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Winners and losers

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Mark Kermode | 13:46 UK time, Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The BAFTAs are over for another year and The Artist, which I loved, has cleaned up in all the major categories.

With the Oscars approaching and The Kermodes handed out this Saturday I want to know what is the greatest film never to figure in the Academy Awards?

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  • Comment number 1.

    The most unforgivable and bone-headed omission by the Academy is Paul Giamatti’s brilliantly nuanced performance in Sideways. Instead, the Academy nominated Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland, one of the most boring and lifeless performances I’ve seen on screen.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well it has to be Christopher nolan being snudded at two oscars for two goods films. Inception and dark kniight,. Appartenly the awards nominatoors have something against nolan because proabbly he makes blockbusters with substance and they dont like that. I would also say hthe fact kubrick was not nomianted forr the shinning was an oversight. Actually hew a nomianted for the razzie. Now I know you dont like the shinning quite as muich as i do however i think its a well directed movie, also shelley duvall was not nominated for actress in that film when she was great. However the biggest oversight to me is that the devils was not nominated. How can you have a best actor oscar contest without oliver reed, he was magnificient in that movie. Vanessa redgrave was on fire and as you said in yopur corellnas review when vanessa redgrave is on fire nbo one can touch her and in he devils shes not only on fire buyt ever scene shes burns the house down. Ken should have won best director for it.

  • Comment number 3.

    For any year that Oscars brain fizzed and exploded into sheer dumbness, I think that had to be the years 1999 and 2000. For 1999, the Oscars failed to get through the brilliance and the class of Jim Carey's performance in Man on the Moon, such a performance like this, when you think about how passionate Jim was with this film. But then a year later, Oscars did it again, but this time, snubbed Fight Club, for best film, best director(David Fincher) and best actor Brad Pitt. The film was a work of art, the film was one of the most directed films of that year and finally Brad Pitt's performance was quite incredible for someone playing a psychopathic version of someone else's personality. So for me, those were the most stupidest decisions the Oscars have made since giving Goodfellas the finger. Annoyed, I was and I was 8 and 9 during that time.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Mr Kermode I was actually at the Baftas on account of my mother winning a prize to go. I was on the oppisite side from you on the red carpet I wanted to shout to you but you seemed busy so I did not. After the show though I saw you on the escalator and said that "I love the show" to you which you responded with an appreciative thank you. It may not be that significant but it was significant to me and it was another great moment in a fantastic night. Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 5.

    The film that I think was absolutely snubbed at the Oscars this year was my favourite film of the year, Drive. I mean, the BAFTAs knew what they were thinking, and although Drive didn't win any BAFTAs for the categories it was nominated for, to know that it was at least nominated made me happy.
    But the Oscars completely ignored Drive, which really made me angry this year.

    Another film which was definitely snubbed at the Oscars in 2008 was The Dark Knight, and although I know the good Doctor doesn't love this film like most people, I nonetheless feel that Christopher Nolan as director, Nolan and David S. Goyer's adapted screenplay and most noteworthy the film itself all deserved Oscars of which they were ignorantly snubbed. Go9d forbid a film get nominated for an Oscar that was released in the summer!

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with Henri Mertens comment. Paul Giamatti is one of the finest actors currently and it is a shame that he was overlooked for Sideways. Although he did win a globe for Barney's Version. One such incident where the HFPA didn't make a mistake; if I may say so.
    Besides that, it has to be Inception for me. No nomination for Christopher Nolan as best Director.
    And although The Shawshank Redemption was nominated for Best Picture I think its an utter travesty that it didn't win :) [although come to think of it, I'd have wanted Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump to win as well]

  • Comment number 7.

    People always complain about Titanic beating L.A. Confidential in 1997 but Boogie Nights wasn't even nominated then. Maybe it was too adult for them, probably the same reason why Michael Fassbender wasn't nominated this year, but it's a much more exciting, colourful and innovative film than L.A. Confidential, which is merely quite good, and Titanic which is just dreadful.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think one oversight speaks volumes as to just how dysfunctional the Oscars are.

    It's inarguable that, upon release in 1982, TRON completely revolutionised visual effects, opening the door to the propagation of CGI in film and making several great works that came after possible (most notably those of Pixar Animation Studios). Even without this knowledge in hindsight, the film is startlingly inventive, crafting a neon-lit world through an ingenious mix of 3D models and laborious backlighting and rotoscoping techniques.

    The most glaring error made by the Academy was not failing to nominate the film for any of the technical categories; it did so by way of the Best Sound and Best Costume Design categories. It wasn't even its failure to give it the Best Visual Effects Oscar; such may have been forgivable in the same year that gave us BLADE RUNNER and E.T., with the latter ultimately winning. Its greatest error was its failure to even place it in the running for that award. Why? Because the Academy considered the use of computers to be cheating.

    Consider that. And then consider the last three decades of Hollywood film-making.


  • Comment number 9.

    It HAS to be Michael Parks as Abin Cooper from Kevin Smith's Red State, one of the scariest villains of all time, because of the reality and familiarity of the character which makes the film more grounded.

  • Comment number 10.

    Actually I'm going to take a different route and say where the BAFTAs have failed but the Oscars have triumphed. It is David Lynch, one of the greatest directors of all time. He received Academy and BAFTA nominations for The Elephant Man (for Best Screenplay and Best Direction). However, both Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive (arguably is greatest works) received Academy nominations for Best Direction but there were no BAFTA nominations for him.

  • Comment number 11.


    How did this not get nominations for Michael Shannon's performance, Jeff Nichols' direction, Jessica Chastain as Supporting Actress (reminds me of Kate Winslet in Reader vs Revolutionary Road), and for Best Original Screenplay?

    Also, why no Kermode nominations for it? Hmm?

  • Comment number 12.

