1. 12 Angry Men (1957)
> Directed by: Sidney Lumet
> Starring: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam
> IMDb rating: 8.9/10
> Oscar nominations: 3
Most of Sidney Lumet’s drama about 12 jurors battling over the guilt or innocence of a minority youth charged with murder takes place in one room but is no less riveting, showcasing America’s racial attitudes of the 1950s front and center. The film failed to win any awards at the 1958 Academy Awards but has lived on as a classic. The film was the first of five Best Director nominations for Lumet. For this one, he lost Best Director to David Lean who directed “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” On Rotten Tomatoes, the film registers a 100% Freshness rating among critics, and 97% of audiences like it.
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> Oscar nominations: 4
Stanley Kubrick’s sometimes disturbing dystopian vision earned the iconoclastic director three Oscar nominations personally, including Best Director — one of four nominations for that specific award he would receive throughout his storied career. However, William Friedkin won Best Director in 1972 for the crime drama “The French Connection.” “A Clockwork Orange” has an 87% Freshness rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 93% of audiences like the film.
3. A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
> Directed by: Daniel Petrie
> Starring: Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> Oscar nominations: 0
Based on a play by Lorraine Hansberry, “A Raisin in the Sun” looks at the struggles of an impoverished black family living on the South Side neighborhood of Chicago in the 1950s. Although films that deal with social problems are often popular at the Academy Awards, “A Raisin in the Sun” failed to receive a single nomination. It did receive two Golden Globe nominations, one for actor Sidney Poitier, who would become the first African American to win the Best Actor Oscar a few years later for his lead role in “Lilies of the Field” (1963).
4. American Hustle (2013)
> Directed by: David O. Russell
> Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper
> IMDb rating: 7.2/10
> Oscar nominations: 10
Starring Oscar-winners Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle” tells the story of a con-man who becomes involved with the FBI. The star-studded film was considered a major contender at the 2014 Academy Awards, with 10 nominations. It failed to win any, however, despite winning Best Motion Picture (comedy) at that year’s Golden Globes. The Oscar for Best Picture that year went to “12 Years a Slave.”
5. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
> Directed by: Otto Preminger
> Starring: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> Oscar nominations: 7
This courtroom drama is admired by critics and audiences alike, with a 100% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 91%. The movie received seven Oscar nominations in 1960, including Best Picture and acting nominations for James Stewart, Arthur O’Connell, and George C. Scott. The movie, which has since been inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry, did not win any Oscars and lost Best Picture to historical epic “Ben-Hur.”
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