By: Emily Kellas
This, friends, has proven a very difficult list to compile. In the history of film, so many brilliant films have not received the recognition they deserve. In the spirit of the Academy Awards, this list focuses on films that were not nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Most of what is to blame for this omission of brilliance lies with the Academy’s decision in 1945 to decrease the amount of nominations from ten films to five. It wasn’t until 2010 that the Academy returned to creating a list of ten best picture nominees. Another reason could potentially be the political and social aspects surrounding the year the films were released. Whatever the reason, it’s interesting to note that many of these films have since become cult classics, even ranked among some of the most influential movies of all time.
For Emily’s List – Hit the Break…
10. The Dark Knight
Possibly the most talked about and anticipated film of the 2008-2009 movie season Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Shunned by the best picture category the film was up for various other awards including Best Supporting Actor, for Heath Ledger’s chilling portrayal of the joker. The film as a whole was masterful and deserved to be recognized. I think the public wanted to see it nominated, because a majority believe that the academy awards has become a film elitist show. By usually only including films that most of the general public hasn’t seen, or have even had a chance to see, the Academy has lost a large portion of the viewing public. So I guess all I have to ask the Academy is “why so serious?”
9. The African Queen
Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart together on a doomed little boat traveling through the African waterways to stop the Germans… How was this not nominated? The African Queen since its debut has become one of Hollywood’s most revered movies but it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture in 1952. Although Humphrey Bogart did walk away with the Best Actor award, the movie as a whole was a spectacular piece of film, and deserved much more recognition than it got.
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick’s space masterpiece was sadly overlooked by the academy for the Best Picture nominations of 1969. 2001: A Space Odyssey has since become a sci-fi fan favorite, and a technically advanced film that historians study and teach. This film has influenced so many of Hollywood’s best science fiction films, that the genre owes their success *cough* George Lucas *cough* to Kubrick and his genius. It is just sad that the Academy couldn’t recognize all of its potential when it was released. They must not have seen the monolith yet…
7. O Brother Where Art Thou?
At first glance this film seems, well, down right silly. But when you actually take the time to watch it… it’s genius. A 1930’s southern journey that follows three escaped criminals through a loose adaptation of Homer’s “The Odyssey” O, Brother Where Art Thou made an impression on audiences, but when it came to awards time the film was all but snubbed. If the Academy wasn’t going to nominate it for the best film, it should have in the very least been nominated for the music. The soundtrack did more for bluegrass music, then… well anything ever in the history of bluegrass.
6. Almost Famous
The film that acted as the springboard for Kate Hudson’s acting career was the first and last good film she’s ever made, Almost Famous. Almost Famous follows a young boy whose love of 1970’s rock has led him into writing for Rolling Stone Magazine and ending up on tour with one of America’s most up and coming bands Stillwater. This film is full of great performances, great music, and a great plot, not to mention Mr. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (local Rochester celebrity) is fantastic (as usual)! With that said, it is still a mystery to this writer, and film fan why Almost Famous was omitted from the Best Picture category because honestly Gladiator… was not that great. (Yea, I said it!)
5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The first full-length feature animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs blazed a trail for all of the other animated films we have come to hold so dear. But despite its technical advances the Academy just didn’t see animation as a true cinematic art form yet. It really wasn’t until Beauty and the Beast came out that the Academy finally stood up and realized the impact these films could have not only on audience but on American film history. With that said, Walt Disney, without the help of the Academy created an empire, all because of a prince, a witch, young girl, and her little seven best friends.
4. Singin’ in the Rain
Musicals have always had a hard time trying to gain enough respect from the film community to land in the best picture category, but Singin’ in the Rain should have been the exception. Arguably the best musical of the 1940’s and 50’s Singin’ in the Rain is an impeccable film that embodies everything a spectacular musical should include. Since its release in 1952 it has quickly become one of America’s most beloved films. Not to mention it is a film, about the film industry as it follows the transition from silent to sound. The Academy certainly did not appreciate the ridiculously skilled performances of Gene Kelly, who received an honorary Oscar in 1952, and Debbie Reynolds. The musical numbers were perfect, and the plot fantastic. Perhaps the academy just can’t carry a tune therefore became jaded to this wonderful piece of film history.
3. Some Like It Hot
All right, so I might be a bit bias about this one, but come on! Some Like It Hot is one of the most highly acclaimed comedies of all time. With three Hollywood legends (Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis) this film is now an American classic, and one of the funniest films of all time. Perhaps the Academy overlooked the fan favorite because it was a slapstick, cross dressing comedy, but what they missed by doing so was some of the greatest performances in a comedy, as well as, one of the smartest, well crafted American films from the 1950’s. I could go on for days but I’ll refrain, knowing, and understanding that the film has since been celebrated and more importantly has been loved by generations of Americans, just like me.
2. Modern Times
One of the most important films in the industry’s history was completely overlooked by the Academy. Modern Times was Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece. This silent film remains funny even after 75 years, and the coming of synced sound. The last romp of Chaplin’s “little tramp” Modern Times touches on industrialization, and the growth of technology, something we are still concerned about in the present. So Academy just because you gave Chaplin an honorary Oscar in 1972 decades afterwards does not make up for the fact that you all but ignored his genius, and the masterpieces he created including, Modern Times.
This was a major American tragedy. Coming from a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan, I’m not completely sure how the Academy could even attempt to overlook all that was achieved with this cinematic masterpiece. Arguable Hitchcock’s most memorable film Psycho is a film that has frightened audiences and intrigued film scholars since its release. Plot and suspense aside the film garnered huge audiences and by all standards was a huge public and critic hit. So why on earth was it ignored in the Best Picture category? Well it could have something to do with the fact that in his decade’s long career Hitchcock and his films were only nominated a handful of times, and almost always lost, with the exception of Rebecca. Hitchcock himself was nominated 5 times for Best Director and, wait for it, he never won! So my message to the Academy is this, keep your eyes and minds open because your history suggests that you’ve missed out on some of the most well crafted films to come out of Hollywood, and the rest of us have noticed.