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.
What Should Have Won: The Front Page
1931-2: Winner-Grand Hotel
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
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.
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
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
What should have won-The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
1949: Winner- All the King’s Men
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.
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, although a good argument could be made for Touch of Evil
1959: Winner- Ben-Hur
1960: Winner-The Apartment.
What should have won-Either Spartacus, Psycho or Inherit the Wind.
1961: Winner-West Side Story
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
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.
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.
1971: Winner-The French Connection
I agree, although a good argument could be made in support of A Clockwork Orange.
1972: Winner-The Godfather
1973: Winner- The Sting
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
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
1983: Winner- Terms of Endearment
What should have won- The Right Stuff
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.
1987: Winner- The Last Emperor
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
1993: Winner- Schindler’s List
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.
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
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
2010: Winner- the King’s Speech
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
2014: Winner- Birdman
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?