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10 Great Movies That Lost Best Picture To Forgettable Winners

12 January 2016 | Features, Film Lists | by Dan Carmody


Regardless of popular opinion regarding The Academy Awards, the ceremony is arguably the most prestigious celebration of talent in the cinematic calendar. For the recipients of an Oscar, it is an accolade that remains connected to their work for the remainder of their career.

Now approaching its 88th ceremony, the top prize of the Oscars is awarded for Best Picture, an award that will, without fail, stimulate controversy and debate regarding the winner. As it is with the handing out any award, the chosen winner cannot be pleasing to everyone.

However, on occasion, there is an overwhelming consensus that the Academy has, as it is wont to do, awarded Best Picture to a steaming pile of piss simply due to the glow it gave off in the days and weeks leading up to the ceremony, preventing a film that will later prove to be more enduring and influential from being properly recognized as the Best Motion Picture of the year. With this in mind, here are 10 nominees for the Best Picture that lost to utterly forgettable winners.


10. Raging Bull (1980) (Lost to Ordinary People at the 54th Academy Awards)


Following the turbulent life of boxer Jake LaMotta, the biopic “Raging Bull” was the fourth collaboration between the infamous acting and directing duo, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese.

This was the first film of a new decade together, succeeding their work in the 1970’s on “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver,” and “New York, New York.” This was a passion project for De Niro, having read and been fascinated by LaMotta’s memoir, and despite Scorsese’s initial scepticism, the pair went on to produce one of the finest American sports films of all time.

Adapted for the screen by “Taxi Driver” screenwriter Paul Schrader, the film follows the aggressive and self-destructive boxer Jake LaMotta, a man full of demons, pent-up anger, and animalistic instincts, the very traits that led him to success in the ring while torpedoing his personal life with his spouse (played superbly by Cathy Moriarty in her first feature length role).

The modern classic is flawlessly acted by the entire cast and the film is beautifully shot in black and white, only adding to the dark and gritty demeanour of the piece. It is both visually stunning and narratively gripping, and despite its poor box office take due to a lack of advertising and a number of polarising reviews, “Raging Bull” went on to become critically acclaimed. It was nominated in eight categories at the Oscars, including all acting classifications, directing, cinematography, and Best Picture.

Despite Robert De Niro picking up the Best Actor award, the film itself lost to Robert Redford’s drama “Ordinary People,” which circles around the emotional strains on a family following a loss so close to home.

Starring Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore, “Ordinary People” is an incredibly well-paced and thoughtful drama, full of heart and honesty, yet it lacks the emotional punch that allows great films to endure over the years. Based on Judith Guest’s first novel of the same name, the film falters upon repeat viewings and is far from the unforgettable piece of art it was once considered to be.

“Raging Bull,” by contrast, has been passed on through the generations, adored by many and generally considered to be one of the best and most influential films of its decade. A powerful and expertly executed character study of a flawed sportsman celebrated within the limelight, yet damaged behind closed doors, the film is has stood the test of time in precisely the same way that “Ordinary People” has proven to be, well, just plain ordinary.


9. Apocalypse Now (1979) (Lost to Kramer vs. Kramer at the 52nd Academy Awards)

Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola’s nightmarish Vietnam War epic was a significant and highly relevant piece of cinema upon its release, ambitiously depicting the horrors of the Vietnam War and the distresses it placed upon soldiers who served there. At the core of the film, Martin Sheen’s character, Captain Benjamin L. Willard, is sent on a secret mission deep into the Viet Cong to assassinate the assumed U.S. Army deserter Walter E. Kutz, portrayed by an unsettling Marlon Brando.

Based on Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness,” “Apocalypse Now” is a profoundly troubling story of the inhumane acts of war and what it can do to the sanity of those who witness such events. Cut down from months of recorded footage, Coppola’s chaotic film spirals into madness and can be a difficult watch. Picking up the Palme D’Or, the top prize at Cannes Film Festival, it was critically applauded upon its release, heralded for its relevant themes, and its stunning visuals.

An incredible filming achievement despite the many issues it suffered during production and release, “Apocalypse Now” has remained one of the most adored and cherished war films of all time, and yet it missed out at the 52nd Academy Awards to drama “Kramer vs. Kramer.” A film which depicts the divorce between the title couple, skilfully portrayed by Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, “Kramer vs. Kramer” has little else of note. ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ is a drama that barely goes beyond what many others have achieved before it.


8. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (Lost to Forrest Gump at the 67th Academy Awards)


Based on Stephen King’s novella, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” the film revolves around the prison, Shawshank State Penitentiary. Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, is a man who found guilty of murdering his unfaithful wife and her lover, and despite his claims of innocence, he is sentenced to life within the titular prison.