    Plus, the ommision of Paul Giamatti really shows that the Academy attempts to please everyone, instead of actually nominating what they think is the best in film. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the most recent example.

  • Comment number 13.

    Michael Sheen, enough said.

  • Comment number 14.

    Martin Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver' losing out to 'Rocky' for best film at the 49th Academy awards. Although 'Rocky' is one of those movies about the underdog that appeals to people I doubt they would have chosen it if they had the foresight of the five Rocky sequels that were to come.

    Martin Scorsese was long overdue an Oscar for best Director by the time he got it for 'The Departed' and although I liked that film it pales in comparison to the movies he SHOULD have got an Oscar for.

  • Comment number 15.

    Martin Scorsese didn't get a director nomination for Taxi driver, although it did get best picture nom
    check my comment on your last homework assignment please Dr K!

  • Comment number 16.

    i didn't see the above comment before writing, so in addition i TOTALLY agree

  • Comment number 17.

    As far as I'm concerned, the fact that Manhattan lost the Academy Award for Best Original screenplay to Breaking Away was a travesty. The nomination was nice, yes, and as an Allen fan I would of course say that it should have won everything that year, but Original screenplay was where I feel it really deserved it.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nominating Dennis Hopper for Hoosiers and NOT for Blue Velvet in 1987. The suggestion that his work in Hoosiers is the superior achievement is utter heresy and encompasses everything about Oscar that is ill-judged and just plain WRONG. It is an indelible and genuinely dangerous performance that would define Hopper’s career and pass into movie legend. Shame on you, Oscar!

  • Comment number 19.


  • Comment number 20.

    There is a vast and huge amount of snubs I can list that would go on for nearly a millenium. It still escapes me how Christopher Nolan as you said Mark, did not secure a Best Director nomination at the 83rd Academy Awards, Wall-E, Gran Torino and Revolutionary Road were shunned so badly at the 81st Academy Awards that it really made me feel a sense of distrust for the bland mediocrity of the Academy, I mean Wall-E clearly deserved a Best Picture Nomination then as it really pushed the boundries for animated films. But the three massive snubs I have ever seen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are as follows: Russell Crowe not winning Best Actor for A Beautiful Mind but winning for the bland film known as Gladiator, L.A Confidential not winning Best Picture or Director and losing to one of the worst films I have ever seen (that of course being Titanic) and the third and final one would be the fact that David Fincher lost to Tom Hooper at the 83rd Academy Awards for Best Director on The Social Network. Out of all of these three, I would choose the first because how could Russell Crowe lose to such a dull and rubbish performance by Denzel Washington for Training Day. Russell Crowe gives the performance of his life in that film and it is ten times better than the garbage known as Gladiator.

    So the Biggest Oscar Snub ever done is; Russell Crowe's loss for A Beautiful Mind.

    Thanks for reading (hopefully) Mark.

  • Comment number 21.

    You can tell that awards make too many stupid mistakes by the fact that so many, especially the Oscars, give awards to actors and directors years after the films they should've won for have lost.
    How many times has it been said that it is 'so-and-so's' year because they didn't win for 'insert film here' when they should have, and even though the latest film isn't very good they'll win because it's their time?
    Pity Oscars are the worst and most of the best directors and actors have pity Oscars...Spielberg, Scorcese, etc.

  • Comment number 22.

    Roger Deakins has been nominated 9 times for Oscars and has always lost out. Which is astounding why he hasn't got the proper recognition he deserves.

  • Comment number 23.

    Are we talking about actors, film, directors etc. that weren't even nominated, or are we including people who were, but just didn't win?

    If it's the latter, then the list is endless. Alhtough if it's the former, the list is also endless...

  • Comment number 24.

    Obviously LA Confidential losing out to Titanic. The only thing Titanic deserved was a rasberry.
    Also Jodelle Ferland and Brendan Fletcher in Terry Gilliams Tideland. The academy probably weren't even aware of its existence let alone watch the sodding thing.

  • Comment number 25.

    Dennis Hopper not being nominated for Blue Velvet is a noteable stand out though.

  • Comment number 26.

    Do the Right Thing not even being nominated for Best Picture in a year of dreck like Driving Miss Daisy and Dead Poets Society. Also, Dead Poets Society winning Best Original Screenplay over any of the other four nominees (including Do the Right Thing).

  • Comment number 27.

    As far as I recall, Michael Mann has only ever been nominated for best director once (The Insider). The fact that he hasn’t been nominated, let alone won, for any of his other films is why I have no faith in the Oscars.

    I know it’s a common notion that only independent filmmakers and directors outside Hollywood are ‘visionaries’ or ‘auteurs’ but Mann is a perfect example of a visionary director working in the Hollywood mainstream and yet the Oscars don’t even notice him.

    Films like Manhunter (a film worthy of being called a ‘psychological thriller’ and the best of it’s genre), Last of the Mochicans, Heat and Collateral should all have been Oscar contenders. Even Public Enemies (I know you didn’t like the digital look of the film, Mark, but in my opinion it was a welcome change from the generic sepia-toned, golden-hazed look of films set in the 1930s but made today. It gave the 30s setting a spark that made it feel real and vibrant.)

    He’s also one of the few directors who knows how to utilise hand held camerawork, unlike the recent influx of greenhorns trying to cash in on the Jason Bourne appeal.

  • Comment number 28.

    If we're including people who were nominated but didn't win, can I also just mention two egregious choices:

    Gloria Swanson not winning for Sunset Boulevard
    Ellen Burstyn not winning for Requiem For A Dream

  • Comment number 29.

    Still to my bewilderment, Robert Shaw's overlooked supporting performance as Quint in JAWS... and Steven Spielberg for Best director while we're at it!

  • Comment number 30.

    In 1995, Michael Mann's Heat was released. Not one single nomination. Not even in the technical categories, let alone Best Picture and Director. And what film won the big prize for 1995? Braveheart.

