The 95th Academy Awards nominations have just been released; and as with every round of nominations, some critically acclaimed films were shut out completely. One particularly surprising omission this Oscars season is the historical action film “The Woman King,” starring Viola Davis as a general in the West African kingdom of Dahomey. (Here are 25 of the Oscars’ most egregious snubs.)
Throughout the history of the Academy Awards, many remarkable films have been overlooked. To determine the greatest movies that should have won an Oscar, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on Academy Award wins, audience reviews, and critical reception. Films that have never received an Academy Award were ranked based on an index composed of average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of January 2023, weighting all ratings equally. Only non-documentary films released in 1935 or after were considered. Directorial credits are from IMDb.
Most of these films received at least one Oscar nomination – with a few receiving five or more – but a handful were not nominated at all. Some failed to garner praise after their release but have gone on to become cult classics, while others were critically well received and have remained enduring favorites that have since been added to the National Film Registry.
Click here to learn about movies so good they should have won an Oscar – but didn’t
While the films on our list run the gamut from the 1930s to the 2020s, films from the Old Hollywood era of the ‘30s through the ‘50s are particularly well represented, with classic directors Ernst Lubitsch, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Wilder, and Alfred Hitchcock each having multiple movies on the list.
Some films by respected modern directors also appear on this list. Christopher Nolan’s memorable hit thriller “Memento” failed to win an Oscar despite receiving two nominations, while Martin Scorsese’s extraordinary drama “Taxi Driver” received four nominations, including best picture, but won none. (Here are Martin Scorsese’s movies ranked worst to best.)
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