Top 10 “Best Picture” Losers

Sometimes the Academy gets things wrong when giving out their awards every year, or sometimes there are just two very deserving films.  One of the reasons why I like watching the Oscars so much is because it gives me a chance to go on more extravagant movie rants to all of my friends who, quite frankly, couldn’t care less.  Over the years, there have been some controversial Best Picture winners, with some classics being snubbed for the award.  I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 films that were nominated for the award but never won (I will be making a different list for the best films that were not even nominated for the award in the first place).  I have put the movie that actually won the award in parenthesis.  Also, some of these films may have rightly lost to the actual winner, but if it is a great film then they are included in this list.  A movie didn’t have to be wrongly snubbed in order to garner a spot.  I hope you enjoy, and feel free to comment with any films you think were good enough to win the coveted gold statue.

10.  Raging Bull (Ordinary People): I don’t adore Ordinary People but I don’t hate it either. In the grand scheme of things, however, Raging Bull is one of the greatest films of all time from one of the greatest directors and would probably come as a shock to most film fanatics that it never won the coveted golden statue.

9.  Citizen Kane (How Green Was My Valley): Citizen Kane is regarded by many as one of the best and most influential films of all time. While I don’t quite rate it as high as some people do, I certainly think it was deserving of a Best Picture win. There’s a reason why everyone knows about Citizen Kane but hardly anyone talks about How Green Way My Valley I’ve never seen it, but I’ll let the public’s silence and lack of knowledge about the actual winner speak for itself.

8.  A Clockwork Orange (The French Connection): I can see why this film didn’t win Best Picture, namely because it was banned in England upon its initial release because of its content. That being said, this film is still one of the all time greats in my opinion and deserves a spot on this list even if I agree with the fact that it didn’t win best picture.


7.  Goodfellas (Dances With Wolves): How Goodfellas lost to Dances With Wolves I will never know. Goodfellas is my favorite film to come from Scorsese and comes scarily close to challenging The Godfather for the title of best gangster movie of all time.


6.  There Will be Blood (No Country for Old Men): Paul Thomas Anderson did an incredible job when crafting There Will be Blood and I think this movie will go down to be one of the best of this century. It’s a bold statement but I’ll stand by it. It is an intensive character study that just can’t be ignored and gets better with each viewing.


5.  12 Angry Men (Bridge on the River Kwai): The Bridge on the River Kwai is a fantastic film, but when looking at everything 12 Angry Men does well, there is no questioning its cemented place in cinema history.

4.  Boyhood (Birdman): I have nothing against Birdman winning and in the long run, I think not winning Best Picture will turn out to be a good thing for Boyhood. That being said, it is still an incredible feat of cinema history and deserves a place on this list despite its young age.


3.  Shawshank Redemption (Forrest Gump): People will hate me for saying this but Forrest Gump is one of the most overrated films of all time, and when compared to the brilliance that is the Shawshank Redemption, I am amazed that Shawshank didn’t win. Forrest Gump also snubbed many other great films, including Pulp Fiction, that year.

2.  Saving Private Ryan (Shakespeare in Love): Shakespeare in Love is fine, but Spielberg was at the peak of his powers in the 1990’s and Saving Private Ryan is one of his best films to date. Worse war movies have won the award, such as Platoon, when facing competition of a similar stature of Shakespeare in Love.

Honorable Mentions:

Fargo (The English Patient)

A Streetcar Named Desire (An American in Paris)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Lawrence of Arabia)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (Chariot’s of Fire)

Social Network (King’s Speech)

Pulp Fiction (Forrest Gump)

Bonnie and Clyde (In the Heat of the Night)

Chinatown (Godfather Part II)

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (A Beautiful Mind)

Star Wars (Annie Hall)

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (Midnight Cowboy)

Jaws (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

1. Apocalypse Now (Kramer vs Kramer): I don’t want to take anything away from Kramer vs Kramer because it is a great film, but for me, Apocalypse Now is the best film of all time and therefore shouldn’t have lost. I theorize that it didn’t win because The Deer Hunter won the year before and the academy didn’t want to give the award to two Vietnam War films in back to back years.


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