The Rundown: 10 Times The Academy Got It Wrong

Above: The Academy doesn't always get it right... Here are a few of the most memorable snubs
Above: The Academy doesn't always get it right... Here are a few of the most memorable snubs

The 87th Academy Awards take place on Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

We’ll have our predictions tomorrow and a live blog of the show on Sunday (which should be fun!), but today, it’s time to look back at all the times someone has said those magic words, “And the Oscar goes to…” and then said something that made absolutely no sense.

These are 10 of the biggest mistakes in Oscar history.

All the times Martin Scorcese got screwed

This could probably be a list unto itself given how profilic Scorsese’s career has been and how many times he’s been overlooked, but rather than roll them out individually, it made more sense to kick of this list with one big “What were you thinking?” centered on his work. In 1980, Ordinary People won Best Picture and Robert Redford won Best Director over Scorsese and Raging Bull. In 1977, he was part of a massive “Are you kidding me?” when John G. Avildsen won Best Director for Rocky over Scorcese (Taxi Driver), Sidney Lumet (Network) and Alan J. Pakula (All The President’s Men). There’s more, but you get the picture. Marty should have more trophies.

Speaking of Rocky…

It’s a great film – a classic even – but it wasn’t the Best Picture of 1976. That honour goes to Network, with Taxi Driver landing as the runner-up. Rocky would be in a dogfight with All The President’s Men for the bronze medal and seeing as this is Rocky I, he’d probably lose.

How Green Was My Valley wins Best Picture in 1941

Time has probably made this one worst, but given that Citizen Kane is considered one of the best movies ever made, it probably should have taken home the Oscar. It’s not like people didn’t recognize it was an amazing cinematic effort – it was nominated and Orson Wells was in the mix for Best Director – but the Academy decided that John Ford and his adaptation of Richard Llewellyn’s novel about the destruction of the environment in South Wales coalfields.

Speaking of iconic movies that got snubbed…

At least Citizen Kane was nominated for Best Picture. In 1969, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn’t even nominated. It now stands as one of the greatest films in the history of filmmaking, but, you know, it wasn’t good enough back then. Kubrick actually has a tortured history with the Academy, never winning a major individual award, losing the Best Director category here to Carol Reed for Oliver!

The Godfather goes 0-for-3 in Best Supporting Actor

Francis Ford Coppola losing Best Director to Bob Fosse for Cabaret is inexcusable, but what’s even more unimaginable is how one of Al Pacino, Robert Duvall or James Caan didn’t take home the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the 45th Academy Awards. Michael Corleone, Tom Hagen and Sonny Corleone are iconic characters and these three delivered career performances. Joel Grey took home the statue for singing some old Broadway numbers in Cabaret instead.

1984 Best Picture and Best Director

Richard Attenborough took home Best Director and his film, Gandhi, took home Best Picture. It’s a fine film, but nothing about it is special; same goes for Attenborough’s work behind the camera. What makes it worse are the tandems it beat out: Steven Spielberg for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Sydney Pollack for Tootsie, Sidney Lumet for The Verdict and Wolfgang Petersen for Das Boot.

“I Just Called To Say I Love You”

Stevie Wonder’s 1985 song from The Woman in Red took home the shiny gold statue. It beat out the following vastly superior songs: “Against All Odds,” “Footloose,” “Purple Rain” and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” This is all you need to know about “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Also: love that “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles is playing over that scene. Additional also: go watch High Fidelity.

Shakespeare In Love? Really?

Shakespeare In Love won seven Academy Awards – SEVEN – including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. No one objects to Gwyneth or Dame Judi Dench taking home trophies, but the film as a whole shouldn’t have won Best Picture. Harrison Ford knew it when he opened the envelope and read the title aloud. It should have said Saving Private Ryan, but somehow, it said Shakespeare in Love. No one is still sure how or why this happened. It’s not that it’s a bad movie, it’s just not the very best movie made in 1998.

Brokeback Mountain gets robbed… Twice

Philip Seymour Hoffman was great in Capote, but he wasn’t as good as Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain. At the time, tons of people were too wrapped in up gay cowboy jokes and snickering about seeing the gay cowboy movie to notice that Ledger was masterful as Ennis Del Mar. And even though Ang Lee took home Best Director, Brokeback lost the Best Picture race to Crash, a film that hung out on the fringes of several serious issues without diving into any of them.

The Pulp Fiction fiasco

Yes, Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, but Pulp Fiction got beaten out in three major categories – Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor – by Forrest Gump. Samuel L. Jackson also lost for Best Supporting Actor, getting beaten by Martin Landau for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. This one still stings after all these years.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>