For all its prestige, the Oscars and public controversy go hand in hand. Whether its announcing the wrong Best Picture winner or struggling to find an actual host, every annual ceremony has arrived with its fair share of scandal and embarrassment, but no faux pas has been more frequent than the Academy's proclivity to ignore certain films from Oscar victories entirely.
While this year's noms prove the Academy Awards are making small steps forward, with Black Panther up for Best Picture, the history of the show has provided no small number of movies that were sorely excluded from receiving their well deserved recognition. So, in anticipation of the Oscars 2019 this weekend, why not look back at 30 incredible movies that were woefully ignored by the Academy? You won't believe some of the masterpieces that missed out on winning that famed golden trophy.
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.