Thankfully, this year’s Oscar nominations seem to have finally addressed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of recent years, but throughout the years, the Academy has found other ways to disappoint us with some of our favourite movies failing to pocket a gold statuette. This year Rogue One looks all set to join the list of high-profile movies that have been cruelly snubbed by the judges.
Last year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the third-biggest movie of all time, yet still found no love from the Academy, joining the likes of The Lego Movie (not even a Best Animation nod) and The Wolf of Wall Street (five nominations, no wins) in recent snubs. But did you know that neither did It’s A Wonderful Life, King Kong, The Terminator or The Shining win anything? Travesty. In fact, here are 30 movies that failed to impress the judges as much as they impressed us…
30. The Martian (2015)
The movie: Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) gets left behind on Mars and has to be inventive with poo to survive until his crew, led by the fierce Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) come to pick him up. An emotional, thrilling sci-fi blockbuster.
Was it even nominated: It was up for seven awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Damon, making it the third-most nominated movie of the year.
What it should’ve won: We’ve scienced the shit out of it and we firmly believe it deserved Best Adapted Screenplay over The Big Short. The movie version of Andy Weir’s bestseller managed to streamline the book, while remaining faithful and even improving elements.
29. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
The movie: James Dean plays Jim Stark, the titular rebel, who starts life afresh in a new town, where it's not long before he's making enemies.
Was it even nominated: Three nominations, not a single one of them for Dean, though he was nominated in the same year, posthumously, for East of Eden.
What it should’ve won: A posthumous Oscar for Dean would have been nice.
28. King Kong (1933)
The movie: Classic romantic monster movie, in which the titular beast, naturally, steals the show. And Ann Darrow.
Was it even nominated: Nope. Monster movies weren't exactly taken seriously back then, no matter how groundbreaking they were. Or how much they made you cry.
What it should’ve won: Best Film, surely. Does anybody even remember Cavalcade , the film that got Best Film instead?
27. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
The movie: More than 30 years after Return of the Jedi (1983), a worthy Star Wars sequel arrived that reunited us with the old gang and introduced some wonderful new characters. The collective sigh of relief from Star Wars fans could have been heard on Jakku.
Was it even nominated: While it missed out on any of the Big Five categories, it picked up five technical nominations, including Best Sound Mixing and Best Production Design.
What it should’ve won: Sure, it was sweet to see Ennio Morricone FINALLY win an Oscar for The Hateful Eight, but for the sheer joy of hearing a new John Williams Star Wars score should have won him Best Original Score for us.
26. Rear Window (1954)
The movie: Photographer Jeff (James Stewart) spies on his neighbours when he finds himself housebound with a broken leg. Has he just witnessed a murder?
Was it even nominated: Alfred Hitchcock was nominated for an Oscar six times over his career, but he never took home Best Director. Rear Window got him close, though, with a Director nom. Something, at least.
What it should’ve won: Best Director, obviously, though Best Sound would have been nice - the movie's aural landscapes are fantastic.
25. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
The movie: James Stewart's depressed businessman contemplates suicide, then discovers what life would be like for his loved ones if he wasn't around anymore.
Was it even nominated: Five nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director), but no prizes.
What it should’ve won: Stewart's unbridled performance should definitely have landed him Best Actor.
24. Mean Streets (1973)
The movie: Charlie (Harvey Keitel) attempts to climb the Mafia ranks in New York's Little Italy, but discovers it's not as easy as it sounds.
Was it even nominated: Nope; the Academy was far more interested in The Sting (and rightly so), A Touch of Class and Save the Tiger.
What it should’ve won: Robert De Niro deserved a Best Supporting Actor gong for his performance as the psychotic Johnny Boy.
23. Miller's Crossing (1990)
The movie: Prohibition-era thriller from the Coen brothers. Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) is caught between two gangs who are attempting to take control of the city.
Was it even nominated: Nope, it didn't receive a single nomination. Which is weird now, considering just how much the Academy love the Coens these days.
What it should’ve won: Barry Sonnenfeld's cinematography was worth of a trophy, while the Coens' script is easily strong enough to have won them a Best Original Screenplay gong. If they'd been nominated, of course…
22. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
The movie: Sergio Leone tracks the lives of New York gangsters as they rise through the ranks and revel in the Prohibition era (and beyond).
Was it even nominated: Not once. Sure, it's had a tortured post-production that's still on-going today, but that doesn't excuse the Academy for completely ignoring Leone's masterpiece.
