I don’t always agree with the Oscars (actually, I often disagree), but often I can understand who won, as they are worthy. For example, I’d have picked Don Cheadle over Jamie Foxx last year, but Foxx was more than worthy for his performance in RAY. What I have below is a tri-fecta: I went back over the last dozen years with help from the Oscar Guy (and does this dude ever deserve a shout out), to find the Top Five Oscar Omissions, as well as the most glaring snubs (broken down into people and movies).
Top Five Oscar Omissions
#5 HOTEL RWANDA not nominated for Best Picture (2004) - The best film of the year, and the most important, and they couldn't nominate it.
#4 James Cameron not nominated for best Screenplay (1997) - I know revisionists like to bash TITANIC, forgetting how big it was, but how can a film garner 14 nominations and not the screenplay?
#3 HOOP DREAMS not nominated for Best Documentary, or even Best Picture (1994) - The Best Documentary of the decade, ignored by the Academy. Now the Documentary is a big deal, but back then they went out of their way to trash it.
#2 Djimon Honsou not nominated for AMISTAD (1997) - The only reason this isn't #1 is because all the nominees that year were so worthy. But I don't care. Honsou carried a film that should have been nominated for Best Picture, and carried it in a way that has rarely been achieved. It's a remarkable performance, and one that shouldn't have been ignored.
#1 THE USUAL SUSPECTS not nominated for BEST PICTURE (1995) - Also, where was Richard the III? At least that film was small, but THE USUAL SUSPECTS was a big hit. You're telling me THE POSTMAN, BABE and APOLLO 13 (all films I enjoyed) deserved to be nominated and THE USUAL SUSPECTS didn't?
TOP FIVE OSCAR SNUBS (PEOPLE)
Honorable Mention: Martin Landau over Samuel L. Jackson (1994) – Landau is so good in ED WOOD that I hate to mention this, but Jackson in PULP FICTION? I can live with this though because at the Cannes Film Festival Jackson got Best Supporting Actor….but they don’t have a Best Supporting Actor! They created an award just for him and his performance. You will know my name is Samuel L, when I lay my vengeance upon thee!
#5 Russell Crowe over Tom Hanks (2000) – I don’t think Crowe’s Maximus role was all that, and when you compare it to Hanks in CASTAWAY? The only reason Hanks didn’t win this was his two previous wins. You know, I can think of at least three performances better than the two he won Oscars for. I think Hanks needs his own top ten list.
#4 Mira Sorvino over Kate Winslet (1995) – I like Mira Sorvino’s performance, but there’s no comparison. Kate Winslet takes her role in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and crafts a total woman, and she’s on screen almost the entire film.
#3 Gwyneth Paltrow winning best actress over Cate Blanchett (1998) – I just saw Paltrow in PROOF, by the same director. She’s ten times better there, and actually deserves a nomination (that she didn’t get). A nomination for this role is fine, but winning over Cate Blanchett’s
#2 Tommy Lee Jones (THE FUGITIVE) over Ralph Fiennes (SCHINDLER'S LIST) (1993) – We all loved Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard in THE FUGITIVE. That “boat house, dog house out house” speech is a classic. But have you seen SCHINDLER’S LIST? Ralph Fiennes’s performance is scary in a new dimension. One of the ten best performances of the decade shouldn’t have been overshadowed by Tommy Lee Jones!
#1 Helen Hunt over anyone (1997) – I’m sorry, but there is no way her character in AS GOOD AS IT GETS deserved an Oscar. Everyone expected it to be Judi Dench for MRS. BROWN, or I would been happy to see Kate Winslet get a win for TITANIC, but Helen Hunt? Disgraceful.
Top Five Oscar Snubs (Movies)
#5 A BEAUTIFUL MIND over THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING or MOULIN ROUGE (2001) – MIND was a great film, but no way was it in the top five for the year. FELLOWSHIP was clearly the best film, but if the argument is you’re waiting for the third one to get done, why not give Best Picture to MOULIN ROUGE?
#3 GLADIATOR over CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON or TRAFFIC (2000) – I admit it, I got no love for GLADIATOR. But even if you’re on of the legion of fans, you can’t seriously think it’s better than CROUCHING TIGER or TRAFFIC, can you?
#2 FORREST GUMP over PULP FICTION or THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994) – I get that FORREST GUMP captured the imagination of the people, but come on! The only argument you can possibly give is that there were two powerhouse movies you could choose. Personally I’d choose PULP, the third best and most important film of the decade, but I am not blind to the SHAWSHANK argument, a fantastic film in its own right.
#1 SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Best Picture over SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) - The further we get from this the more angry I am. SHAKESPEARE was a wonderfully fun movie, a good time, all light and airy. PRIVATE RYAN changed the way movies were made. Watch them back to back and then tell me you don't want to throw up.