Special Report

Greatest Movies That Should've Won an Oscar

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

16. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
> Directed by: Frank Capra
> Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> Oscar nominations: 5

Director Frank Capra won the Oscar for Best Director three times, for his films “It Happened One Night,” “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” and “You Can’t Take It with You.” What has become the filmmaker’s most widely seen movie, holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” did not win any Oscars. It did receive nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture, the latter of which went to World War II era drama “The Best Years of Our Lives.”

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

17. Modern Times (1936)
> Directed by: Charles Chaplin
> Starring: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman
> IMDb rating: 8.5/10
> Oscar nominations: 0

British actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin is remembered as one of the greatest figures of the silent film era. And while he won one Oscar for Best Dramatic Score for “Limelight” more than 20 years after its release, “Modern Times” — his highest rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes and arguably his greatest film — did not receive a single Oscar. Neither did “The Great Dictator” (1940) or “City Lights” (1931), though the former received five nominations.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

18. North by Northwest (1959)
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> Oscar nominations: 3

“North by Northwest,” one of the many cinematic masterpieces from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, was shut out of three Academy Awards. The movie was nominated for its Oscars the same year that “Ben-Hur” made cinematic history by winning 11 Academy Awards. That strong movie year also featured the comedy “Some Like it Hot” and the crime drama “Anatomy of a Murder.” The thriller “North by Northwest” has a 99% Freshness rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 94% rating among audiences.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

19. Out of the Past (1947)
> Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
> Starring: Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Jane Greer
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> Oscar nominations: 0

“Out of the Past” is a deftly directed crime drama by Jacques Tourneur that starred Robert Mitchum as a former private investigator whose past catches up with him. Though the film was not nominated for an Oscar, it is lauded by critics as one of the greatest examples of film noir, and critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Freshness rating of 94%, almost identical to the 92% approval from audiences. “Gentleman’s Agreement” was the big Oscar winner in 1948.

Source: Courtesy of Kingsley-International Pictures

20. Seven Samurai (1954)
> Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
> Starring: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> Oscar nominations: 2

Renowned Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s story of warriors tasked with defending a village under siege from bandits was the inspiration for “The Magnificent Seven” that came out six years later and has been analyzed by film schools for its direction and storytelling techniques. Little wonder that the film has a critics Freshness rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 97% among audiences. The 3-hour, 27-minute film, released in the United States in 1956, was nominated for Oscars for costume and art direction in 1957 but lost both.

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