  • Comment number 31.

    Would anyone really think The Artist deserved to be Best Picture if it wasn't for Harvey Weinstein pushing it along from behind like a giant dung beetle?

    Critics, promoters and film makers writhe around like a big ball of snakes at awards time, biting at each other as they roll around in a self perpetuating rutting glee.

    Is Mark is as guilty at this as anyone? Look at how Chico and Rita got nominated.

    "oh I saw Chico and Rita at Canne and it was wonderful"

    That's nice for you. Shame no one else got to see it.

    The film was promoted at a few critics at film festivals for some launch splash,
    Then it vanishes into a few indie cinema circuit for over a year.
    To everyones surprise it suddenly pops back out as an oscar nominee.
    The film now promoted soley at the people in the industry eligable to vote.

    The critics come out and say "See... I told you I liked that" and smile at the promoter who just gave them 15 minutes with the director of his other film.
    The promoters say "See...I told you the critics loved it" and slides a gift bag to the eligable voter.
    The eligable voters say "oooh...Shimey new shoes" and ticks the box on his voting form

    The public are left sat watching the ceremony thinking "Chico and what?"

  • Comment number 32.

    Biggest oversight proberbly the 1957 award for best animated short. This was the year that What's Opera, Doc? was released yet it wasn't even nominated. In my 30's I still get choked up at the end where Bugs Bunny is lying dead at the base of the mountain.

  • Comment number 33.

    My complaint regarding the Oscars is a more general one, aimed at the technical categories, those which are often erroneously overlooked both by the Academy and the audience. After all, don't cinematography, editing and sound constitute the greatest part of what makes the medium unique?

    These categories are often dominated greatly by films which offer flash, budget, and have a need to set themselves as awards favorites, when they should offer expression and inventiveness instead. This year we have films like Moneyball and The Descendants up for best editing, instead of films like Senna and The Tree of Life which offered a far greater challenge in regards to the productions, and which achieve actual greatness in the craft as opposed to mere competence. It's where the art design is judged on how competently it portrays a given period, thus giving a nod to Midnight in Paris over the much more textural, actually impressionistic work in Drive instead. It's where Michael Bay and his PHWOOARRRR-EH's are recognized as a yearly milestone of sound design. The same awards that not two years ago gave the Best Cinematography award to Avatar, a film comprised in its large majority of CGI and animation, over the much more wonderful The White Ribbon. If there's a case to be made for the academy understanding nothing of cinema, it's on this front.

    That said, I regret seeing almost everyone ignoring the success of the editing in The Tree of Life. The Tree of Life generates a fantastic and almost dreamlike effect in the visual flow, the way images, shadows and movements blend with one another to generate an extremely dynamic and impressionist experience. They feel like actual memories, like actual flashes of someone's childhood, and this is generated just as much by the photography as the montage. Despite the film being flawed overall, on these two fronts it's really unimpeachable.

  • Comment number 34.

    Historically, there are many results that appear shocking today but perhaps wouldn't have been back then. For example, the fact that Citizen Kane ONLY picked up Best Original Screenplay can be explained by the fact that William Randolph Hearst was vitriolic towards the film and may have even rigged the results.

    Famously, Stanley Kubrick never won Best Director at the Oscars despite being nominated four times. However, the most grievous oversight was that Paths of Glory (arguably Kubrick's best film and one of the greatest war movies of all time) didn't pick up a single nomination.

    Going back to Orson Welles, it seems almost unbelievable that he picked up only one acting nomination - for Citizen Kane. One of the greatest actors of all time, Welles was consistently great and his performance in Touch of Evil deserved to be rewarded.

    As did his performance in Carol Reed's The Third Man which was voted the greatest British film of all time (see the BFI 100). In case you're wondering, the only nomination The Third Man picked up was for Best Black & White Cinematography. Shocking, isn't it? And I haven't even mentioned Singin' in the Rain, The Night of the Hunter or Manhattan.

  • Comment number 35.

    I know it is obvious but it has to be Christopher Nolan's emission for his direction of Inception and The Dark Knight. They were very 'directed' films. They were films which required a lot of orchestration unlike The King's Speech. Although it was a very good film it was all done by actors and didn't require an amazing direction.

  • Comment number 36.

    Don't bring up those awards ever again. They've broken my heart too often to count and this years list was the final straw. The Oscars are an old joke and an unfunny one at that.

  • Comment number 37.

    Best Film for 2011 - Drive and 50/50. Two greatly constructed movies which in my mind were the top best movies of last year. How the Academy managed to look over both is beyond me. I was happy 50/50 managed to get a Golden Globe nomination but no Oscar nomination, not even for Joseph Gordon Levitt was ridiculous

    Best Director - Asif Kapida and Nicolas Winding Refn. Two people who should have got something for their sterling work on Senna and Drive respectively. Both created two of the greatest movies ever made yet they don't get recognized for it

    Best Actor - Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Ryan who had a tremendous year with Crazy, Stupid, Love - Ides of March and Drive should have got nominated for the latter two for his brilliant performances in both movies. It beggars belief that a guy that is so talented and brilliant at what he does, he misses out on the Oscars yet again (since his Oscar nomination for Half Nelson)
    Hopefully he'll get a nomination for Gangster Squad

    Last but not least, like everyone else - Christopher Nolan. Has made critically lauded films since his mind boggling Memento and has missed out on the opportunity to be nominated for Best Director. It's a shame that he hasn't won it considering he should have won it instead of King's Speech, obviously taking nothing away from that movie

  • Comment number 38.

