Each year the Oscar’s are full of surprises. This year was no exception with “Crash” winning the Academy Award for best picture over “Brokeback Mountain”, which was considered the favorite going in to the night’s telecast. Throughout the years, there have been a number of movie favorites that have been nominated for best picture but failed to take home the Oscar.
Dorothy’s trip to Oz garnered Oscars for music at the 12th Academy Awards. But “The Wizard of Oz” lost the best picture Oscar to “Gone with the Wind”.
The following year, “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Philadelphia Story” were best picture contenders. “The Grapes of Wrath” won Oscars for directing and Jane Darwell (supporting actress) while “Philadelphia Story” won for best screenplay and Jimmy Stewart (best actor). It was Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca”, however, that won the top prize.
Considered by some, in recent years, to be one of the greatest movies ever made, 1941’s “Citizen Kane” was a nominee for best picture at the 14th Academy Awards. The legendary Orson Welles went on to win an Oscar for the movie’s screenplay but film of the year honors went to “How Green Way My Valley”.
Although the story of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in “It’s A Wonderful Life” is a holiday classic, it wasn’t well received when initially released. The movie was nominated for several awards at the 19th Academy Awards but was shut out in each category including best picture, which went to “The Best Years of Our Lives”.
Edmund Gwenn won a best actor Oscar for his role as Kris Kringle in 1947’s “Miracle on 34th Street”. The film picked up two writing Oscars at the 20th Academy Awards but the top prize went to “Gentlement’s Agreement”.
Screen legends Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh starred in the infamous “A Streetcar Named Desire”. While both were nominated in their respective categories at the 24th Academy Awards, it was Leigh who won the Oscar. The movie also won for art direction, Karl Malden (supporting actor) and Kim Hunter (supporting actress) but best picture went to “An American in Paris”.
“The Ten Commandments”, “Giant” and “The King and I” were some of the contenders for best picture at the 29th Academy Awards. ” The Ten Commandments” won for special effects, “Giant” picked up the directing Oscar and “The King and I” received awards for art direction, costume design, music, sound and Yul Brynner (best actor). However, the best picture at the evening’s festivities went to “Around the World in 80 Days”.
Gregory Peck won the best actor Oscar at the 35th Academy Awards for his role as Atticus Finch in 1962’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The film garnered an art direction Oscar but the best picture award went to “Lawrence of Arabia”.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starred in 1963’s “Cleopatra” which won Oscars for art direction, cinematography, costume design and special effects. “Tom Jones” went on to win best picture at the 36th Academy Awards.
The Great White bit into the competition when “Jaws” picked up Oscars for film editing, musical score and sound at the 48th Academy Awards. Although it was nominated, it failed to pick up the best picture Oscar which went to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.
George Lucas’ first movie that took us to a galaxy far, far away was nominated for several Oscars at the 50th Academy Awards. “Star Wars” won for art direction, editing, sound, costume design, music, visual effects and a special award for sound. But “Annie Hall” took home the best picture prize.
At the 54th Academy Awards, “On Golden Pond” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” were considered favorites going into the show. Both movies picked up statuettes that evening including a best actor and best actress Oscar for Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, respectively. But it was the dark horse, “Chariots of Fire” that picked up the evening’s best picture Oscar.
Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. – Extra Terrestrial” remains a favorite film for many moviegoers. At the 55th Academy Awards, it picked up Oscars for music, sound and visual effects. When the best picture winner was revealed, it was “Gandhi” that walked away with the Oscar.
Whoopi Goldberg won a supporting actress Oscar for her role in 1990’s “Ghost” which also garnered a writing honor at the 63rd Academy Awards. It eventually lost out to “Dances with Wolves” for best picture.
“Pulp Fiction” and “Shawshank Redemption” were up for several honors at the 67th Academy Awards. While “Pulp Fiction” went on to win an Oscar for writing, both movies lost to “Forrest Gump” in the best picture category.
“Saving Private Ryan” was a favorite going into the 71st Academy Awards. It won Oscars for cinematography, editing, sound and Steven Spielberg (director). It was “Shakespeare in Love” that walked away with the award for best picture.
“Sixth Sense” starring Bruce Willis and “Green Mile” with Tom Hanks were up nominated in several categories at the 72nd Academy Awards. Both movies, however, walked away empty handed in all categories including best picture which went to “American Beauty”.
Peter Jackson’s first two installments of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy were both nominated for best picture. At the 74th Academy Awards “Fellowship of the Ring” won four awards but it was ultimately “A Beautiful Mind” that won the evening’s best picture Oscar. The following year, “The Two Towers” won two awards with “Chicago” walking away with the best picture prize. However, the third installment, 2003’s “Return of the King”, won the coveted award the following year.
The biopic film “Aviator” featured Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes and was a front runner going into the 77th Academy Awards. Over the course of the evening, the movie picked up five awards including a supporting actress Oscar for Cate Blanchett. It was Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” that won best picture.
Each year hundreds of movies come out of Hollywood. Those selections are whittled down to the five best picture Oscar contenders. With only one winner, some movie favorites will inevitably be passed over.