Oscar winners are not always the biggest hits with the movie-watching public. Did you know that these ten fan favourites never brought home the Best Picture prize from the Academy Awards?
King Kong (1933)
The big daddy of all monster pictures never got any Oscar love. No special effects category existed at the time, so while movie fans flocked to the theatres, Kong never conquered the Academy. It has since been named one of the 100 greatest movies of all time by the American Film Institute.
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
The staple of the Christmas season, it's hard to believe this heart-tugging classic didn't win its nomination for Best Picture. It lost to The Best Years of Our Lives. Never heard of it? My point exactly. In hindsight, Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra should have won their categories for Best Actor and Best Director, respectively.
It may not be a surprise that Oscar didn't nominate a horror film for Best Picture, but what is surprising is that, over his career, Alfred Hitchcock never made it to the podium for Best Director. The shower scene in Psycho is often referenced in other films and TV, and made an entire generation nervous about stepping into the bathroom.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
You're humming the Bee Gees already, aren't you? That's how iconic this film is, and it came to define the '70s era for the younger generation. John Travolta was nominated for Best Actor but lost to The Goodbye Girl's Richard Dreyfuss. And it's hard to conceive now, but none of the music in Saturday Night Fever was put up for nomination. Criminal!
Star Wars Episodes IV, V, VI (1977, 1980, 1983)
The original trilogy films were massive box office hits but none beat out their competition for Best Picture. The Academy did, however, hand out several awards to the movies over the years for Special Achievements and Costume, Music, Sound and other categories. Alec Guinness was the only actor ever acknowledged: he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for A New Hope. And that tradition continues for this year's upcoming Oscars as Star Wars: The Force Awakens has received five nominations but none are for acting or Best Picture.
The Color Purple (1985)
I remember sobbing in the theatre with my best friend watching the hard-luck story of young Celie Johnston, a black girl in the early 1900s, as she struggled to live a life with some happiness. The Color Purple was nominated to the eyeballs but never won a single Oscar. Whoopi Goldberg didn't collect a statue for Best Actress (but she did nab a Best Supporting Actress for Ghost in 1990), and the movie lost Best Picture to Out of Africa.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Not nominated for anything but Makeup, this whimsical fantasy was a hit at the box office, telling the sweet and funny story of a misfit boy wondering how to fit in to normal society. Audiences fell in love with the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration but the Academy was not as impressed.
The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
Another Burton-helmed film, perhaps the Academy wasn't sure what to do with such a dark and brilliant gem. It became a favourite with animation fans and quickly developed a cult following. That didn't stop the Academy from basically ignoring it except for a nomination for Best Visual Effects. Not even the fantastic Danny Elfman score and songs were recognized. Had there been a Best Animated Feature category at the time it would have likely swept it. (That category began in 2001.)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Maybe it was too violent for Academy voters to get fully behind, but this landmark film by Quentin Tarantino knocked movie-goers out of their seats when it debuted in theatres. While Travolta, Jackson and Thurman got nods for acting, they all lost out and the Best Picture that year went to the much kinder-hearted Forrest Gump instead.
Fight Club (1999)
I guess the Academy didn't want to break the first rule of Fight Club, because while audiences were certainly talking about it, Fight Club was ignored in a year that saw more than its share of dark, depressing dramas. It fit right in with that year's dark crop of films: American Beauty, The Sixth Sense, The Green Mile, Magnolia, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Girl, Interrupted, but it wasn't nominated for anything except Best Sound Editing.
This is just a short list of popular films that never got the love they deserved and lost out to the competition. Don't get me started on my personal faves: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and The Matrix... what are your favourite films that deserved more attention from Oscar?
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