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30 Oscar-worthy movies that never won an Academy Award

20. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

(Image credit: Produzioni Europee Associate)

The movie: Clint Eastwood returns as the unnamed bounty hunter. This time, he's up against two ruthless killers – Tuco and Angel Eyes. 

Was it nominated? Upon release, critics frowned upon the movie's violence, leaving this epic Western completely unrewarded by the Oscars.

What it should’ve won: Another movie that has lasted the test of time. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly remains an all-time classic and should have picked up either Best Picture or Best Director for Sergio Leone.

19. Leon: The Professional (1994)

(Image credit: Les Films du Dauphin)

The movie: Orphan Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is taken in by the eponymous assassin (Jean Reno) when her family's killed by Gary Oldman's maniac cop.

Was it nominated? When you're a foreign language movie, let alone a violent foreign language movie, you're already at a disadvantage when it comes to the Oscars. so it's no surprise Luc Besson's movie didn't receive a single nomination.

What it should’ve won: Best Supporting Actor for Gary Oldman. His portrayal of an unhinged antagonist is spellbinding. 

18. Halloween (1978)

(Image credit: Universal)

The movie: John Carpenter’s influential slasher click sees Jamie Lee Curtis's innocent babysitter being stalked and almost murdered by the terrifying Michael Myers.

Was it nominated? As you may have guessed, this got absolutely nothing. The Oscars hated horror! And, arguably, still do – though the Academy has softened slightly towards spooky flicks. 

What it should’ve won: Carpenter is a masterful director, who turns the paradise of middle-class America into a frightening world filled with faceless killers. A Best Director win would have been well deserved.

17. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

(Image credit: Paramount)

The movie: This drama follows the Grape family – among them Gilbert (Johnny Depp), who has to look after younger brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Was it nominated? DiCaprio received a much-deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

What it should’ve won: DiCaprio should have taken the Supporting Actor prize home. He lost to Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive, a '90s action flick that really was completely OK...

16. The Shining (1980)

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The movie: Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel sees  Jack Nicholson head to an isolated hotel with his family, where he starts seeing ghosts. Then he loses his mind…

Was it even nominated: You guessed it. The Academy couldn't get over their hatred of horror even for maestro Kubrick.

What it should’ve won: Best Actor. Though, we should not, Robert De Niro won that same year for Raging Bull. That would have been one incredible Oscars race.

15. Psycho (1960)

(Image credit: Paramount)

The movie: Norman Bates goes on the rampage in this classic shocker, which tackles everything from cross-dressing to cold-blooded murder.

Was it nominated? Hitchcock picked up another Best Director nomination but failed to take home the award. Janet Leigh, the victim of that iconic shower scene, garnered a Best Supporting Actress nod.

What it should’ve won: Leigh deserved the gold – she made what should have been a thieving harlot into a likeably flawed heroine.

14. In the Mood for Love (2000)

(Image credit: USA Films)

The movie: Wong Kar-wai's modern classic about unrequited love between two neighbours in Hong Kong.

Was it nominated? Nothing. Though Wong Kar-wai did get a shoutout from Sofia Coppo when she won an Oscar for Lost in Translation – the iconic opening shot of that movie was heavily inspired by In The Mood For Love.

What it should’ve won: Best Foreign Language Film, though it would have been up again Pedro Almodóvar's All About My Mother. 

13. Stand by Me (1986)

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

The movie: Four friends go on a quest to uncover the body of a missing boy in this Stephen King adaptation.

Was it even nominated: Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans received a nomination for their screenplay, but nobody else got a look in.

What it should’ve won: Best Adapted Screenplay would be the obvious call, though the movie's impressive young stars are all remarkable. River Phoenix, in particular, is OScar-worthy.

12. Memento (2000)

(Image credit: Newmarket Films)

The movie: Guy Pearce suffers from short-term memory loss – though that certainly isn't going to prevent him from tracking down the man who killed his wife. Oh, and this is directed by Christopher Nolan, so expect some time-altering shenanigans. 

Was it even nominated: It received just two nominations: Best Film Editing and Best Original Screenplay. 

What it should’ve won: Best Film Editing, without a shadow of a doubt. With its non-linear narrative, the movie still manages to feel coherent, and when the credits roll you feel exhilarated rather than confused.

11. Heat (1995)

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

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: Despite being one of the best crime dramas of all time, the Academy basically pretended Mann's masterpiece never existed.

What it should’ve won: Val Kilmer would have made for a great recipient of the Best Supporting Actor award. Dante Spinotti's cinematography is also a highlight of this incredible movie.

Turn to Page 3 for more Oscar-worthy losers