Re: TIME Magazine's Ten Biggest Oscar Nomination Snubs
Even though it was published exactly two weeks ago, I recently ran across an article by TIME Magazine where writer Richard Corliss picked the ten biggest Oscar nomination snubs ever. And they read as follows:
- ACTOR: Fred Astaire, "Top Hat" (1935)
- ACTOR: Cary Grant, "His Girl Friday" (1940)
- ACTOR: Bill Murray, "Groundhoug Day" (1993)
- ACTRESS: Barbara Stanwyck, "The Lady Eve" (1941)
- DIRECTOR: John Ford, "The Searchers" (1956)
- DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, "Taxi Driver" (1976)
- DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg, "Jaws" (1975)
- BEST PICTURE: "King Kong" (1933)
- BEST PICTURE: "Some Like It Hot" (1959)
- BEST PICTURE: "The Dark Knight" (2008)
All in all, I think it's a pretty good list of snubs that never should have been. Nevertheless, after going over Corliss' list, I couldn't help but start to think of other wrongfully overlooked movies, actors and filmmakers. Some things I can't believe Corliss failed to mention, others he actually included in his selection.
In any case, here are my picks for the ten biggest nomination snubs in Oscar history. . .
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952 - Best Picture)
-if you're talking about major Academy Award snubs, I don't know how Singin' in the Rain doesn't immediately pop in your head. Widely touted as the greatest movie musical of all time (and I don't think I'd argue with that), Gene Kelly's witty and funny film faired poorly at the Oscars, only getting 2 nominations: Supporting Actress (Jean Hagen) and Music Score (Lennie Hayton). It should have scored mentions in other categories, like Art Direction and Costume Design (aren't those supposed to be automatic with musicals?), and maybe Sound Mixing. But the biggest mistake of all was the fact that this missed out on a nomination for Best Picture. Does anybody actually think 1952's eventual winner The Greatest Show on Earth was a better film? Does anyone even remember that one?
SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959 - Best Picture)
-this made Corliss' list, and it should make everybody's, because it's pretty dumb that this didn't earn a nomination for the top prize. Billy Wilder made several good films, a few of which (The Lost Weekend, The Apartment) won Best Picture. Nevertheless, from where I'm sitting, Some Like it Hot was definitely his best film, and when it came time for voters to honor the five best of 1959, they dropped the ball. At least it got 6 nominations, including one for Jack Lemmon and two for Wilder (for directing and co-writing the screenplay).
PSYCHO (1960 - Best Picture)
-Alfred Hitchcock's best movie received 4 Academy Award nominations: Director (Hitchcock), Supporting Actress (Janet Leigh), Cinematography and Art Direction. And yet, when it came to the Best Picture nominees, this got the shaft. While The Apartment deserved to be nominated (though Psycho was definitely a superior film), any of the other four nominees (The Alamo, Elmer Gantry, Sons and Lovers, The Sundowners) could have easily swapped spots with this film.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971 - Actor)
-I don't think he would have beaten The French Connection's Gene Hackman, and honestly, I'm not entirely sure who it is I'd toss out, but regardless, I'm having a hard time understanding why Malcolm McDowell was overlooked for his perfect portrayal of Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Despite the fact that he plays a man who rapes and assaults people for pleasure, there was something about McDowell that made you like him. That's not easy to pull off.
JAWS (1975 - Director)
-I guess Academy voters at the time figured a movie about a killer shark could pretty much direct itself. I mean, look at masterpieces like Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D, Jaws: The Revenge and Deep Blue Sea. These things work themselves out. Yeah, they don't. As the four aforementioned examples prove, if you don't have the right person behind the camera, things can get real stupid real quick. Fortunately, Oscar voters learned from this mistake and recognized Steven Spielberg six times after this incident (though they messed up again when it came to The Color Purple).
TAXI DRIVER (1976 - Director/Original Screenplay)
-not only was Taxi Driver the best-directed film from 1976 (and there were some great, great movies that year), it might be the best-directed movie from Martin Scorsese's entire career. Unlike nowadays, when every Scorsese film is three hours or close to it, this was tightly edited and came in at under two hours. While Corliss was right about including Scorsese's snub on his list, he wasn't the only person overlooked. Paul Schrader's script wasn't too shabby either.
ALIEN (1979 - Best Picture/Director/Actress)
-this has to be one of the best thrillers ever put on film. It's smart, it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time, and you can watch it over and over again with very little (if any) of the movie's appeal wearing off. There's no question that this was deserving of a Best Picture nod, especially over entertaining but lesser titles like Breaking Away and Norma Rae. Ridley Scott should have been a shoo-in for Director, and even though Sigourney Weaver would earn a Best Actress nomination for the 1986 sequel, she deserved one for this one, too.
BLADE RUNNER (1982 - Best Picture/Director/Adapted Screenplay)
-until recently, the Oscars have never been particularly kind to science fiction. They were even less kind to science fiction that was directed by Ridley Scott. Alien only scored 2 nominations (Art Direction and Visual Effects), and Blade Runner followed the exact same pattern, although it went home with nothing while Alien won for its special effects. Hard to believe today that this wasn't glorified back in the day, although I will admit that 1982 was a competitive and very good year for movies. Even so, this was arguably the best film from that year.
DO THE RIGHT THING (1989 - Best Picture/Director)
-as of today, there have only been two African-American men to receive the Oscar nomination for Best Director, and neither of them is named Spike Lee. Although he did get recognized for writing the screenplay, he missed out in two areas where his film not only should have been acknowledged, it should have won. Lee directed a better film than the uneven Born on the Fourth of July, and Do the Right Thing was undoutedbly a better overall picture than Driving Miss Daisy. At least Kim Basinger had his back when she got up to the mic.
THE DARK KNIGHT (2008 - Best Picture/Director/Adapted Screenplay)
-last but not least comes the movie you probably expected to see. But just because it's a predictable pick doesn't mean it isn't worthy. Before The Blind Side became the most unworthy film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, I put The Reader getting in over The Dark Knight as the stupidest decision Academy voters ever made. It might not be #1 anymore, but it's a very close second. And it should be. Not only was Christopher Nolan's sequel that rare breed of film to please both audience members and critics alike, it was also likely to boost those pitiful viewership numbers without the snobbish members of the academy feeling guilty. And yet, the voters blew it. They blew it big time.
More by this Author
Director Steven Spielberg plans to make a film documenting the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Who should play his wife?
On June 23rd, TIME movie critic Richard Corliss published an article detailing what he felt to be the twenty-five best animated films ever made. His piece can be read here. It's an interesting compilation. While he...
Want to know what it's like to be an extra on a Tyler Perry movie? I document my experience here.