The glitz and glamour of The Oscars draws the biggest names in cinema and billions of viewers worldwide. Despite this the Academy doesn’t always get it right. We look at the 10 films that they criminally overlooked for the Best Picture Oscar
Taxi Driver (1976)
Martin Scorsese’s unflinching and compelling portrayal of an isolated taxi driver drifting through New York’s sinister underbelly remains one of the most captivating films of all time. The cinematography is stunning and the soundtrack gives a powerful sense of foreboding.
I don’t think post-Watergate America was ready for a film that gave such a brutal and damning portrayal of the American dream. Instead, they opted for a crowd-pleaser that would start to repair the nations’ morale.
Key moment: Who could forget the shot revealing Travis Bickle’s Mohican as he stared at the Presidential candidate he was plotting to assassinate.
What won: Rocky
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola’s haunting journey down the Vietnamese Nung River perfectly captures the madness of war. The shoot was every bit as chaotic and disorganised as the war itself, with tornados, lead actor replacements and a very overweight, under-prepared Marlon Brando.
Key moment: The king is dead, long live the king. The moment after the death of Colonal Kurtz when Captain Willard faces the tribe of followers.
What won: Kramer Vs Kramer
Quite how Kevin Costner’s tedious, monotone voice-over riddled Dances with Wolves won ahead of Goodfellas is still baffling! No matter how many times you watch Goodfellas you can’t turn it off. The trio of De Niro, Pesci and Liotta all give astonishing performances as we’re propelled through their rise and fall in the criminal underworld.
Scorsese masterfully tells their story, accompanied with excellent music and set-pieces like the tracking shot through the restaurant scene.
Key moment: When Henry Hill realises that his life-long friend Jimmy Conway is planning to kill him.
What won: Dances with Wolves
The Usual Suspects (1995)
From the onset you are thrown headfirst into this slick, complicated and absorbing ride. 5 notorious criminals are thrown together in a Police line-up and subsequently hatch an audacious robbery that leads them into the path of rumoured criminal mastermind Keyser Soze.
The five leads are excellent but Spacey steals the show as “cripple” Verbal Kint. He won as Oscar for Supporting actor and writer Chris McQuarrie also won for Best Screenplay.
This is a thrilling, compelling, complex and wonderfully acted thriller. It’s criminal that Braveheart won instead.
Key scene: The final scene, and if you’ve not seen it, I won’t ruin it for you. Watch it.
What won: Braveheart
The Coen brothers distinctive parable about a faked kidnapping gone wrong is one of their best films. The fact it could be so successfully adapted into the recent 10-part TV drama, gives an indication of its depth.
The film also looks stunning, with the stark landscape used to represent the troubling storyline.
Key scene: Willam H Macy’s character squirming under the pressure of the Detective.
What won: The English Patient
The Full Monty (1997)
This tale of unemployed steel workers trying to become strippers is one of the most successful Brit films ever. Simon Beaufoy’s script beautifully tip-toes between comedy and tragedy and poignantly portrays the emasculation of the men without ever patronising or becoming sentimental.
This is the ultimate feel-good comedy that never fails to inspire or amuse. My favourite line is after they’ve stopped Lomper from killing himself. “Of course I’m your mate, I’d run you over soon as I’d look at you.”
Key scene: The queue of men in the job centre dancing to “Hot Stuff”.
What won: Titanic
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
A captivating, true-story of a battalion of soldiers trying to find Private Ryan to inform him that his brothers are both dead. Tom Hanks leads a talented cast as the responsible for this flawed mission.
Key scene: The hail of gunfire the troops face when landing on the beach.
What won: Shakespeare in Love
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The first part of the LOTR trilogy is a good old-fashioned adventure story and was a breakthrough film in terms of scale and visuals. It may be a little slow to get going, but when the stories in full-flow the long running time flies by.
Key Scene: Gandalf’s battle of the staffs with Saruman.
What won: A Beautiful Mind
City of God (2002)
This tells the tale of two boys growing up in a violent neighbourhood in Brazil. One becomes a photographer, the other takes a more violent path. The film beautifully captures the way of life and shows the small margins between escaping the slums and being consigned to them forever.
Key scene: The character hiding in the trees overnight following a violent clash with gangsters.
What won: Chicago
District 9 (2010)
Neil Blomkamp’s thriller starts with an alien ship that appears over Johannesburg. The aliens are forced to live in segregation in the slums, clearly a reference to apartheid South Africa.
The simple and compelling story follows a Government Agent who, after being exposed to their technology, starts to turn into their species. It’s the classic story of the hunter becoming the hunted as he flees the Government as he tries to discover how to prevent his transformation before it’s too late.
Key scene: Agent Merwe communicating with the prawns and realising he may have a chance at reversing his condition.
What won: The Hurt Locker
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Written by Martin Stocks | @Stocks1986