With the 2018 Oscars nominations being released fairly recently, there are many very happy actors, directors and producers, but also many left out in the cold. As is the nature with awards and award shows, not everyone can win or even earn a chance at winning.
While most historical nominations and winners could be deemed “the right choice,” there have been a number of times when the Academy’s decision has left much to be desired and movies or actors who many believe should have won have walked away empty-handed. With that in mind, here are the 15 biggest snubs in Oscars history.
15. ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Loses Out For Best Picture
Saving Private Ryan released in 1998 and was an instant classic. Steven Spielberg’s World War II epic is still revered twenty years later as one of the best war dramas of all time. It not only sold extremely well at the box office, but also received incredible reviews from the public and critics alike. Nominated for an outstanding 11 Oscars that year, Saving Private Ryan would go on to win several awards over the course of the evening but when it came time for the Best Picture, Spielberg’s film lost out to Shakespeare in Love, and many people were flabbergasted by the decision. Still, Saving Private Ryan has gone on to become a legendary film, but the team behind it still has to be a little upset at the snub on Oscar night.
14. Will Smith Hasn’t Won One Yet
When it comes to this generation of actors, there are few out there who are better or more talented than Will Smith. He has transitioned from being a rapper and a TV comedy actor to one of Hollywood’s greatest leading men. Not only that, but he is very bankable and his films often gross huge amounts at the box office. However, despite his large array of memorable performances, Smith has yet to win an Academy Award. He has been nominated for two (and likely deserved a couple more) but still has not registered a win. There’s still plenty of time to remedy this oversight, but if Smith doesn’t win at least one Best Actor trophy in his career, it will be a travesty.
13. ‘The Dark Knight’ Not Even Being Nominated for Best Picture
The Dark Knight was the highest grossing film of 2008 and is still regarded as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. It was also featured one of the late Heath Ledger’s final performances as the Joker, a role that would earn him a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Critics and audiences alike couldn’t stop talking about The Dark Knight that year and many thought it was a shoe-in to win for a Best Picture nomination. While it was nominated for a bunch of Oscars and won a few, The Dark Knight didn’t win Best Picture — in fact, it wasn’t even nominated! The prize ended up going to Slumdog Millionaire and at least partly in response to the controversy, the Academy expanded the pool of Best Picture nominees the next year from five to a maximum of ten.
12. Francis Ford Coppola Doesn’t Win Best Director For ‘The Godfather’
When The Godfather released in 1972, it revolutionized the film industry, especially when it came to gangster films. For a while, it was the highest-grossing movie of all time and is by many to be one of the single greatest movies of all time. While The Godfather won a number of Oscars, the film’s director, Francis Ford Coppola, didn’t win the award for Best Director, despite looking like it was all but a guarantee up to that point. Coppola was redeemed somewhat when he won the award for the sequel a couple of years later, but many are still scratching their heads about the fact he didn’t get the win for the original.
11. ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Doesn’t Win Best Picture
Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain was a groundbreaking film and while some people didn’t appreciate it, the film was showered with accolades by the time awards season rolled around that year.. Brokeback Mountain was a massive critical hit thanks in large part to incredible acting from its lead actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, and Anne Hathaway. It also proved to be a bit hit at the box office, earning $178 million worldwide on a comparatively small budget of $14 million. The film was nominated for several Oscars and was seemingly winning them left, right and center on awards night. However, when it came to the biggest award (Best Picture), the film lost out to Crash, in what many believed was the biggest snub in years. The Academy’s decision continues to be a point of contention among film buffs to this day.
10. Scorsese Not Getting a Nomination for ‘Taxi Driver’
Martin Scorsese is one of the most legendary directors of all time, with a career that has spanned over 50 years. He is incredibly influential and has directed some of the greatest films of the last half century. One of his best is Taxi Driver. Released in 1976, Taxi Driver ended up being nominated for several different Oscars, but there was one notable award it wasn’t nominated for. Despite Scorsese doing an amazing job on the film, he wasn’t even nominated for Best Director. This was a giant surprise and a huge snub as many assumed he was a shoe-in for a nomination, and might have even won it.
9. ‘E.T.’ Not Winning Best Picture, Despite Almost Everyone Feeling it Should Have
When it comes to sci-fi movies, Steven Spielberg’s E.T: The Extra Terrestrial is one of the single best of all time. Despite the fact that it cost only $10.5 million to make, it went on to shatter records at the box office, eventually becoming the highest-grossing film of all time; a record it would hold onto for over a decade. Seemingly every moviegoer and critic loved E.T. and it was a timeless tale of friendship, while also being dramatic at the same time. The film won a few Oscars, but when the winner for Best Picture was announced, it was not E.T. Gandhi ended up winning the big prize, despite that film’s own director thinking it should have gone to E.T.
