Best Picture and Better Picture: Movies That Should Have Won the Oscar but Didn’t

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Whenever the Best Picture winner is announced at the Oscars, sometimes we say, “Yeah, that deserved to win,” but then again, sometimes we say, “Huh? Are they kidding me?!” There are a lot of backstage politics and extenuating factors in Hollywood that can determine which film wins the big trophy. The worthiest film doesn’t always take the statue home. Going back over the 88-year history of the Academy Awards, we look at which films didn’t really deserve to win and the ones which rightfully should have won.

The Best Pictures and the Better Pictures:

 

1927-8: The Winner-Wings

What should have won: Sunrise (Sunrise was given a special award for Artistic Quality of Production, but it really was better than Wings and should have won Best Picture.)

 

1928-9: Winner-Broadway Melody

What should have won: The Circus (although several films from 1929 are lost, so one of them may deserve the win.)

 

1929-30: Winner-All Quiet on the Western Front

I agree with this one.

 

1930-1: Winner-Cimarron

What Should Have Won: The Front Page

 

1931-2: Winner-Grand Hotel

I agree.

 

1932-3: Winner-Cavalcade

What should have won: The Private Life of Henry the Eighth or King Kong

 

1934: Winner- It Happened one Night

What should have won: The Thin Man

 

1935: Winner-Mutiny on the Bounty

I agree.

 

1936: Winner-The Great Ziegfeld

What should have won: My Man Godfrey, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town or Modern Times were all better.

 

1937: Winner- The Life of Emil Zola

What should have won: Either The Good Earth or Snow White & the 7 Dwarves

 

1938: Winner- You Can’t Take It With You

What should have won: The Adventures of Robin Hood

 

1939: Winner- Gone with the Wind

What should have won: This was the greatest year ever for film. Gone with the Wind was a worthy winner, but equally worthy were Wuthering Heights, the Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Any of them could have won.

 

1940: Winner-Rebecca

What Should Have Won: The Grapes of Wrath

 

1941: Winner-How Green was my Valley

What should have won: Citizen Kane

 

1942: Winner-Mrs. Miniver

What should have won-The Magnificent Ambersons or Sullivan’s Travels

 

1943: Winner-Casablanca

I agree.

 

1944: Winner-Going my Way

What should have won: Double Indemnity

 

1945: Winner-The Lost Weekend

What should have won-Mildred Pierce

 

1946: Winner-The Best Years of our Lives

What should have won: It’s a Wonderful Life

 

1947: Winner-Gentleman’s Agreement

What should have won-Either A Miracle of 34th street or Great Expectations

 

1948: Winner-Hamlet

What should have won-The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

 

1949: Winner- All the King’s Men

I agree.

 

1950: Winner-All About Eve

I agree, although Sunset Blvd. was a great classic and could reasonably have won.

 

1951: Winner-An American in Paris

What should have won: A Streetcar Named Desire

 

1952: Winner-The Greatest Show on Earth.

What should have won- High Noon, the Quiet Man and Singin’ in the Rain were all better.

 

1953: Winner- From Here to Eternity

What should have won: This was a worthy winner, but a good argument can be made for Shane.

 

1954: Winner-On the Waterfront

I agree, although a reasonable argument could be made for Rear Window.

 

1955: Winner-Marty

What should have won: Either Rebel without a Cause or Mr. Roberts

 

1956: Winner-Around the World in 80 Days.

What should have won-The Searchers, although Giant and the 10 Commandments were also worthy to win.

 

1957: Winner- The Bridge on the River Kwai

I agree.

 

1958: Winner-Gigi

I agree, although a good argument could be made for Touch of Evil

 

1959: Winner- Ben-Hur

I agree.

 

1960: Winner-The Apartment.

What should have won-Either Spartacus, Psycho or Inherit the Wind.

 

1961: Winner-West Side Story

I agree.

 

1962: Winner- Lawrence of Arabia

This is a worthy winner but a good argument could be made for To Kill a Mockingbird.

 

1963: Winner-Tom Jones

What should have won-Lilies of the Field.

 

1964: winner- My Fair Lady

This is a worthy winner but a good case could be made for Dr. Strangelove.

 

1965: winner- The Sound of Music

I agree

 

1966: Winner- A Man for all Seasons

What should have won: Either The Sand Pebbles or The Good, the Bad & the Ugly.

