If your birthday is not in February, there are basically two days to care about, Valentine’s Day being one of them. While some may oppose the holiday focused on love, it is nevertheless a day filled with excitement, happiness, friendship, and occasionally love. With February in its final week, there is now only one day of importance left in the month: The Academy Awards ceremony.
Being a movie buff, one goal on my long running list is to watch every movie that ever won an Oscar for Best Picture. So naturally, The Academy Awards Ceremony is definitely a day I look forward to. For, literally, the entire year, my father and recount Oscar trivia and discuss if films were worthy of winning or not. And with The Oscars coming up on Feb. 24 this year, it is only fitting to share something my father and I discuss a lot of, whether it’s in the weeks leading up to the ceremony or on an October night when we’re watching The Godfather.
And so, I present unto you, the top 10 Oscar Snubs.
10. Steven Spielberg not being nominated for Best Director (Jaws, 1975)
When “Jaws” was made in 1975, it instantly became iconic in innovative filmmaking. Sure, the film may not meet the special-effect standards of younguns in 2013, but in 1975 it was impressive, really impressive. The film was just fantastic, in all aspects. So, when the Academy announced the nominees for films made in 1975, and Spielberg did not grace the list for Best Director, I think more than just Spielberg took offense. Although directors like Milos Forman for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” may have been more deserving of the Oscar for Best Director, the fact that Spielberg wasn’t even nominated is just outrageous.
9. Driving Miss Daisy winning Best Picture over anything (1989)
As a Morgan Freeman and Oscar movie lover, I had to watch “Driving Miss Daisy“. It’s a touching film about the progression of an unlikely friendship between an old woman and her African American driver. The acting was great, and the movie was good, but it winning Best Picture of the year over films like “Dead Poets Society” and “My Left Foot” is just a tad unexpected. I mean the film was good, but it was boring-good, and “Dead Poets Society” and “My Left Foot” was exciting-thought provoking-good. It shouldn’t have been a contest.
8. Fargo not winning Best Picture (1996)
At the 70th Academy Awards, “The English Patient” won big, winning nine out of their 12 nominations, including Best Picture. With the film being so successful and notorious for its love story, it was one I had to see. My dear old father, however, disliked the movie and warned me of its long, long running time and lack of excitement. Elaine Benes on Seinfeld is also famous for her deep hatred for the movie, despite everyone else’s acclaim. But I didn’t care, I’m a sucker for Oscar flicks and love stories. I would willingly give up 162 minutes of my time to watch it on Netflix. But I always made excuses to delay watching it. In the end, it just seemed too long and too boring, and I chose to trust my father and Elaine in their movie-reviewing skills. “Fargo,” on the other hand, I did watch and it was absolutely fantastic. A thriller about a car salesman who hires two convicts to kidnap his wife, so he can demand ransom money from his wealthy father-in-law is incredibly engaging, and I could not take my eyes off of my television screen for the entire 98 minutes it was running. How “Fargo” was beat out for Best Picture by “The English Patient” should be the eighth Wonder of the World if you ask me.
7. Jack Nicholson not being nominated for Best Actor (The Shining, 1980)
“The Shining” was the first Jack Nicholson movie I ever saw, and I never wanted to watch another Jack Nicholson movie ever again. Jack Nicholson’s role as a father turned psycho after living in a haunted hotel became progressively more and more terrifying to watch. Nicholson’s glares and screams were truly scary, and only enhanced the horror film. Jack Nicholson has a knack for acting, which can be seen through his three Oscars, and the fact that the Academy did not recognize him for this one is truly a shame.
6. Citizen Kane not winning Best Picture (1941)
A film about the life and legacy of a newspaper magnate, “Citizen Kane” is considered by many to be the greatest film of all time. “Citizen Kane” is the epitome of innovation at its best, praised for its cinematography, music, and narrative structure. But apparently at the 14th Academy Awards the Academy thought otherwise, and awarded Best Picture to “How Green Was My Valley“. Now, 72 years later, do people remember “Citizen Kane” as the best movie to ever be made or a film about how green someone’s valley was.
5. Al Pacino not winning for The Godfather, The Godfather Part II (1972, 1974)
“The Godfather” is such a great movie filled with great acting. Relatively unknown at the time, Al Pacino played Michael Corleone, the youngest son of mafia man Vito Corleone. Pacino received critical acclaim for his role, but ended up boycotting the 45th Academy Awards because he was insulted that he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, rather than Best Actor, despite the fact that he had more screentime than Marlon Brando who ended up winning for Best Actor (Fun Fact: Marlon Brando actually did not accept his award for Best Actor and was protesting Hollywood for their ill-treatment of Native Americans). Pacino ended up losing Best Supporting Actor to Joel Grey in “Cabaret.” But when Pacino finally received his nod for Best Actor in 1974 for “The Godfather Part II“, he lost to Art Carney in “Harry and Tonto.” The fact that Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in one of the most culturally significant sagas of all time went unrecognized is utterly absurd.
4. Alfred Hitchcock never winning an Oscar for Best Director (1941, 1945, 1946, 1955, 1961)
Alfred Hitchcock is a filmmaking mastermind. He could easily be credited with shaping the industry with his iconic films and directorial skills. Yet, he never won an Oscar for Best Director, and wasn’t even nominated for films like “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest” or “The Birds.” Hitchcock’s films are beautifully crafted and if he is able to make an 11-year-old eternally horrified of a peaceful creature like a bird, he deserves an Oscar.
3. Dances with Wolves winning over Goodfellas (1990)
Now, I’ve never seen “Dances with Wolves,” but I’ve seen “Goodfellas.” And the possibility that a 236 minutes western about an Army Lieuteniant’s encounter with Lakota Indians is better than one of the greatest gangster films of all time seems outrageous. Not only did “Goodfellas” lose out on Best Picture, but poor Martin Scorsese lost Best Director to, you guessed it, Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves.
2. Francis Ford Coppola not winning Best Director (The Godfather, 1972)
“The Godfather” went on to be the first film in one of the most legendary sagas of all time, and the genius behind it all lost Best Director to a director of a musical. Can we all just take a moment to let the Academy know that they messed up big time there.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio never winning an Oscar
If the Academy loves to snub anyone, it’s Leonardo DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for an Oscar three times: Best Supporting Actor in 1993 for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” Best Actor in 2004 for “The Aviator,”and Best Actor in 2006 for “Blood Diamond.” Yet, Dicaprio was not even nominated for films like “This Boy’s Life,” “Titanic,” “Catch Me if You Can,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Departed,” “J. Edgar,” “Inception”, and most recently, “Django Unchained”, along with the million other movies that DiCaprio has starred in. Poor Leo has seen his film being nominated for Best Picture, but never received the call for Best Actor five times. Like I said earlier, I have a long list of life goals, and two revolve around Leonardo DiCaprio. No. 1: to live to see him win an Oscar, and No. 2: to marry him. I would just like to know that at least one of these dreams is possible.
By Jacqueline LeBlanc
Join Bearing News’ live blog about the Academy Awards Sunday night, Feb. 24 at 5:45.