Written and directed by Frank Darabont, “The Shawshank Redemption” is an enthralling rollercoaster story depicting Andy Dufresne’s time incarcerated, a film which is ambitiously full of characters and story arcs that are enriched with complexities and depth. A powerful drama that has as many fist pumping high points as it does heart breaking moments throughout, the tale is brought to life by a host of incredible actors all in fine form, including Morgan Freeman as Robbins’ co-lead, Bob Gunton, and William Saddler.

The 67th Academy Awards was occupied by high-calibre competition. Alongside “Shawshank Redemption” was Quentin Tarantino’s crime masterpiece “Pulp Fiction” as well as Robert Zemeckis’ “Forrest Gump,” the film that could claim the Best Picture prize. Very loosely based on Winston Groom’s novel of the same name, “Forrest Gump” is a heartfelt romantic comedy, depicting the slow witted titular character and his time through the 20th century, as he witnesses and influences several key moments within history.

Despite the enjoyable, feel-good nature of ‘Forrest Gump’, and its remarkable technical wizardry and editing achievements still adored today, it did not at the time, and does not today, come close to competing with other films within the Best Picture category. Notwithstanding it being a justified contender in the technical and acting categories, it was severely lacking the profundity or audacities to be considered as the best film of the ceremony when placed against other influential pieces such as “Shawshank Redemption.”


7. My Left Foot (1989) (Lost to Driving Miss Daisy at the 62nd Academy Awards)


Without question one of the greatest method actors of all time, Daniel Day Lewis prepared for his role as the paralysed Christy Brown by bounding himself in his wheelchair throughout production, refusing to walk, and having crew members carrying him around set and spoon feed him. First time director Jim Sheridan knew that Daniel Day Lewis was the man to portray the Irish writer and sufferer of cerebral palsy, a man only in control of his left foot.

The film in which Daniel Day Lewis picked up his first of many Best Actor achievements at The Academy Awards, “My Left Foot” is an uplifting and inspirational tale of a working-class man who had nothing, and yet went on to become a great writer and artist. Its emotional context is consistently thoughtful and moving. Adapted for the screen by Jim Sheridan and Shane Connaughton, it remains respectful of its source material.

A low-budget piece of cinema which was both sentimental and enthralling throughout, it was beaten to the Best Picture prize by Bruce Beresford’s civil rights-motivated drama-comedy “Driving Miss Daisy,” which involves the perpetually developing relationship between an ageing Jewish widow who gradually begins to accept her African American chauffeur, eventually forming a friendship.

Based on Alfred Uhry’s prize-winning play, it is filled with poignant sentimentalities and interesting themes, wonderfully achieved by its two leads, Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy. Yet despite its thoughtful nature and feeling of warmth upon release, it has since become stale over the years, whereas the extraordinary “My Left Foot” is still highly renowned as a beautiful and inspiring character study, proficiently shot by Jim Sheridan and fascinatingly performed by its leading actor.


6. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) (Lost to A Man for All Seasons at the 39th Academy Awards)

Whos Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (1966)

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” depicts a crumbling marriage between Martha, the psychologically tormented wife, and her husband, George, an angry man failing in his career. Both magnificently rendered by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who produce incredible chemistry throughout as the warring couple, the characters are fuelled by alcohol and their bitter resentment for one and other.

With a supporting cast including George Segal and Sandy Dennis, it was helmed by Mike Nichols, who at the time of production was a stage director, being brought on board for this black comedy which was adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman from the play of the same name, originally written by Edward Albee.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is one of only two films to be nominated in every single category it was eligible for throughout the history of the Oscars, as well as being the first film to pick up nominations in every Best Acting classification. Although heavily praised by audiences and critics alike, it fell short to another stage adaption, “A Man For All Seasons.”

Directed and produced by Fred Zinnemann, “A Man for All Seasons” was a British biographical drama production, written for the screen by Robert Bolt, who had originally written the play of the same name. The story centres on the tragic hero Sir Thomas More and his refusal to sign a letter to the Pope with the request of annulling the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragorn. Incredibly well-acted by Paul Schofield as the King’s chancellor, a man with strong morals who stood up for what he believed in.

Although an adored piece of British cinema, it is one that over the years has not held up against “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” which stands as a monumental point in black comedy history, becoming an influential and ground-breaking film that has been heralded as a huge inspiration by many other directors since its release, a truly flawless film towards the culmination of the black and white era.



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  • Brandon Thompson

    So if Forrest Gump is so forgettable why whenever I go for a run people will say “run Forest run!”

