In 1990, the Academy screwed up bad. Looking back, it becomes so obvious that Goodfellas was clearly the greatest film of the year, possibly of the decade. Being one of my all time favorite films, Martin Scorsese’s crime masterpiece will be remembered for years as an incredible film, while Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves was quickly forgotten.
While in itself not a bad movie, Kramer vs. Kramer still didn’t deserve to win Best Picture. Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is such a tremendous war epic, and the fact that it lost Best Picture is a disappointment to the entire industry.
Shakespeare in Love was definitely not the greatest movie of 1998. Life is Beautiful and Elizabeth were both fine nominations, but Saving Private Ryan seems to be a sure winner. Steven Spielberg’s incredible WW2 film should have easily beat Shakespeare in Love, but because of Harvey Weinstein’s vigorous campaign work, Shakespeare in Love got the statuette.
Chicago does definitely not belong in the same league as most other Best Picture winning masterpieces. Rob Marshall’s film should not have won over films like The Pianist, Gangs of New York, Lord of the Rings II, and The Hours. It fell short of almost all these other nominees in storyline, acting, and direction.
Citizen Kane is known to many as one of the greatest films of all time. In 1941, it may not have seen like a bad choice to give Best Picture to How Green Was My Valley instead, but looking back from 2012, most people would argue that Citizen Kane definitely should have won.
Sylvester Stallone’s film Rocky was a great sports movie. But Best Picture? In the same year such incredible films as Taxi Driver and Network were nominated, the Academy chose the wrong movie for the Oscar.
The King’s Speech is a typical Oscar winning movie. While finely made, it lacked originality and that spark that its competitors seemed to have. The Social Network was a far better film, as was Black Swan. Both of these should have beat The King’s Speech in the Best Picture category.
Perhaps the biggest shocker on this list, Paul Haggis’ Crash was a great film, but it lacked originality and the social critiques were not expressed as well as they could have been. In the same year that Brokeback Mountain, Munich, and Capote were nominated, Crash was definitely not the obvious choice.
In 1956 Around the World in 80 Days shocked many people by winning Best Picture over The King and I, Giant and the deserving winner The Ten Commandments.
Martin Scorsese has been called the director of the greatest film of the 1970s (Taxi Driver), the 1980s (Raging Bull) and the probably of the 1990s as well (Goodfellas). Raging Bull was not obvious to Oscar voters at the time, as the black and white boxing film seemed like a strange choice for Best Picture. Looking back, it was by far the best film of the year that has aged incredibly well as its themes – like so many of Scorsese’s films – are globally applicable and relatable.
The musical film Gigi beat The Defiant Ones and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Oscars, but perhaps the biggest mistake that year was that Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo was not even nominated.
The English Patient was not any better than its fellow nominee Jerry Maguire, and the Coen Brother’s Fargo but better than either of these movies and should have won Best Picture.
Certainly an interesting choice for Best Picture, Driving Miss Daisy beat Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society and My Left Foot.
Perhaps my favorite film on this list, Forrest Gump was a tremendous movie and I am not particularly bothered that it won Best Picture. However, other nominees like The Shawshank Redemption were tight competition. The only other nominee I think deserved the Oscar more in 1994 was Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Pulp Fiction.
Similar to Forrest Gump, The Hurt Locker was a good film and it isn’t shameful that it won Best Picture. That being said, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was a better movie, with some of the best written scenes I’ve ever seen. Had it been up to me, I would have given the Oscar to Inglourious Basterds.