Though this year’s Oscars main controversy did not involve how the Best Picture was chosen, the awards ceremony saw plenty of shocks and upsets. “Moonlight” received a contentious win over “La La Land,” Casey Affleck won best actor for “Manchester by the Sea” over Denzel Washington and Ryan Gosling and “Suicide Squad” somehow managed to leave the building with an award in hand. This is hardly the first year in the long history of the Oscars to see upsets though. There have been many infamous Oscar snubs that still irk movie fans to this day. Here are three of the most tragic snubs that have been handed down by the Academy.
‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Dances with Wolves’ (1980)
Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert has famously said that Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” is a better organized crime film than “The Godfather.” After hearing such acclaim from the most respected movie critic of all time, it would be surprising to hear that the film actually lost the award for Best Picture to “Dances with Wolves.” While “Dances with Wolves” is a great film that still holds up today, it does not reach the pop culture influence that “Goodfellas” has. “Goodfellas” helped spur the litany of crime films that came out after it while also retaining memorable lines in the pop culture canon. It seems that the Academy had a difficult decision on their hands, but time showed that the wrong decision had been made.
‘Do The Right Thing’ and ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ (1989)
Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” is a powerful portrayal of racial tensions rising in 1980s Brooklyn over the course of one day. The film was lauded by critics who saw it as a wonderful representation of disillusionment with the Regan era. It was released to much controversy as some believed that the movie would incite race riots across the country. It was later submitted and accepted to the Library of Congress because of its cultural significance and thought-provoking message. Despite the wide praise, the film was not even nominated. The winner for that year’s best picture Oscars was “Driving Miss Daisy.” Spike Lee was the first to criticize the decision to leave his film out entirely in saying that it caused him to believe that the Oscars didn’t matter. Shortly after the release of the film, Lee went on to teach a course on filmmaking at Harvard University.
‘How Green was my Valley’ and ‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)
The Oscar snub to end all Oscar snubs. Considered by many to be the greatest film of all time, Orson Welle’s “Citizen Kane” only took home the award for Best Original Screenplay in 1941. The movie lost the awards for both Best Director and Best Picture to John Ford’s “How Green Was My Valley.” While Ford’s film has fallen out of the contemporary canon, “Citizen Kane” stands as a behemoth achievement in both its story and technical achievements. There have been many upsets over the years, but “Citizen Kane” takes the cake for the most universally agreed upon snub of all time.