There’s no shortage of controversy each year, when the Academy Awards announces nominations, and later, winners. Inevitably, a director, actor, or film that fans enjoyed loses the Oscar — or doesn’t even get a nomination in the first place. There have been numerous instances through the years of movies that are now considered cinema classics that lost out to less memorable films.
24/7 Tempo reviewed historical Academy Awards winners and losers using sources like the Internet Movie Database to create a list of 25 of the biggest Oscar snubs of all time.
Filmmaking is a subjective art, so it is difficult to declare which movie might actually be Best Picture. However, it is worth noting that movie studios spend tens of millions of dollars on encouraging voters to select their film — through billboards, direct appeals, merchandise, lavish parties, VIP events with the stars of the films, and more.
And like in election, heavily-marketed movies are therefore often favored, while those that will eventually go down as all-time classics are sometimes overlooked. For instance, classic war movies “Thin Red Line” and “Saving Private Ryan” lost the 1999 Best Picture award. Many say this was only because disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein at the time ran an aggressive campaign for his film “Shakespeare in Love.”
Much of the controversy from the Oscars in recent years also stemmed from accusations that the Academy tends to favor the contributions of men over those of women, as well as those of white artists over filmmakers of color.
Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to be nominated for Best Director in 2021 for “Nomadland,” –Zhao is just one of just seven women ever nominated for the award. Just 16 female-helmed films have been nominated for cinema’s top prize in the nearly century-long history of the Academy Awards. These are all the Best Picture nominees that have been directed by women.