7 Beloved Movies Snubbed by the Oscars

It’s Oscar season again and with the buzz surrounding the Academy Awards (both good and bad), much has been made of who will be honored for their achievements in film. And while awards for acting, directing, and the many elements that are part of the filmmaking process are designed to honor the best in the industry, the truth is that there are countless movies held in high regard that were overlooked by the Academy Awards.

Why do so many excellent films get snubbed by the Oscars? That’s the result of myriad reasons, but the truth is that many of the awards given out each year are decided for reasons that are more political than based in quality. Why do you think that when a truly deserving film/actor/director/etc. wins it feels so satisfying? But just because a film isn’t given the accolades from a single organization that it deserves doesn’t mean that it will not be given proper regard in film history. The following seven films are monuments in film history, but were snubbed by the Academy Awards.

Blade Runner

Blade-Runner-Poster-blade-runner-8229832-998-1500Nominations: 2 – Best Art Direction & Best Visual Effects
Wins: 0

It should come as no surprise that Blade Runner is a prime example of a now-acclaimed film being snubbed by the Oscars, fans know that Ridley Scott’s future noir was neither a commercial nor critical hit. Rather, it underperformed at the box office and was generally derided by critics, who saw it as meandering, boring, and unfocused. Of particular note, the film originally appraised and in contention for Oscar glory was the compromised theatrical cut, which saw voiceover narration and a happier ending forced upon Blade Runner by studio demand. As such, the now lauded director’s cut and final cut that change the way many view the film today could not impact how it was received at the time.


Breathless-Poster-breathless-15824199-800-1053Nominations: 0
Wins: 0

Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless was one of the films to kick off the French New Wave of Cinema when it was released in 1960 thanks to its unprecedented style that deconstructed Western filmmaking with a mesmerizing European aesthetic. Godard’s filmmaking style was revolutionary at the time, with its use of jump cuts and original sense of pacing adding to the narrative’s undercutting of American film’s glorification of criminals. And while the film quickly shook the filmmaking world along with its contemporaries to come out of the movement, it was ignored by the Academy. To rub it in even further, Breathless was not even nominated for Best Foreign Film, despite its influence and ideas outshining the films nominated in the category that year and in many other years.

Modern Times

Modern_Times_posterNominations: 0
Wins: 0

Charlie Chaplin is a mythic figure within film, his iconic image and scenes burned into the brains of viewers across the decades. But Chaplin wasn’t just a movie star; he was a highly influential and extremely talented filmmaker, with Modern Times being among his greatest works. By the time it premiered, the Academy Awards had been around for a decade already and while the ceremony would not take the strictly anti-comedy stance that it seems to have today, it was clear that they had long moved past the silent film, which Modern Times most certainly is. In addition, Chaplin’s mix of broad physical comedy featuring the beloved Tramp character with sharp political critique may have sat uncomfortably with Academy members at the time, who couldn’t be bothered to nominate Modern Times for a single award.

The Searchers

the-searchers-movie-poster-john-wayne1Nominations: 0
Wins: 0

Westerns have an odd relationship with Hollywood. They defined many of the early decades of film until they lost steam by the later decades of the 20th century, but they were rarely honored by the Academy Awards. John Ford’s The Searchers is no exception. Despite being a defining film of the genre, which features possibly the greatest screen role of legendary actor John Wayne, the Western epic was not nominated for a single award. While Wayne would go on to win Best Actor for True Grit, it’s his work as Ethan Edwards here that is marked as his finest acting. In addition, The Searchers has been reappraised in the years since as one of the greatest films ever made. Add this one to the list of legendary films shunned by the Oscars and the case against the true relevance of the Academy Awards begins to grow increasingly lopsided.

The Shining

saul-bass-the-shining-film-poster-1Nominations: 0
Wins: 0

Stanley Kubrick is one of the monumental figures in cinema and his movies stand as giants, as well. But his track record for Oscar success is so wildly different from the critical and cultural impact of his filmography as to be an indictment of the Academy Awards all on its own. The director’s final nine films, beginning with Spartacus, received no nominations. In particular, it is Kubrick’s The Shining which shows how wrong film awards can be. Nominated for nothing by the Academy and only shown minor appreciation by the Saturn Awards, The Shining seemed to leave critics unfazed despite its commercial success and impact on the general public. It’s not just the Academy Awards who got The Shining wrong, the movie was also nominated for two Razzies – Worst Actress and Worst Director. So please don’t put your faith in the mean spirited and wrongheaded Razzies either.

Short Term 12

short-term-12-posterNominations: 0
Wins: 0

The newest film on this list, Short Term 12 is indicative of how an independent film can be critically adored but shockingly ignored entirely due to the highly political nature of awards season. While star Brie Larson has gained continued attention for her stellar acting, specifically for 2015’s Room, she was equally adored here in her role as a group home counselor. Short Term 12 was lauded by dozens of awards associations, most of them from critics associations and independent film-focused groups. However, the Academy did not reward the film with any nominations, despite the amount of support behind the film and Larson’s central performance in particular. While the film may only be a few years old, it joins the list of beloved independent films that have gone unnoticed by the Oscars.


Vertigomovie_restorationNominations: 2 – Best Art Direction & Best Sound
Wins: 0

Hitchcock’s films in general were criminally overlooked by the Academy and the director himself never won Best Director despite being nominated five times. But it’s Vertigo in particular that is astonishing in its snubs. Now seen as a true masterpiece and revered by critics worldwide, Vertigo was baffling to many at the time, not the least of which were the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Critics didn’t understand it and audiences didn’t see it, leading to the film having little impact at awards season, with the musical comedy Gigi winning Best Picture that year. Time has told a different story than the Academy Awards, Vertigo is a spellbinding classic that grows in stature over the years.

Other Notable Snubs: Once Upon a Time in the West, Frankenstein, Groundhog Day, Reservoir Dogs, The Day The Earth Stood Still, King Kong, M, Bringing Up Baby, Duck Soup, Short Term 12


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