What it should’ve won: How about everything? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor… This should have been an awards sweep.
21. Marvin's Room (1996)
The movie: When Bessie (Diane Keaton) discovers she has leukaemia, she attempts to rebuild her relationship with her sister (Meryl Streep) and her two sons.
Was it even nominated: Keaton was the sole recipient of a nomination in the Best Actress category.
What it should’ve won: Keaton, Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio are all fantastic, while Scott McPherson could've done with a Best Adapted Screenplay for his emotional but never saccharine scripting.
20. About Schmidt (2002)
The movie: When his wife unexpectedly dies, Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) goes on a road trip to his daughter's wedding.
Was it even nominated: Nicholson and Kathy Bates were both acknowledged by the Academy before being unceremoniously dumped in favour of Adrien Brody (The Pianist) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago).
What it should’ve won: Alexander Payne deserved a Best Director gong, and Nicholson put the effort in for what should have been his fourth Oscar.
19. Leon (1994)
The movie: Orphan Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is taken in by the titular assassin (Jean Reno) when her family's killed by Gary Oldman's maniac cop.
Was it even nominated: Weirdly, Luc Besson's movie didn't receive a single nomination. We can't think what possibly offended the Academy…
What it should’ve won: Best Actor for Oldman. Seriously. Why didn't he get this?
18. Shame (2011)
The movie: Sex addict Brandon (Michael Fassbender) traipses through New York looking for meaning (and conquests).
Was it even nominated: In a move as shocking as some of this movie's content, the Academy completely ignored Shame's existence. Prudes.
What it should’ve won: Best Cinematography, naturally, though Fassbender deserved a go at the Best Actor gong for one of the bravest, most affecting performances of the year.
17. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
The movie: Drama following the Grape family - among them Gilbert (Johnny Depp), who has to look after younger brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Was it even nominated: DiCaprio received a much-deserved nom for Best Supporting Actor.
What it should’ve won: DiCaprio definitely should have taken the Supporting Actor prize home. And he's still yet to bag that elusive Oscar over 20 years on, but that should all change with The Revenant...
16. The Shining (1980)
The movie: In Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel, Jack Nicholson heads to an isolated hotel with his family, where he starts seeing ghosts. Then he loses his mind…
Was it even nominated: Of course it wasn't. The Shining was released as a horror movie, and the Academy's famously snooty when it comes to that particular genre, except in the case of The Silence of the Lambs.
What it should’ve won: Best Actor. Could Nicholson have beaten eventual-winner Robert De Niro (Raging Bull)? Guess we'll never know…
15. Psycho (1960)
The movie: Norman Bates goes on the rampage in this classic shocker, which tackles everything from cross-dressing to cold-blooded murder.
Was it even nominated: Another Best Director nom for Hitchcock failed to bag him the award, while Janet Leigh garnered a Best Supporting Actress nod.
What it should’ve won: Leigh definitely deserved gold - she made what should have been a thieving harlot into a likeably flawed heroine you can't help but root for.
14. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
The movie: High-flying book adaptation set in a world of dragon-slaying Vikings where Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) befriends a dangerous dragon.
Was it even nominated: Yep, it earned two nominations - Best Animated Film and Best Original Score.
What it should’ve won: Best Animated Film. If only a little movie called Toy Story 3 hadn't been released that same year…
13. Stand by Me (1986)
The movie: Four friends go on a quest to uncover the body of a missing boy.
Was it even nominated: Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans received a nomination for their screenplay, but nobody else even got a look in.
What it should’ve won: Best Adapted Screenplay, obviously, though that none of its impressive young stars received a nod is a travesty. River Phoenix in particular could easily have gone for gold.
12. Memento (2000)
The movie: Guy Pearce suffers from short-term memory loss, which isn't going to stop him tracking down the man who killed his wife.
Was it even nominated: It received just two nominations for Best Film Editing and Writing. Not exactly the highest of praise.
What it should’ve won: Best Film Editing, without a shadow of a doubt. With its non-linear narrative, the movie still manages to hammer its point home, and when the credits roll you feel exhilarated rather than confused.
11. Heat (1995)
The movie: Epic crime noir from director Michael Mann in which Robert De Niro and Al Pacino go head to head. Sort of.
Was it even nominated: Nope. Despite being one of the best crime dramas ever made, for some reason the Academy didn't notice it even existed.