    Well, me being me, I'm tempted to put 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' down, in fact - with the exception of 'The Colossus of Rhodes' - the entire directorial output of Sergio Leone; of course famously, an administrative ballzup in 1984 meant that Ennio Morricone wasn't nominated for best original score for 'Once Upon a Time in America'.
    But the one that really got up my nose was only a couple of years ago when they didn't nominate Sally Hawkins for 'Happy-Go-Lucky'. I know the quality of her performance is contentious for some people but I really liked her and the fact that even the Golden Globes managed to recognise her just accentuated the daft omission. Equally, look at David Thewlis not getting nominated for 'Naked' - stupid to the nth degree.

  • Comment number 39.

    My suggestions would include Kubrick's 'Dr. Strangelove', overlooked in favour of 'My Fair Lady' for Best Picture and Peter Sellers' wonderful performance playing three characters.
    Did 'Se7en' get nominated for anything major? I don't think so. And 'Blade Runner' was overlooked for Best Picture, but at the time it was regarded as bit of a dud.

  • Comment number 40.

    The Big Lebowski
    Miller's Crossing

    I guess the Cohen brothers can't win them all.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mark, the answer is simple: any number of the incredible films not in the English language that were either pushed into a foreign language category or not nominated at all.

    Although having said that, if the Academy didn't do this, in 2003 Chicago would have beaten both The Pianist AND Talk To Her, and then I really would have been mad.

  • Comment number 42.

    Not really an omission, but the way the academy treated the documentary 'Hoop Dreams' after its release in 1994 was just utterly shameful

  • Comment number 43.

    Oliver! winning best film Oscar while 2001 didn't even get nominated

    Robert Redford and Ordinary People winning best director and best film respectively, beating Raging Bull and Martin Scorsese

    Kevin Costner and Dances with Wolves winning best director and best film respectively, denying both Scorsese and Goodfellas

    Forrest Gump winning best film, beating the likes of Quiz Show, Pulp Fiction and the Shawshank Redemption! Hellooo???

    this year? Fassbender for best actor was a shocking omission.

  • Comment number 44.

    The Guardian attempted making a list of great unrecognised films at the Oscars. The list included Mrs. Doubtfire.
    I would argue, like others, that any film with Orson Welles involvement is generally unappreciated (as well as a Best Supporting Actor nod for Harry Lime in the Third Man). Also, as many other comments have pointed out the neglect of Paul Giamatti, David Lynch, amongst others. More recently I would add Andy Serkis in CGI or biological form to that list.

    Though my main gripe is its utter neglect with Science Fiction is these awards. I mean, one of my favourite films is Robocop - rubbish title, and now with very childish connotations - but was a movie that actually said something. It was utterly scathing about all things that defined the 1980s (surely now is the perfect time for an equally scathing remake?). The general neglect of Sci-Fi is just snobby, and for films like Avatar to mop up the nominations is a bit of a tragedy - a film which said something that was already said in 1993 by Kevin Costner but in a way that points toward the ways for future exploitation of cinema patrons.

  • Comment number 45.

    Modern times, Charles Chaplin direction, for best picture, and writing. The list would be too long for me to add all the other pictures that deserved more then the academy gave them. But, Modern Times is a masterpiece and I am sorry, but that year very few films could carry that films catering, let alone style.

  • Comment number 46.

    Jeff Goldblum for The Fly. A precursor to all of Andy Serkis' snubs.

  • Comment number 47.

    Worst omission from this year's poor selections was definitely 'Margin Call'. Sterling performances, great script and storyline, but nowhere to be seen, overshadowed by a 2nd rate silent film that would have bored audiences in 1925 to death and a vacuous adaptation of a TV classic. Whilst a great fan, I think some of your lauded recommendations are very questionable. But I promise not to disturb you about them next time I see you buried in your laptop in the BAFTA bar.

  • Comment number 48.

    For all the great screen villians that have won the Oscar (Hannibal Lector/Verbal Kint/Nurse Ratched), It shocked me to hear that one iconic figure in cinema villian history was not even nominated: Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange. Malcolm McDowell (a very maligned actor I've always felt) plays the character with such conviction, such charisma and as such a completely rounded indivdual, that he is able to charm you and disgust you at almost the exact same time. I find it astounding that his performance was not even taken into consideration at the Oscars, especially since Alex is now an archetype for the many anti-heroes and villians that came after him (particularly Heath Ledger's Joker).

  • Comment number 49.

    Was "We Need to Talk About Kevin" even eligible for the Oscars this year? Apart from festivals, it only opened in NY on 9th Dec and LA on 20th Jan.

  • Comment number 50.

    For Best Foreign Film I would go for La Haine.
    For Best Film in English language I would go for Sweet Sixteen.
    For Best Documentary I would go for Etre et Avoir.
    But, in all honesty Mark, there have been literally dozens of films in my time as a film goer that could and should have been nominated for "Oscars". The fact that they weren't is neglect verging on the criminal!

  • Comment number 51.

    The worst sin of Oscar is the treatment of foreign films, The Divingbell and the butterfly, City of God and Pans labrinthe not getting nominated for best picture because, lets face it, they're not in english. Vincent Cassel snubbed for his sensational performance in 'Mesrine'.
    But the most egregious omission was 'A Matter of life and death' not getting a single nomination.

    I think the reason 'We need to talk about Kevin' wasn't nominated was because it hit a raw nerve and the academy reacted against that. Just to respond to an above post 'Citizen Kane' only got one award because Hollywood really resented Welles and people booed his name at ceremony whilst applauding his co-writer.

  • Comment number 52.

    I know he was nominated so this probably won't count, but I'm STILL in perpetual puzzlement as to how Mickey Rourke didn't win Best Actor for The Wrestler. I even watched it again recently on Film4 to try and see how it might be possible... and if anything wound up even more confused.

  • Comment number 53.

    There is no greater oversight in Oscar's history than the 1993 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor category.

    Tommy Lee-Jones for taking Best Supporting Actor for the trash that was The Fugitive, overlooking Ralph Fiennes' best performance of his career in 'Schindler's List' is an absolute travesty.

