYC through the avatar of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a borderline psychopathic cab driver who dabbles in political assassination, pornographic movies, and protecting young prostitutes. 1976 was a stacked year, as Network was also snubbed in favor of Rocky, which won America’s hearts and the Oscar. Taxi Driver remains a violent, dystopian vision of what our country could become.

Taxi Driver

Lost to Rocky

Star Wars

Star Wars – 1977 – George Lucas
Lost to Annie Hall

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars became the biggest hit of the decade and spawned 2 sequels, 3 prequels, multiple cuts and versions, and more toys that any kid could play with. Visionary special effects, iconic characters, a hair-raising score by John Williams, and a never-ending list of quotable lines, Star Wars was and still is one of the great adventure films in history. Though Lucas may have tainted his legacy with fans (we know Han shot first!), nobody can take away from the true epic he created back in 1977.

Star Wars

Lost to Annie Hall

Raging Bull

Raging Bull – 1980 – Martin Scorsese
Lost to Ordinary People

Ordinary People was Robert Redford’s directorial debut and won him and his film Oscars. It’s an excellent family drama. But Raging Bull was an epic piece of filmmaking which features possibly the greatest all-time acting performance. De Niro won his second Oscar (the other, Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather Part II in 1974) for playing Jake Lamotta, a boxer whose violent personality and titled nickname was more apparent outside the ring then inside. Like most of Scorsese’s early work, Bull was a gritty and dirty film, shot in black and white and unflinching in its depiction of Lamotta’s wrath. The film is a visceral experience and you hate the man and the actors in it when it’s over. That’s what makes it an exceptional film.

Raging Bull

Lost to Ordinary People

Reds

Reds – 1981 – Warren Beatty
Lost to Chariots of Fire

Chariots of friggin Fire… oy. Warren Beatty crafted one of the most compelling stories ever in Reds, the stories of Americans who get engulfed in the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in the late 1910s and early 20s. The film includes real interviews with the living people who are depicted in the film, interviews with the cast (as the characters they play), and a moving and harrowing narrative. The movie earned numerous Oscar nominations including the rare, one-in-every-category acting home run. Beatty would earn the Best Director statuette, but the glory was taken by the feelgood Chariots Of Fire and its annoying theme.

Reds

Lost to Chariots of Fire

Goodfellas

Goodfellas – 1990 – Martin Scorsese
Lost to Dances With Wolves

Martin Scorsese hits the “unlucky trifecta” losing AGAIN to an actor-turned-director, this time Kevin Costner. Dances With Wolves is a 3-hour historical epic and a perfectly acceptable movie, maybe even a great movie. But movies like Goodfellas are generational. Let’s put it this way: when you compare Goodfellas to the Godfathers Parts 1 – 2, you are putting it in good company. Everything was perfect about Goodfellas: the performances from Ray Liotta, De Niro, and Oscar winner Joe Pesci, who becomes one of the scariest and most insane characters put to film; the score and soundtrack including the famed “Layla” scene; and the dialogue which has been copied and imitated for 25 years now.

Goodfellas

Lost to Dances With Wolves

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction – 1994 – Quentin Tarantino
Lost to Forrest Gump

Quentin Tarantino’s magnum opus is without a doubt the most influential film of the past 20 years. The screenplay for Pulp Fiction, which did win an Oscar, and the stilted style have created its own sub-genre; movies that are combination film noir, black comedy, and crime/mob drama. Forrest Gump was everything the Academy loves — schmaltz, sappiness, historical epic-ness, a special needs hero, and Tom Hanks.

Pulp Fiction

Lost to Forrest Gump

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption – 1994 – Frank Darabont
Lost to Forrest Gump

I’m not really hating on Gump, but seriously 1994 was an epic year. Probably the most watched and re-watched film of the past two decades (thanks to cable TV) is The Shawshank Redemption, Frank Darabont‘s adaptation of Stephen King’s story of two lifers in prison with only the hope of one day escaping to get them through the years. Shawshank long held IMDB’s top spot for high-ranked film ever.

The Shawshank Redemption

Lost to Forrest Gump also….

The Pianist

The Pianist – 2002 – Roman Polanski
Lost to Chicago

Along with Moulin Rouge! (2001), Chicago helped bring the musical back to Hollywood. But Roman Polanski’s The Pianist was simply a devastating film. I remember seeing it in theaters and hearing the audible gasps as Nazis plowed their way through Poland, murdering and destroying whatever they wanted. The film won Oscars for its director and lead actor, Adrien Brody, but failed to capture the big prize. While no film can make you experience the concentration camps like Schindler’s List, few films can match the visuals and depictions of what Jews went through before the camps like The Pianist.

