March 14, 2013, 1:49

Movies that should've but didn't win Oscars

It is the time of year, with Oscar season over and Argo having won Best Picture, that everyone takes time to remember all the amazing films that DIDN’T win the coveted prize.

Did some of these movies deserve it? Hell, yes. Are others put on a higher pedestal because they didn’t win? Perhaps.

But history is history, and what’s done is done. All I can say is these movies have contributed to the zeitgeist in ways the winners have either equaled or have clearly proven to be drunken mistakes.


(1939) “The Wizard of Oz”:

Whether it’s the songs, the sets, the dogs or green people, there is something from this film everyone knows. Shelling out for what was highly expensive color use, producer Mervyn LeRoy and director Victor Flemming created the first true imaginative, genre-bending blockbuster that has indeed skipped down the yellow brick road of immortality. Lost to “Gone With the Wind” (a movie about the people who created amazing peach pie).


(1942) “Citizen Kane”:

Considered one of, if not the, greatest movies ever made, it was directed, written, produced and starred (unheard of back then, or even today) Orson Welles. “Kane” dazzles from beginning to end with its camerawork, writing and ingenuity behind as well as in front of the camera. You will be pressed to find a Top 10 list without it. Lost to “How Green Was My Valley” (a movie about Welsh people).


(1976) “Jaws”:

Much Like “Kane” it’s nearly impossible to leave this masterpiece out regarding films that set a new standard for the medium and the reason we have a summer movie season to this day. Audiences flocked and critics gawked as one by one they were amazed at terrified at the mastery of Steven Spielberg’s direction. It remains today as a horror and adventure classic that continues to take the world by storm. Lost to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (a fantastic movie about fighting the system…and crazy people).


(1978) “Star Wars”:

Do I need to explain? It’s Star Wars, the movie that set and remains the bar not only for sci-fi movies but also pure, unabashed inspired cinema at its best. With groundbreaking visuals, a cache of unique characters and a surprisingly in-depth narrative structure, “Star Wars” has contributed more to the world of movies than any other. It continues to cause mass breakup and mother basement inhabitance to this day. Lost to “Annie Hall” (a movie about a Jewish man afraid of lobsters).


(1981) “Raging Bull”:

Most people think of “Rocky” and those ever-steep steps as the defining film and moment of the boxing genre. But Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” is the most dramatic, engaging and complex sports movie of all-time in its study of a real-life boxer, Jake La Motta. Robert DeNiro gave his best performance—famously gaining 50 plus pounds for the role—in a role that explores the consequences of anger, arrogance and selfish ambition in a heart-breaking fashion. Though it was initially critically panned for being “too sad,” it quickly earned praise and assured Scorsese a place as a living legend. Lost to “Ordinary People (a movie about whining).


(1982) “Raiders of the Lost Ark”:

Big-budget action movies are a dime a dozen. Some work, a lot don’t. But back in 1981 came an adventure movie from the heart. Inspired by all the classic series and adventure flicks of their youth, Spielberg and George Lucas brought Indiana Jones to the screen. Filled with legendary stunts, humor, a hunt for a real-life artifact (a trend they kept) and the creation of the greatest action hero in history played flawlessly by Harrison Ford, “Raiders” began something similar to “Star Wars”: A franchise from the heart that shows the power of making movies from the heart that infect everyone else’s. Lost to “Chariots of Fire” (a movie about running).


(1991) “Goodfellas”:

Another Scorsese classic, “Goodfellas” rivals the first two “Godfather” films as the perfection of the mafia story. The odyssey of a young Italian man’s ups and downs in the world of organized crime is authentic from head to toe, from laughter to murder and spaghetti scene to spaghetti scene. It’s the perfect crime story done perfectly well. Lost to “Dances with Wolves” (a movie about the dude from “Waterworld” not caring about Native Americans, then all of a sudden caring).


(1995) “Pulp Fiction” and “The Shawshank Redemption”:

It is very rare that two perfect movies lost the same Oscar year to a great movie. One was a mixture of stories that evoked a style and sound unseen in the movie world that is both funny and entertaining as it is brutal. Another was a story about survival, hope and friendship amid impossible and unfair circumstances. Both films proved masterworks from master directors (Quentin Tarantino and Frank Darabont) and expressed a clear love for the craft. Lost to “Forrest Gump” (a movie about a guy who saw way too much into chocolate).


(1999) “Saving Private Ryan”:

Losing the Oscar was one of the biggest crimes in academy history. Awarded and praised by critics, filmmakers, audiences and historians alike, “Saving Private Ryan” has been hailed as the greatest war movie of all time. From its mesmerizing opening to its exhilarating finale, “Ryan” displays the harshness and philosophy of war with more authenticity of any movie before or after it. Lost to “Shakespeare in Love” (a movie about a girl playing dress-up).


(2003) “The Pianist”:

“Schindler’s List” is considered the final word in Holocaust movies. Though as phenomenal it may be, “The Pianist” explored such a harsh time much more thrillingly and, more importantly, personally. A project from the soul of Roman Polanski (who lived through The Holocaust), this gripping story of survival echoed with truth and brought the first-hand account of pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman to stunning fruition. Lost to “Chicago” (a movie about singing prostitutes).

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