    Perhaps I'm biased, as that film is one of my favourites of all time (and I know, Mark, that you are not a fan of it). I wrote a dissertation on that film, on its representation of the Holocaust. I think it's impeccable. No matter what people think of the film, there is no denying the superiority of Fienne's performance in it than Lee-Jones in The Fugitive.

    [As an aside, I wouldn't have minded as much if Mr. DiCaprio had won it for What's Eating Gilbert Grape - another career-topping performance of the year].

    But Tommy Lee-Jones? The Fugitive? Really?

  • Comment number 54.

    The 1994 best picture showdown always sticks in my craw. I know Forrest Gump has it's fans, but Four Weddings And A Funeral aside, it was up against three far superior films in Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption and Quiz Show.
    They do it every year - historical figure or a person with an illness. I did hope BAFTA would show some originality and pass on Meryl Streep's Anne Robinson/Margaret Thatcher impression.

  • Comment number 55.

    I find this a bit of an unfair question. The Academy rewards a film in the year of its release and that means that factors which, in the long term, have little bearing on the "classic" status of a film will inevitably be taken into account, factors such as box office receipts, critical reception, general public hysteria and what we might call the "Departed effect" (when someone gets rewarded for rubbish on the basis of sentiment built up over the course of a long career: alternative titles for this syndrome include the Scent of a Woman Effect, the Untouchables Effect and the True Grit Effect). The truth is that it is not only the Academy that fails to recognise a classic at the time of its release. A number of posts have mentioned Blade Runner - which, by the way, is one of my favourite films - but I am old enough to remember its original release and few people at the time saw it as the cinematic great it has subsequently become; indeed, even in the late eighties, it was considered so niche that it was to be found getting a TV showing at 1am. The same could be said of Fight Club, which back in 1998 was only really championed by film magazines with a relatively youthful readership. Most other critics pointed to its its rather inept ending and where-did-that-come-from central twist as serious flaws. An Oscar should not be seen as a prediction of whether a film, performance, etc. will come to be viewed as a classic, but as an acknowledgement of good work at point of delivery.

    That said, it is irritating how often hype takes over and films/ performances, etc. come to be seen as guaranteed winners even before the nominees are announced - this we might call the "King's Speech Effect". Don't get me wrong: Colin Firth was good in that film - very good even - but was he so much better than everyone else that he was viewed as having no meaningful competition for the prize? This, I think, is the true source of quality output being overlooked. It's why The Artist will win best film this year and why we'll be talking about the totally unrewarded Tree of Life in twenty years time...

  • Comment number 56.

    There really are so many issues I had with the Oscars looking back throughout the years. However, were to go back to the last awards season in 2011, I would have to say that it really is a shame that the director of "The fighter", a very overrated film due to its lack of focus and somewhat average writing, managed to get an oscar nomination, leaving Christopher Nolan out of the picture. That really does grind my gears, as Dr Kermode can tell you a billion times over, "Inception: was the most directed film that year. I have a good feeling about Nolan's next film coming out in July, and its good enough to expect that the academy better know where to place their votes in 2013...

  • Comment number 57.

    Worst omission? Easy: Sam Rockwell for Best Actor in Moon. Simply unforgivable.

  • Comment number 58.

    Being a writer and imo... Se7en is one of the greatest original screenplays ever written. It didn't get nominated by the Acadamy.

  • Comment number 59.

    The Oscar's failure to nominate Senna this year reminds me of other examples when they haven't nominated the best documentaries in recent years. Just look at films like Anvil: The Story of Anvil and Être et avoir (To be and To Have), both of which were masterpieces of film making that in my mind could have been nominated for many more awards than just best documentary.

  • Comment number 60.

    The Academy have committed many an atrocity over the years - Ordinary People beating Raging Bull (and their treatment of Scorsese in general), Kramer vs Kramer beating Apocalypse Now, neither Alien nor Blade Runner being nominated at all - the list goes on & on...

    But, in my opinion, the worst crime of all?

    Sergio Leone. Completely ignored. Nothing. Nada. Niente.

    I'm so staggered by this, I find myself looking it up again because I can't believe it's true...

  • Comment number 61.

    The Deer Hunter winning the BP for the year 1978, a overlong, dull, woefully misjudged movie that, to be frank, is racist.

  • Comment number 62.

    Tarkovsky was never nominated by the academy for anything in his life, and he made seven of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. Bertolucci's The Conformist, nominated only for screenplay. Silent Running, only for visual effects. Nicholson in The Shining and Pacino in Scarface - arguably the defining roles of both actors, both overlooked by the Academy. Fincher's Zodiac was a masterpiece, as was Seven. Both were totally overlooked. Best film of 2011 for me, hands down, was Drive. Best Director at Cannes. Nothing at the Oscars.

  • Comment number 63.

    Chaplin's Modern Times. Criminally overlooked at the Oscars.

  • Comment number 64.

    A Matter Of Life and Death (1946 Powell and Pressburger)

    This film wasnt even nominated for best film! I first saw it when i was ten and have been in love with it ever since.It has more sheer creativity in ten minutes than most hollywood films have in a whole year. It is a very rare thing, it is beautiful.

    P.S. Off topic, but id like to saw a word about how sad it is that the actor David Kelly has died.He was just wonderful, never better than than in Waking Ned. Thinking about that has made me chortle , his delivery of `Lizzie Quinn THE WITCH!`magic.

  • Comment number 65.

    Dont ever follow the Oscars because films which have won turned out to be rubbish, and should have never won an award in the 1st place. The Departed took all the credit that Infernal Affairs deserved and The Hurt Locker wasn't as good as everybody said it was. In my eyes exceptional good films never make it to the Oscars or Bafta's because they are unheard of and not mainstream enough.

  • Comment number 66.