 

1967: Winner- In the Heat of the Night

What should have won: Either the Graduate or Bonnie and Clyde.

 

1968: Winner-Oliver

This is a worthy winner but a good argument could be made for either 2001: A Space Odyssey or the Lion in Winter.

 

1969: Winner-Midnight Cowboy

What should have won: A worthy winner but you could argue for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

 

1970: Winner-Patton

I agree

 

1971: Winner-The French Connection

I agree, although a good argument could be made in support of A Clockwork Orange.

 

1972: Winner-The Godfather

I agree.

 

1973: Winner- The Sting

I agree

 

1974: Winner- The Godfather part 2.

What should have won: This is a very worthy winner, but you could make a strong case for Chinatown.

 

1975: Winner- One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I agree, although a strong argument could be made for Jaws or The Man Who Would Be King.

 

1976: Winner- Rocky

What should have won: This is a worthy choice, but you could also make a good argument for Taxi Driver or All the President’s Men.

 

1977: Winner-Annie Hall

I agree, although a strong argument could be made for Star Wars.

 

1978: Winner- The Deer Hunter

I agree.

 

1979: Winner- Kramer vs. Kramer

What should have won: Apocalypse Now

 

1980: Winner- Ordinary People

What should have won- Raging Bull

 

1981: Winner- Chariots of Fire

What should have won-Raiders of the Lost Ark

 

1982: Winner- Gandhi

I agree

 

1983: Winner- Terms of Endearment

What should have won- The Right Stuff

 

1984: Winner-Amadeus

I agree, although a good argument could be made for The Killing Fields

 

1985: Winner- Out of Africa

What should have won: This is a worthy winner but a strong argument could be made for The Color Purple and Witness.

 

1986: Winner-Platoon

I agree

 

1987: Winner- The Last Emperor

I agree

 

1988: winner: Rain Man

What should have won- Mississippi Burning

 

1989: Winner: Driving Miss Daisy

What should have won: This is a worthy winner, but you could argue for Henry the fifth or Crimes & Misdemeanors.

 

1990: Winner- Dances with Wolves

What should have won- GoodFellas

 

1991: Winner-Silence of the Lambs

I agree

 

1992: Winner-Unforgiven

I agree

 

1993: Winner- Schindler’s List

I agree

 

1994: Winner- Forrest Gump

What should have won- Pulp Fiction

 

1995: Winner: Braveheart

What should have won- Apollo 13.

 

1996: Winner: The English Patient

What should have won- Fargo.

 

1997: Winner: Titanic

What should have won: Not a bad choice but a good case could be made for As Good as it Gets and L.A. Confidential

 

1998: Winner: Shakespeare in Love

What should have won- Saving Private Ryan

 

1999: Winner- American Beauty

What should have won- Either the Sixth Sense or the Green Mile.

 

2000: Winner-Gladiator

What should have won- Traffic

 

2001: Winner- A Beautiful Mind

What should have won: This is a worthy winner but you could argue for either Gosford Park or Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.

 

2002: Winner- Chicago

What should have won-Either Adaptation or Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

 

2003: Winner- Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

What should have won- This is a worthy winner, but you could argue for Mystic River or Lost in Translation.

 

2004: Winner– Million Dollar Baby

What should have won—The Aviator, Ray, Eternal Sunset of the Spotless Mind and Sideways were all better.

 

2005: Winner- Crash

What should have won-This is a worthy winner but you could make a case for Capote or the Constant Gardner or Good Night and Good Luck.

 

2006: Winner- The Departed

What should have won: Letters from Iwo Jima, the Last King of Scotland, the Queen or Dream Girls were all better.

 

2007: Winner: No Country for Old Men

I agree

 

2008: Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

What should have won: This was a worthy winner but you could argue for the Reader, Frost/Nixon or the Wrestler.

 

2009: Winner- The Hurt Locker

I agree

 

2010: Winner- the King’s Speech

I agree.

 

2011: Winner- The Artist

What should have won: This was a worthy winner but you could also argue for The Descendants, the Help, Hugo and War Horse.

 

2012: Winner- Argo

What should have won: Either Lincoln or the Life of Pi.

 

2013: Winner- 12 Years a Slave

I agree

 

2014: Winner- Birdman

I agree

So those are the alternate suggestions for what should have won. What do you think about our list? Do you think the Academy usually gets it right or have a lot of deserving winners been cheated?