Special Report

25 of the Oscars’ Most Egregious Snubs

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

‘The Dark Knight’ never even nominated for Best Picture

Though “The Dark Knight” was shut out of the Best Picture category, it still managed to shake up Oscar history. It was the rare superhero flick that racked up big box office numbers while also impressing critics, largely thanks to Heath Ledger’s unforgettable Oscar-winning performance as The Joker. Fans wanted to see “The Dark Knight” compete for Best Picture, but the Academy, long criticized for ignoring large-budget blockbusters in favor of dour dramas, boxed it out of the category.

Just months after the controversial snub, however, the Academy announced it would expand the Best Picture category from five to 10 films — presumably to include films like “The Dark Knight” and to draw more fans to the awards show broadcast in the process.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

‘The Shining’ being nominated for nothing

“The Shining” is a historic snub for several reasons. One, Stanley Kubrick, who directed and wrote the screenplay adaptation of the horror classic, is one of the greatest filmmakers in Hollywood. But Kubrick has only one Oscar — for visual effects for the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” (which he co-wrote and directed as well).

The other flagrant snub was for Jack Nicholson. If for nothing else, “The Shining” should have gotten a nomination for Nicholson’s full-throated and iconic performance as the unhinged Jack Torrance. At the time, however, the movie did not get many positive reviews by critics.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

‘Vertigo’ not being nominated in a prestigious category

Though “Vertigo” is now considered a classic, the film wasn’t a big hit and received many bad reviews when it was released. This may explain why the movie was not nominated for any prestigious awards. The movie was recognized with just two Oscar nominations — for art direction and sound. Maybe “Vertigo” got better with age as fans and critics’ appreciation of the film has grown since 1958, when it was released. In 2020, the film was at the top of British Film Institute’s all-time greatest films, displacing “Citizen Kane.”

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Greta Gerwig not being nominated for Best Director for ‘Little Women’

One of the most famous snubs of the last few years is the Academy not nominating Greta Gerwig in the category of best director for her film “Little Women.” The critically acclaimed movie was nominated for Best Picture, and Gerwig was already one of just five women ever nominated for Best Director (for “Lady Bird” only two years prior). Gerwig’s omission from the category in 2020 only reinforced the deep/wide gender inequality and bias in the movie industry.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo not being nominated for Best Director for ‘Selma’

The Academy has long faced criticism for overlooking actors and filmmakers of color. This racial divide ignited another media firestorm when “Selma,” which tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. organizing the Selma to Montgomery march for civil rights in 1965, was snubbed at the 2015 Oscars.

The “Selma” cast and crew reported that after protesting the death of Eric Garner at the hands of a police officer at their New York City premiere, members of the Academy told them they would not receive votes because of their activism. The critically acclaimed film was nominated for Best Picture, but David Oyelowo was snubbed for Best Actor, as was Ava DuVernay for Best Director. This, in addition to the Academy awarding only white male actors in the best actor category that year, led to the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign, which highlights the fact that filmmakers of color are often overlooked during awards season.

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