    No brainer for me: it has to be Hitchcock's Vertigo, which, to my knowledge, wasn't nominated for anything (including direction and score!). Recently, PT Anderson's There Will Be Blood SHOULD have won, but even earlier, his masterpiece (in my eyes) Magnolia should have won SOMETHING! As for acting, I am amazed that John Hurt never won an Oscar. In a career that has spanned almost half a century, this fine English treasure has never been honoured for his sterling work in cinema. Just goes to show how shallow the Oscars truly are!

  • Comment number 67.

    While I can think of lots of glaring omissions over the years I'd actually have to rate this year's Oscars pretty highly on the Oscars blunder scale just for the ludicrous absence of Tilda Swinton alone. The omission of 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' from the Best Film category was one thing - I was pretty prepared for the fact that there was no way that film, for all that it is (I agree) the best of the year, was ever going to be noticed. But I have to admit that I still clung to some hope that the Oscars would, just for ONCE, recognise one of the finest female performances that cinema has ever seen. I know I'm preaching to the converted here, but I don't remember the last time that I have seen an actor convey such intense, such utterly heart-breaking a sense of exhaustion, horror and utter despair on screen - while at the same time never failing to be a completely energetic and electric onscreen presence. Not only this, but Swinton is, for my money, playing not one but at least 3 characters in that film, shifting between the vastly different psychological states AND ages of her character without ever missing a beat.

    But hey, what do I know.

    I'm also gutted (although not surprised) by the absence Michael Fassbender for his devastating and exquisitely judged performance in 'Shame'. Although, having said all that, I have to add that even the Baftas, while undoubtedly better than the Oscars, definitely leave plenty to be desired in the Best Actor and Actress categories, over the last couple of years at least. The scope of Bafta nominations are much fairer, to be sure, but am I the only one who feels like it's about time they just renamed the Best Actress award 'Best Impersonation of An Eccentric Historical Figure' if they're going to keep snubbing brilliant, nuanced performances like those of Tilda Swinton and Leslie Manville in favour of Muriel Strepsil doing the most uncontroversial political impression of the millennium, of Helena Bonham Carter playing...Helena Bonham Carter...again?

  • Comment number 68.

    I'd like to present two awards for sheer Oscar wrong-headedness:

    The lifetime snub award goes to Michael Powell. The greatest British director, creator of such classics as The Red Shoes, A Matter of Life and Death, A Canterbury Tale and so many more - he was nominated for exactly one Oscar, for WRITING, on the pretty average propaganda film One of Our Aircraft Is Missing.

    For a snub of a single film, the outstanding candidate must be The Searchers, not even nominated in the year that the big gong went to the incredibly mediocre Around The World In 80 Days, a film so unremarkable that even the people who were in it don't remember it.

    Also, I'd like to second the commenter above who mentioned poor old Roger Deakins. Did that guy kill someone's mother or something? What does he have to do to win an Oscar?

  • Comment number 69.

    Oh, and Malcolm X.

  • Comment number 70.

    The most Oscar perfect film that has ever been overlooked by the academy is by all calculations - Once upon a time in America. A slums to riches tale of betrayal and brotherhood, you would think the academy voters would be frothing at the mouth when they saw this 4 hour long epic about Crime, Prohibition and Jews.

    The fact that five members of the cast had by '84, already been nominated for a combined total of 8 acting oscars (with De Nero winning 2) yet did not sway voters to make it their "turn". One would have thought that seeing De Nero and James Woods grow older though the course of the film would have triggered some academy clause specifying that they be nominated. But alas, the the most blindingly obvious grievance of the Oscars was that they had yet to even recognise a single work of Sergio Leone and unfortunately never would.

    Yet beyond all that... most shameful of all is the fact that not only BAFTA saw fit to garner the film with 5 nominations, but so too did the GOLDEN GLOBES for Original Score and and Directing.

    In the end Amadeus walked away with best picture, which is odd because its not even the best film out of the other nominees (The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier's Story). Amadeus is certainly a well made film but never held together for me in the way Once upon a time did. Personally I see it as Leone's best picture where he finally stepped out of the Westerns to make one of the last old styled epics. It its incomprehensible to me why this film was entirely snubbed out.

  • Comment number 71.

    Somefellacalled lime mentioned 'A Matter of Life and Death' and I couldn't agree more. I checked it out and it's my vote for most possible Kermodes. Here's some films from that year. The Big Sleep, My darling Clementine, Notorious, The Killers,Odd One Out, Gilda, - and these two films were nominated but didn't win. It's a Wonderful life and Henry V. So what film managed to beat all these great films? 'The Best Years of Our Lives'. OK, America had just won the war and it's not a bad film but come on.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ bux500

    "The Hurt Locker wasn't as good as everybody said it was"

    I agree & then some! I'm genuinely baffled why The Hurt Locker is so highly rated and its winning of 'Best Picture' was a complete mystery to me.

    I'd have given the Oscar to Star Trek. Wasn't even nominated. Gits.

  • Comment number 73.

    Once Upon a Time in America is one of the biggest oversights especially James Woods' performance and Morricone's score.

    Citizen Kane and Taxi Driver are obvious ones but there really are a lot of foolish omissions at the oscars.

  • Comment number 74.

    Have to agree with with everyone who has memtioned Christopher Nolan so far. What does this guy have to do to get an Oscar ? The reason he keeps being over looked is that he thinks the future is IMAX and integent films (which it is) and Hollywood says the future is 3D and dum explosions (WHICH ITS NOT).

    On a side note - Thanks to everyone who commented on my recast of Inception in the last thread, glad you enjoyed it.

  • Comment number 75.

    In the light of the awards success of The Artist, it's intriguing to discover (via IMDB) that Singin' in the Rain - my absolute favourite film - was only nominated in two categories for the 1953 Oscars and won neither (the marvellous Jean Hagen for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture). (As also pointed out by calvinm #34). At least Bafta nominated it for Best Film.

