Upset that “Argo” won the Best Picture Oscar this year? Did you feel that the other nominees were more deserving? Here are a list of deserving films that were snubbed of the award.
“12 Angry Men” (1957)
Henry Fonda’s riveting adaptation of the stage play onto film easily deserved Best Picture. The plot follows 12 jurors determining the fate of a 18 year old Puerto Rican boy. This film was director Sidney Lumet’s debut and Henry Fonda’s first and only effort as a film producer. This film was beaten out by director William Wyler’s “The Best Years of Our Lives”, one of the most well-known and revered Hollywood films of the 1950s.
“Citizen Kane” (1941)
Although today it is widely known as one of the greatest films of all time, Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” was a box office bomb at the time of its release. It’s hard to believe that a film that created and defined a new style of filmmaking went by largely unnoticed by audiences until its American revival in 1956. Orson Welles’ radically different cinematography and storytelling techniques cements this film as a landmark in filmmaking. John Ford’s forgettable “How Green Was My Valley” won that year.
“Fargo”, a dark-comedy crime film, was written, produced, and directed by the Coen brothers and was both a critical and commercial success. The film was widely praised for its dialogue and Frances McDormand’s performance, but failed to win the Best Picture Oscar. The romantic-drama film “The English Patient” took home the award.
“Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)
One of the greatest political satires of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” capitalized on fears of a nuclear strikes in the 1960s. Peter Sellers’ hilarious performances as Captain Mandrake, President Muffley, and Dr. Strangelove as well as the risky screenplay which mocked the Cold War’s mutually assured destruction make this film a classic. Although the picture was nominated for four Academy Awards, it won none. In 1964, it was beaten out by “My Fair Lady”, a Broadway adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)
The highly stylized, unconventional, and influential film became a landmark for contemporary filmmaking. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, this film influenced a tidal-wave of non-linear films and stands as a homage to the Grindhouse films of the 1970s. This film lost out to the more conventional, but deserving film; Robert Zemeckis’ “Forrest Gump”.
“Taxi Driver” (1976)
Thought to be one of Martin Scorsese’s greatest films showcasing Robert de Niro’s iconic performance as Travis Bickle, “Taxi Driver” was both a critical and box office hit. Despite controversy surrounding the climactic shootout, the film still garnered high critical praise. It lost to Sylvester Stallone’s vastly inferior boxing drama “Rocky” at the Oscars. Since then, “Taxi Driver” has become an iconic portrayal of isolation.
“All the President’s Men” (1976)
Just a few years after President Nixon resigned from office, Warner Bros. released “All the President’s Men”, a political thriller about the journalists from the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who investigated the Watergate scandal. The film starred Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford and remains one of the best political films surrounding Watergate.
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950)
Directed and co-written by the legendary Billy Wilder, “Sunset Boulevard” remains today a classic film-noir and a scathing view on the reality of Hollywood. The film was controversial when it first came out, with its references to actual figures within Hollywood and inciting the anger of Louis B. Mayer, figurehead of MGM. Although the film lost out to Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ classic “All About Eve”, it still remains a haunting portrayal of “Hollywood at its worst told by Hollywood at its best.”
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)
Known to be a pinnacle film in actor James Stewart’s and director Frank Capra’s careers, “It’s a Wonderful Life” didn’t make an impact on audiences in its initial release in 1946. While today it has become a traditional viewing during the holiday season and one of the most-loved films of all time, it failed at the box-office since it was marketed as a romantic comedy rather than a Christmas film. “The Best Years of Our Lives” won in 1946.
“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” (1977)
The first film in what was to be a largely influential and genre-defining series received ten Academy Award nominations and served as a launching pad for special effects and high energy motion pictures. It influenced filmmakers like James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, and Peter Jackson. However, it was bested at the Oscars by Woody Allen’s comedy “Annie Hall.”
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
1939 was an absolute landmark year in film and the apex of Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” The Wizard of Oz was up against some crazy competition with classics like Gone with the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights, and Stagecoach. The Wizard of Oz was named one of the most-watched films in history by the Library of Congress and for many of us, it was a big part of our childhoods. David O. Selznick’s “Gone With the Wind” brought home the Oscar.