The Pianist

Lost to Chicago

All Non-Winning 2005 Nominees

EVERY OTHER NOMINEE IN 2005! (Brokeback Mountain, Munich, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck)
Lost to Crash!

Seriously, I have never hated a movie as quickly as I did Crash. I whispered to my friends in the theater less than 5-minutes in, “I’m not gonna like this.” Crash is what I call a “Sledgehammer movie,” as in there is a message the makers want you to get and rather than be subtle, they’ll BEAT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER for two hours. Brokeback Mountain was one of the most unique and thought-provoking love stories ever made; GNAGL was an incredible film about the power of individuals to take down oppression; Munich was a great Spielberg film detailing the true-life murders at the Munich Olympics; and Capote was a biopic featuring an Oscar-winning lead performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Crash remains one of the all-time “WTF?” picks by the Academy.

Brokeback Mountain

Munich

Good Night and Good Luck

Lost to Crash

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood – 2007 – Paul Thomas Anderson
Lost to No Country for Old Men

While No Country for Old Men was an extremely well-acted and directed film, There Will Be Blood was a tour-de-force. Daniel Day-Lewis had the Oscar won the second he stepped on set and he delivered one of the truly most amazing acting performances in recent memory en route to his second of three Best Actor awards. The film detailing the battles waged over oil and oil fields nearing the turn of the century is a haunting look at America’s history, with brutally great acting and direction. Everyone is so manipulative, especially Paul Dano as a religious leader. Like Raging Bull though, this was a film carried on the back of an epic performance.

There Will Be Blood

Lost to No Country for Old Men

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 – 2010 – Lee Unkrich – Lost to The King’s Speech

The first animated film since Beauty and the Beast in 1991 to earn a Best Picture nomination, Toy Story 3 is far from the family-friendly kids movie it disguises itself as. It’s a chilling and sad look at what it feels like to be left behind, and the trouble we have in finding acceptance. It’s also about friendship and devotion. The screenplay by Michael Arndt sends our favorite live toys to Sunnyside daycare rather than to the attic while Andy prepares for college. Lotso, the leader of the toys at Sunnyside, is warm and welcoming but it’s all a trick and what the toys endure over the 2-plus-hours run time is more comparable to horror films than children’s movies. Toy Story 3 is a mature film that covers serious themes in sometimes not-so subtle ways. It’s one of the best animated films of all time.

Toy Story 3

Lost to The King’s Speech

This is just the tip of the iceberg. So if your Sunday night ends in disappointment, take solace in knowing that in reality, it doesn’t matter which film wins the big award. The best movies will stand the test of time and live on as classics. After all, it’s not like anyone gathers to discuss How Green Was My Valley.

The 87th Academy Awards air Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 8PM (EST). Best Picture nominees are:
– Birdman
– Boyhood
– The Theory of Everything
– The Imitation Game
– Selma
– American Sniper
– The Grand Budapest Hotel
– Whiplash

Be sure to check out my picks for Best Picture as well as fellow GoD writer Three-D’s choices for that and some other Oscar categories. Also, check out the Amazon sale on past and present Oscar-nominated movies.

space
space
Previous Article
space
Next Article
«
»
space
space
space
Geeks of Doom on Instagram Follow Geeks of Doom on Tumblr space
Geeks of Doom on YouTube Geeks of Doom on Pinterest
Geeks of Doom Email Digest Geeks of Doom RSS Feed space
space
Amazon.com
space
space
space
space
space
space
The Drill Down Podcast TARDISblend Podcast Westworld Podcast
space
2520 Clothing Company
space
2019  ·   2018  ·   2017  ·   2016  ·   2015  ·   2014  ·   2013  ·   2012  ·   2011  ·   2010  ·   2009  ·   2008  ·   2007  ·   2006  ·   2005
space
Geeks of Doom is proudly powered by WordPress.

Students of the Unusual™ comic cover used with permission of 3BoysProductions
The Mercuri Bros.™ comic cover used with permission of Prodigal Son Press

Geeks of Doom is designed and maintained by our geeky webmaster
All original content copyright ©2005-2018 Geeks of Doom
All external content copyright of its respective owner, except where noted
space
Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
space
About | Privacy Policy | Contact
space