    On a similar contemporary-film-inventively-resurrects-genre tip, the pivotal moment in my losing any faith in the Oscars came when Moulin Rouge! was nominated for Best Picture, Actress, Sound, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup, Costume Design (won), Art Direction-Set Decoration (won)... Yet neglected to nominate Baz Luhrmann. Ridiculous. I was only 16 and even I knew that the Oscars were clearly ludicrous. No matter what you think of Moulin Rouge! and its direction, Luhrmann's sheer gutsiness and love for the musical genre was refreshing and, for a teenager at the time, really exciting. Subsequently, in 2003, the Best Picture Oscar went to... Chicago *slaps hands to face*

  • Comment number 76.

    I'd also like to add that in terms of this year's award ceremonies, I wholeheartedly agree with every one of the points made by kate12elizabeth (#67): Tilda, Fassbender, Bafta nomination disappointment, 'Best Impersonation of An Eccentric Historical Figure'... Tick, tick, tick, tick.

    Also, after listening to Viggo Mortensen on the podcast, I was really surprised to hear that David Croenenberg has yet to be nominated for a major award. Okay, once for a Bafta (Eastern Promises) but... That's it. Whilst ...Kevin and Shame are my favourite films of 2011-12, I was really impressed with A Dangerous Method. Controversially, I found the first 30 minutes far more tense than the whole of Tinker Tailor. Just my personal response!

  • Comment number 77.

    Danny Elfman being overlooked for his Edward Scissorhands score - inarguably one of the greatest of all time.

  • Comment number 78.

    easy, fight club for best film and director. daring, provocative and a genuinely socially responsible film about the destructive impact of consumerism, neo-liberalism and machismo. exactly the type of blackly comic masterpiece the oscars would never be able to get their heads around

  • Comment number 79.

    "Robert Redford and Ordinary People winning best director and best film respectively, beating Raging Bull and Martin Scorsese"

    That's the one that springs to mind for me. I wonder if there's any correlation between age and what Oscar oversight seems most grievous. Like a rite of passage, realizing the fictional nature of certain seasonal characters, how old were you when you realized the Oscar's were rubbish? The oversight that brings that revelation about may always be the worst for you 'cause after that, it's just the rubbish Oscar's, remember the time they snubbed Marty (Scorsese, not the Borgnine movie)...

    Certain patterns emerge, voting skews because of the actors, Redford and Costner in the director's chair beat their betters. Films with good ensembles but less to recommend them otherwise. That happens with BAFTA as well, can anyone explain how The Help got a nomination for Best Picture? And let us not forget when Oscar's vote for the worthiness of your subject or role as opposed to the film and the performance.

    I was a bit galled by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy not doing better at BAFTA, while I liked The Artist, I think it is just supremely well crafted pastiche, where TTSS is a meticulously well constructed and brilliantly acted film, perhaps unfairly overlooked as its easy to shove it into the genre ghetto. You would think BAFTA would do more to honor their own, or did the Weinstein brain parasites get to them first.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hi Mark, one of the biggest oscar oversights for me was Jeff Goldblum not receiving a best actor nomination for The Fly. What an outstanding performance.

  • Comment number 81.

    The answer clearly must be: Martin Scorsese's SHUTTER ISLAND. Story, thrill and action are in such a balance, I cannot think of any film working that fine on all those, and other aspects.

  • Comment number 82.

    There's only one...ONE answer to this question: the ENTIRE 1995 awards ceremony in which the Academy thought Forrest Gump was better than not only Pulp Fiction, they also thought it was better than The Shawshank Redemption.
    Now, let's look at a few facts. On the IMDB, they have a "top 250 films" list. Sitting firmly in the number one spot on this list is The Shawshank Redemption. This list is voted for by regular people all around the world, not just critics and filmmakers, but normal working-class people as well. That means that the demographic of the damn *world* considers Shawshank Redemption to be the greatest film that has ever existed. Yet, somehow, the Academy thought a movie about a dude sat at a bloody bus stop was better.

  • Comment number 83.

    I think Nolan deserves all the plaudits, but I also genuinely feel that the academy play some serious strategies too. Aside from the fact the oscars sway to home talent more than any other award show, I think they're just 'saving' Nolan for later, like they did Peter Jackson to an extent. ROTK was for me the weakest of the trilogy. He should have had it for pt1 or 2. As much as I enjoyed the Departed; it was for a career well done . They may as well have made it a lifetime achievement award.

  • Comment number 84.

    There are many Oscar snubs in history, but here are the ones that really stood out for me.
    1. The Dark Knight not being nominated for Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. Now, I know you think it's not one of Nolan's best films, unlike most people, but I thought he, along with Johnathan Nolan and David Goyer, made that film with a lot of heart, intelligence and substance to get your teeth into. It's just as groundbreaking as Inception, and it is, as you said, an indie art-house movie posing as a hollywood blockbuster, that has been ignorantly subbed.
    2. Again similar to my first one, Christopher Nolan being snubbed for Best Director for Inception. That film was one of 2010's gemstones and not being nominated for Best Director is like, as you said before, nominationg Psycho for awards but not nominating Alfed Hitchcock.
    3. Now, this may be an unusual one to some people. Saoirse Ronan not being nominated for Best Actress in The Lovely Bones. I know a lot of people hated that film, but I thought it was perfectly decent and Ronan's performance was so moving, powerful and heartbreaking, that it had me in tears by the end of the film, even if it just her narration.
    There are so many to name, but those were the definitive victims facing the wrath of the Oscar omissions.

  • Comment number 85.

    Three clear stand out Oscar snubbs from the past two years:
    1. Tilda Swinton for We need to talk about Kevin, she was in a different stratosphere to everyone else yet somewhat didn't get nominated
    2. Noomi Rapace for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, an insult when they nominated Ronney Mara this who in my opinion doesn't hold a candle to Rapace's performance however did it in english
    3.Christopher Nolan for EVERYTHING HE'S EVER DONE!