What it should’ve won: It would've been nice to see Val Kilmer get a Best Supporting Actor gong for this, and of course Dante Spinotti's cinematography is to die for.
10. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The movie: Wildly entertaining biopic of stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) from his rise through the ranks to his downfall as a result of fraud and corruption.
Was it even nominated: It picked up five nominations, including a Best Director nod for Martin Scorsese and a Best Actor nod for DiCaprio.
What it should've won: Sure, Matthew McConaughey is great in Dallas Buyers Club but, for us, DiCaprio should have had his first Oscar for the Quaaludes sequence alone which had us struggling to breathe.
9. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The movie: Quentin Tarantino's bloodbath of a debut feature, in which a heist goes wrong, then somebody has their ear cut off.
Was it even nominated: Tarantino's debut didn't receive a single nomination. It's OK, though - the Academy made up for their error by giving him a baldie in 1994 (for Pulp Fiction) instead.
What it should’ve won: Best Original Screenplay. Have you HEARD the dialogue in this movie?
8. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The movie: Festive chills from director Henry Selick, who presents an alternative Christmas yarn in which Halloweentown misunderstands the festive season.
Was it even nominated: It received a Best Visual Effects nom, but nothing else. Perhaps it was deemed just a little too odd (and dark) for the Academy.
What it should’ve won: "What's This?" could easily have swiped Best Song, while Selick undoubtedly deserved Best Director, if only because of the painstaking work involved in creating a stop-motion marvel such as this.
7. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The movie: Darkly magical fantasy from Tim Burton. Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) escapes his isolated castle and attempts to fit in with normal '60s society.
Was it even nominated: Stan Winston received a doff of the cap for Best Makeup, but everybody else was left scratching their heads.
What it should’ve won: Best Makeup should have been a shoo-in (damn you Dick Tracy), and Depp would have been a far more interesting choice over Jeremy Irons (who won Best Actor for Reversal of Fortune).
6. The Lego Movie (2014)
The movie: Ordinary guy Emmet (Chris Pratt) finds himself embroiled in the world-conquering plans of evil tyrant Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Inspired, inventive and with one of the best final act twists in years.
Was it even nominated: Everything is not awesome. The animation picked up a deserved Best Original Song nomination, but was scandalously overlooked in the Best Animated Feature Film category.
What it should've won: Sorry Baymax. We love you, yet The Lego Movie should have walked home with the Oscar comfortably, and we STILL can't work out why it wasn't even in contention.
5. Drive (2011)
The movie: Nicolas Winding Refn's slick, 80s-style crime thriller in which Ryan Gosling's Driver attempts to help his neighbour (Carey Mulligan), only to find trouble waiting…
Was it even nominated: Just one nomination for Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis's gorgeous sound editing.
What it should’ve won: Best Original Score (talk about atmospheric), and Gosling should definitely have been up for Best Actor - his is a tour de force performance of restraint.
4. Fight Club (1999)
The movie: The Narrator (Edward Norton) has his life turned upside down by Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), the founder of an underground fight club.
Was it even nominated: Just one nomination for Best Effects, which is a bit of a kick in the teeth considering the amount of talent involved in this one.
What it should’ve won: Best Cinematography (you can't deny it looks stunning) or Best Supporting Actress for Helena Bonham Carter.
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The movie: Adapted from Stephen King's novella, in which wrongly-imprisoned banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) attempts to escape jail.
Was it even nominated: Despite bombing at the box office, The Shawshank Redemption was nomination for seven Oscars, including Best Cinematography, Best Picture and Best Sound.
What it should’ve won: Best Picture or Best Adapted Screenplay, though we imagine Morgan Freeman was angling for that Best Actor gong, too.
2. The Big Lebowski (1998)
The movie: 'The Dude' Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is mistaken for a millionaire and has to accept a job to pay for the damage he does to the rich Lebowski's home.
Was it even nominated: Nope - the best the Coens got was a Berlin Golden Bear nomination.
What it should’ve won: Bridges deserved Best Actor, but John Goodman's scene-stealing performance definitely should have earned him a Supporting Actor award.
1. The Terminator (1984)
The movie: James Cameron's sci-fi epic, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger's future bounty hunter travels back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton).
Was it even nominated: Nope, but it DID win a clutch of Saturn awards. Which is just as good, right?
What it should’ve won: Best Special Effects, obviously, though Cameron's script is disarmingly lean and punchy, meaning a Best Original Screenplay should have been his too.