8. Judy Garland Not Even Being Nominated For ‘The Wizard of Oz’
The Wizard of Oz is an absolutely legendary film and a classic in every sense of the term from the acting, to the music, to the storytelling and everything in between. Despite it releasing many decades ago, it is still revered and loved by many, largely because of it being shown on TV in the ’50s and not because of its original theatrical run in 1939. Either way, it was still a commercial and critical success. Many love the film because of Judy Garland’s performance as Dorothy, which put the then 17-year-old on the map. Many thought she was a lock to win the Best Actress race but she wasn’t even nominated, which many thought was a massive snub.
7. Cary Grant’s Lifetime Shutout at the Academy Awards
While some of you reading this might not know who Cary Grant is, you really should. Grant became a star in the 1930s and his career lasted well into the ’60s. He was well known for being an amazing actor with great comedic timing. Problem is, comedy as a genre wasn’t as respected as much as it is now (though that’s still debatable), so Grant didn’t get a lot of credit for his work. He eventually turned into a major star, but didn’t win an Oscar despite being nominated for a couple. Grant is arguably one of the best actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age and while he posthumously received an Oscar, it’s hard not to view the gesture as too little too late.
6. Jamie Foxx Not Getting a Nomination for ‘Django Unchained’
Jamie Foxx is a jack of all trades and one of the most talented people in Hollywood. He can sing, he can dance, and he can also act his butt off. No matter the role, whether it’s comedic or dramatic, Foxx never seems to disappoint. Never is this more evident than in his title role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 revenge western Django Unchained. Despite being a very intense film, it received a ton of acclaim from critics and Tarantino alike. Django Unchained grossed a ton and won its fair share of awards too. However, despite his amazing lead performance, Foxx not only didn’t win an Oscar for his role, but wasn’t even nominated, which left a lot of people confused.
5. Stanley Kubrick Never Winning Best Director
There are many amazing directors in the history of Hollywood and Stanley Kubrick is one of the best and most influential there’s ever been. Kubrick directed a wide array of films in different genres and was a major perfectionist. He always wanted to make sure every aspect of his films, from the writing to the editing, were up to par, which frequently caused a lot of tension on his sets. However, despite his many accolades, Kubrick never managed to take home the Oscar for Best Director. He had numerous chances and nominations, but it just never happened for him, despite how many people thought he should have won.
4. ‘The Shining’ Gets Snubbed Hard
When many think of the greatest horror films, their mind first goes to Stanley Kubrick’s haunting 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. At the time of its release, it had fairly mixed reviews, but over the years, people have reevaluated it and it became one of the best horror films ever. It has had a huge influence on the world and pop culture. Despite all of this, the film was never even nominated for the Best Picture at the 1980 Academy Awards. While this makes a bit of sense in retrospect (as it had mixed reviews originally), the fact that one of the best horror films of all time wasn’t even nominated is unbelievable to some people.
3. ‘Citizen Kane’ Somehow Doesn’t Win Best Picture
This is just simply mind-boggling in a million different ways. Citizen Kane was directed, produced and co-written by the legendary Orson Welles when he was just in his mid-20s. It’s considered by many film buffs to be one of the best and most legendary films of all time. A critical success right from the get-go, Citizen Kane went largely unappreciated by the public for many years due to a protracted legal battle with newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, as the film’s lead character was at least partially-based on Hearst’s life. Because of this, the film was a box office failure. Not only that, it didn’t even win the Oscar for Best Picture back when it was released. It’s crazy to think that the near-consensus best movie of all time wasn’t even an Oscar-winner for Best Picture.
2. Alfred Hitchcock Never Won Best Director
Alfred Hitchcock is a name synonymous with great film directing. He became incredibly well known over his multi-decade career and directed over 50 different feature films. He was knighted and is simply one of the most famous people in the history of Hollywood. Despite all of the amazing films he directed and his influence in the space, Hitchcock never won a Best Director Oscar. He was nominated 5 times, but could never pick up the win. He eventually did get a statue for his lifetime achievements in Hollywood, but we still cannot believe that he never took home an actual Academy Award for directing.
1. The Fact Leonardo Dicaprio Didn’t Win One Until 2016
While Leonardo Dicaprio did finally get his Oscar win in 2016, it is almost unthinkable that he didn’t win one before. He is one of the best and most successful actors of all time and you would be hard to find a better actor of his generation. He played so many different roles in so many different movies and has succeeded in basically everything he has done. For his efforts, Dicaprio was nominated for several Academy Awards, and many thought he should have been nominated for more. Despite his many nominations, he finally picked up his first win in 2016 for The Revenant, and all is right in the world.