  • Comment number 86.

    Of course, the Oscars are utter dreck. But I think the best film never even nominated for an Oscar is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

    Shelley Duvall should've got a best actress nomination for The Shining, I don't care what anyone says. Her performance in that film is utterly astonishing.

  • Comment number 87.

    Bill Murray and Mickey Rourke coming second.
    "They'll get another nomination"
    "It wasn't their time,"
    "They'll win it eventually!"

    Will they?

    Bill Murray is getting more and more selective about which golf courses he plays and Mickey Rourke always has some lighter fuel and a match on standby.

  • Comment number 88.

    Actually, for me the greatest example of a masterpiece that never even earned an Oscar nomination in Charles Laughton's "The Night of the Hunter". Probably just because it didn't garner much critical acclaim or money at the time.

  • Comment number 89.

    This one's easy - Martiin Scorsese 'Raging Bull, the Academy have been misguidedly trying to make up for it ever since.

  • Comment number 90.

    I have to say, last years complete snubbing of Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim, not just at the Oscars but at every award show. I mean, Scott Pilgrim had a very unique style and great music which should have put it in at least the longlist nominations in the technical awards and the script, which was really funny, should have been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Kick-Ass on the other hand was snubbed for one category in particular, no recognition at all for the performance of Chloe Grace Moretz for Best Supporting Actress for playing Hit Girl.

  • Comment number 91.

    Mark, this is the easiest question to answer and one with many (correct) answers, as you can see from above and probably bellow my comment.

    I'll give some more recent examples that still makes me wonder (even more) what's wrong with the Oscars:
    -No nomination for Anvil! The Story of Anvil in the documentary category (and this year nothing for Senna)
    -No nomination for Jonny Greenwood for his amazing score for There Will Be Blood

    And an old example:
    -No nomination for Rob Bottin's masterfull work on The Thing (1982) or Dean Cundey's cinematography for the same film.
    I know the film was a flop and hated by critics everywhere back then, but it's another example how people get it wrong and then years later they (audience and/or critics) start to admire.

  • Comment number 92.

    The Truman Show not being nominated for Best Picture along with Jim Carrey not being nominated for his incredible performance is the first one that springs to mind. And in the year that Gladiator won Best Picture, surely Memento not being nominated for anything other than its screenplay is an utter travesty?

    To be a bit controversial, a few people here have already stated that The Dark Knight not being nominated for Best Picture was a mistake. It wasn't. Wall-E not being nominated for Best Picture along with Andrew Stanton for Director for me personally is one of the most baffling decisions ever. There was nothing to touch it in 2008.

  • Comment number 93.

    Bob Hoskins was astonishingly overlooked for best actor in his role in Mona Lisa in 1987 (yes, I know the fact he was nominated means that this could be bending Dr K's rules slightly), but it remains one of the greatest acting performances in the history of film. My only crumb of comfort is that the great, much missed Paul Newman got the gong instead, only this is widely acknowledged to be a bit of a sympathy vote by the academy as he hadn't won one in his previous six or seven attempts

  • Comment number 94.

    Remeber Michael Mann's crime epic 'Heat'? Well, apparently the Academy didn't.
    That's right, in a year in which both 'Batman Forever' and 'Waterworld' received nominations of one kind or another, Michael Mann's masterpiece received....nothing, silch, nada. Not a single nomination for what has to be one of the finest films of the 90's.
    No nomination for De Niro's wonderfully understated performance, nothing for Dante Spinotti's beautiful photography, and of course, no nomination for Mann himself. Nothing for his wonderfully complex screenplay or top notch direction.
    I'm not sure what's more insulting, the fact that 'Babe' was nominated for best picture, instead of 'Heat' in that same year, or that the academy didn't even see fit to nominate 'Heat' for best editing and sound mixing. As anyone who sat through that bank heist sequence knows, it's the never ending percusion beat that plays throughout that scene that creates the nail biting dramatic tension as the heist unfolds.
    And what about the famous shootout in the street? Surely one of the best examples of sound mixing in modern movies, creating the ear deafining sound effect of gun shots that make audiences feel as if their truly hearing real guns being fired.
    That year it was Mel Gibson and his fairy tale version of Scottish history, 'Braveheart' that won best film and best director. Shame on you Academy, shame on you.

  • Comment number 95.

    King Kong (1933) is a glaring omission on Oscar's part, for me. Best Picture may have flattered it, but considering its legacy and protagonist's foundation for so much that followed, not least its (should we consider Kong androgenous?) 'east v. west' showdown with Godzilla, the fact it failed to earn a single nomination leaves me bewildered. I have to mention Fincher's Se7en too. It may have been nominated, albeit solely, for Best Editing, but that barely counts...

  • Comment number 96.

    P.S. Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter is a wonderful shout too. The decision, or lack of one, may have been hugely influenced by Laughton's vast inexperience as a director (I believe this was his first and last feature in the chair), but, my word, what a film.

  • Comment number 97.

    It has to be 2001: A Space Odyssey losing to Oliver. Shameless plug: we wrote a brief piece regarding this topic a few years ago, so give it a read if you're interested!
    -Safi, Cinephile Spoilers

  • Comment number 98.

    Christopher Nolan is the biggest one I can think of without trawling my DVD collection. Scorsese finally clinching the Oscar for one of his blandest films.

    Hell, what do I know I would have given one to Stallone for First Blood. :)

  • Comment number 99.

    The Guard; brilliant movie and Brendan Gleeson's performance had Oscar worthy written all over it... er, well, that is if one felt that the Oscars was about just acting.

  • Comment number 100.

    One nomination and a win at Cannes
    Five nominations and a win at the BAFTAs

    The Hill (1965)


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