Famous Oscar snubs

In the grand 91-year long tradition of the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, there has always been at least one category at which moviegoers and critics are shocked by a lack of nomination. Unfortunately, the final choice is not up to us as an audience, but rather to the the Academy. So with the Oscars coming up on Sunday, Feb. 9 and a DVD display about this exact topic at our Anythink Wright Farms location, it seems only fitting to look at some of the most infamous Oscar snubs.

1941 Best Motion Picture snub: Citizen Kane

This film is widely renowned as a near-perfect movie, but in 1941 it lost the Oscar to How Green Was My Valley. Orson Welles demonstrated the power of film by taking on the topic of public figures and high-profile controversies, which could be a factor in why it lost. Although it didn’t take home the award, it is still considered by many to be the perfect template of cinema.

1980 Best Actor snub: Jack Nicholson in The Shining  

Jack Nicholson wasn’t even nominated for his performance of Jack Torrence in this psychological horror classic. The lack of nomination was made even more shocking since his performance is what many claimed made the Stephen King adaptation the cult classic that it is. Dustin Hoffman ended up winning for Kramer vs. Kramer which, to most, is arguably a much less-notable and less-quotable film. 

1986 Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and 8 other category snubs: Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and The Color Purple 

Perhaps what makes this snub so upsetting is that the movie was nominated for 11 total awards and the Academy didn't give it a single one. This was a record-breaking number of nominations for a novel-turned Spielberg film that had extremely dynamic and diverse characters. It was pretty painful to watch these acresses not get recognized for their hard work.

1991 Best Director and Best Picture snub: Martin Scorsese and Goodfellas 

After losing both golden statues to Dances With Wolves, many supporters of Scorsese were shocked that he didn’t get any recognition for this film. While mobster movies were not exactly all-original, many people feel that what sets this film apart is its execution. Scorsese didn't recive an Oscar until 2007 for The Departedwhich many believe was to make up for the lack of recognition for Goodfellas.

1993 Best Actor snub: Denzel Washington in Malcolm X 

Washington was nominated for his performance, but did not get the award. Instead, Al Pacino did for his role in the film Scent of a Woman. This snub is controversial because many believe that the only reason Al Pacino won the award was to rectify the times when he was robbed of it in the past. Regardless, it is unfortunate that this award had to take away from a great performance by Denzel Washington in an historical movie.

1995 Best Motion Picture snub: Pulp Fiction

Although Pulp Fiction did win for Best Original Screenplay, it ended up losing Best Motion Picture to Forrest Gump. While Forrest Gump is a loved classic for many, others felt it was not quite as complex and compelling as Pulp Fiction. This was a famous snub that really upset fans because they felt a movie that dared to step so far out of bounds with an unapologetically not "wrapped up with a bow" ending should have taken home the title for its uniqueness.

2006 Best Motion Picture snub: Brokeback Mountain

One of the most referenced Oscar snubs of all times is Brokeback Mountain, which lost to Crash. The emotive film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal was favored to win by many because of how it changed the way love looked on the big screen. It was the first major film with LGBTQ representation up for such a prestigious award, and it is still talked about to this day as not having garnered the recognition so many felt that it deserved. 

2020 Best Actress: Lupita Nyong'o in Us 

In a dual performance, Nyong'o delivered a visually stunning and genuinely terrifying performance in Jordan Peele’s second thriller. Although horror is typically not well received by the Academy, many believed that because of the positive reception of Peele’s debut horror film Get Out , that they would give due credit to this film. Raving reviews from critics and fans alike noted that this movie was “much heavier than horror” in its themes. Unfortunately, Nyong’o didn’t even receive a nomination. 

Being that these awards have been taking place for 91 years, I am so sure that there quite a few movies that I missed. Drop a line in the comments and tell me about other famous Oscar snubs that irk you. Also, don’t forget to stop by Anythink Wright Farms and check out the display where staff have pulled their own choices for films that deserve more love then they got and a sheet for you to vote for all the categories of the 2020 Oscars.



Speaking of Jordan Peele, it might be recency bias, but I think GET OUT will go down as an all-time perplexing snub. Great list here. THE COLOR PURPLE nominations, especially, are indicative of problems Hollywood is still suffering from. I'm fascinated by the way history re-litigates The Oscars, and how often the Academy is left with retrospective egg on their face. Nice work!

I completely agree about Get Out. When I was reading up on Oscar snubs this one did come up a few times. It was most frustrating when I read an article about why some of the voters didn't pick it. Their exact words were “‘Get Out’ was a great, fun, entertaining genre film, but I don’t read as much into it as others do,'”. That was super frustrating to think about because the heavier themes are the whole point!

Great topic! I think Nyong'o's snub was the biggest of the year. I wholeheartedly agree about "Pulp Fiction" and "Goodfellas", and don't get me started on "Brokeback Mountain". Still makes me angry just thinking about it. I would add another major snub to this list: Paul Giamotti neglected to receive a Lead Actor nomination for "Sideways" in 2004, though the film nabbed Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Supporting Actor and Actress noms. He was the heart of the film. Unacceptable.

It is crazy to me how a film can be nominated for so many things and get everything but the one that it probably deserved the most, that's just as frustrating as not winning at all! Sometimes situations like that make me question why it always seems to be the same 5 or 6 movies nominated for everything in a given year. A lot of times these movies are great and deserve multiple moments of recognition but what about all the other great films eligible from the last year? Just some thoughts from someone who is REALLY upset about lack of nomination for Us compared to some of the other nominees that I don't so much agree with.