10 Worst Oscar Travesties in History

  • March 02, 2014
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When it comes to the subject of movies, people are obviously going to have wildly varying opinions. After all, there’s a reason horrible movies like Grown Ups rake it in at the box office while more critically acclaimed films fizzle out and struggle to make back their meager budgets. But when it comes to rewarding the best of the best, sometimes you just have to wonder what the heck the people making the decisions were thinking.


Alfred Hitchcock Never Won Best Director

Arguably the most iconic director in history, Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense. He directed some of the greatest films of all-time, including Rear Window, The Birds, North by Northwest, and Psycho. You would think that somewhere along the way he would have won a Best Director Oscar, right? Well, you’d be wrong. Amazingly Hitchcock was denied a single Oscar in six nominations, and in fact he wasn’t even nominated for his incredible work in movies like North by Northwest, The Birds, or Vertigo.


Driving Miss Daisy Beat My Left Foot and Dead Poet’s Society

Hey, we’re not about to say that Driving Miss Daisy isn’t a fine film. It is, and it has some lovely performances by Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. But the fact that it won Best Picture seems utterly ridiculous in retrospect. This is especially true when you consider that the same year Driving Miss Daisy arrived, Dead Poet’s Society also hit theaters. It wasn’t the strongest year for film in history, by any means, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who prefers Driving Miss Daisy to the rousing, emotional, and flat out smart film Dead Poet’s Society, which featured perhaps the greatest performance in the long career of Robin Williams. Add in the fact that Miss Daisy also topped Field of Dreams that same year, and it’s clear it just, frankly, didn’t deserve the statue.


Al Pacino Beat Denzel Washington for Best Actor in 1993

Al Pacino has had numerous scintillating performances over his long and storied career. He should have won an Oscar long before he finally got one in 1993, with movies like Dog Day Afternoon and Godfather standing out as incredible and very deserving performances. Scent of a Woman, however, was not such a performance. It could easily be argued that Pacino’s performance in Scent of a Woman marks the exact time he went from being a real, diverse actor to a caricature of himself. Meanwhile, Denzel Washington gave perhaps the best performance of his career in the titular role of Malcolm X, and the fact that he didn’t win remains one of the biggest travesties in Oscar history.


Roberto Benigni Beat Edward Norton for Best Actor in 1999

Life is Beautiful is a very good film, there’s no denying it. And it was no doubt the performance of Roberto Benigni’s career that earned him the Best Actor statue in 1999. However, looking back it really feels like people were swept up in the subject matter of the film, along with the fact that it was a man known for slapstick comedy doing a Holocaust film, that pushed him into the win. Meanwhile, Edward Norton gave an absolutely career defining and sublime performance as a Neo-Nazi trying to turn his life around in American History X. It’s one of the greatest performances in decades, and it just feels like a crime that he wasn’t rewarded with a win.


Forrest Gump Beat Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption

We love Tom Hanks. You love Tom Hanks. Everyone loves Forrest Gump. But let’s face it, the movie has not aged well. People have begun to recognize the fact that while it was a high quality, ambitious movie, it was pretty corny and was arguably only the third best movie the year it came out, if that. That’s because 1994 was absolutely incredible for movies, with Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption – two of the best and most influential and beloved films of the last quarter century – each deserving the Oscar over Forrest Gump.