    (i’m not saying it was the best movie of 1994 but it wasn’t the most forgettable)

    • cinemaomyheart

      Also How Green Was My Valley and Kramer vs. Kramer are not Forgettable

      • sailor monsoon

        How green was my valley is only remembered for being the film that beat citizen kane

        • Pica Lima

          yes, John Ford was a nobody, we only know him because of Orson Wells… 😛

          • sailor monsoon

            John ford is not remembered for how green was my valley

          • Pica Lima

            remembered by whom? i remember him for a lots of movies and How green was my valley it’s definitely one of them. and i not alone on this, i’m sure…

          • Felix Mendelssohn

            John Ford won 4 Oscars for best director, a record.

        • Tobias Palma

          How green is was my valley is one of those movies that would be more remembered if its director didn’t make other few masterpieces like Stagecoach, The Man who shot Liberty Valance or The Searchers. Besides, the fact that John Ford was so widely associated to western might be another reason. But this film is, at least, as good as the others.

        • Marc Sober

          Have you ever even seen How Green Was My Valley?

        • Joseph Finn


    • MDS

      some might be better than others, but hell no Forrest Gump is not forgettable, its pretty darn good

    • Chito

      That year it was a two movie race, and Shawshank Redemption wasn’t one of them.

      Pulp Fiction was the one that was winning all the Best Picture awards from the critic circles.

      • Brandon Thompson

        Indeed, Pulp Fiction is a movie that comes around about once in a generation. It was something special and not oscar baity.

        Shawshank Redemption is overrated but not a bad film. It’s for your regular movie goer, it’s a nice movie and nothing more where as Pulp Fiction was not only entertaining for people who aren’t cinephiles but it was also a technical achievement on several levels (directing, acting, editing and most importantly writing).

        I haven’t seen many Shawshank Redmption or Forrest Gump imitators but I have seen plenty of Pulp Fiction ones

        • Harsha Raman

          Eloquently articulated!

      • Relf

        Pulp Fiction is extremely overrated

    • Manoj Varughese

      I’ve never seen Forrest Gump but Shawshank Redemption like 2 to 3 times

  • Lokesh Waran

    Avatar to the hurt locker

    • Samantha Bryans

      Avatar was horrible!! Personally my favorite movie that year was An Education, followed by Up in the Air. Neither had a chance of winning though.

      • Lokesh Waran

        Up in the air was an amazing movie!

    • Orin Ivan Vrkaš

      Lol, stop trolling bro.

    • Mohit Kumar

      Totally Agree! Avatar was a total piece of garbage. Just the eye candy for kids but no story material worth watching, bland characters

    • Ahmed

      everything on the nominations list was better than the bloody Hurt Locker.

    • montyburns

      Avatar was better when it was called Dances with Wolves (not that Dances with Wolves deserved Best Picture either).

      • Speedbird_9

        “Dances with Wolves in Space” is what I called Avatar. Or “John Carter on Pandora” – before “John Carter” was released. For the record, I prefer John Carter to Avatar.

        • Kevin

          Funny. I always called Dances with Wolves “Enemy Mind” in space. (remember that one? Lou Gossett JR as a klingon? Same story line same plot even shared similar lines and revelations).

  • Tobias Palma

    So… Crash, Forrest Gump and How Green Was My Valley are now forgettable movies??????

    • Punished Fox

      Crash bloody is, but I guess the title should’ve been “…that lost to undeserving movies”

      • Tobias Palma

        or ‘less deserving movies’, but that’s my point exactly. poor selection of words in the title.

    • Klaus Dannick

      I not a fan of Forrest Gump, but (1) it’s far from “forgettable” and (2) it’s an Academy Best Picture if there ever was one.

    • Hernan Paz

      Of course it’s very subjective. I am one of the few people (on Earth, apparently) that didn’t like Forrest Gump. Crash, I enjoyed, but, best picture? How Green Was My Valley I still haven’t seen although I suspect is no match for Citizen Kane.

      • Tobias Palma

        The problem is to compare movies. I liked HGWMV far more than CK, which I hate. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognise its immense value to film story.

        The mistake in the premise of this list is that one of two films is ‘forgettable’. Which one is better is totally up to whoever wants to create unnecessary polemics.

    • kingcole225

      Even the director of Crash apologized for winning the oscar that year:

  • Klaus Dannick

    I’d hardly call Crash, Kramer vs. Kramer, or Shakespeare in Love “forgettable”. On the other hand, Brokeback Mountain, nicely-made as it is, has all the depth of a vapid romance novel.

  • Mariana Tineo Blanco

    The Social Network to The King’s Speech. Still mad about it.

    • Tiago Fernandes

      Really? The King’s Speech was kind of boring but overall I think its really a great movie. May be forgetable though.

    • cinemaomyheart

      both great films

    • Cygnifier

      I’d argue that The King’s Speech will outlast The Social Network. I’ve watched King’s Speech dozens of times (I use it in a class I teach) and find something new that is excellent each time in terms of dialogue, acting style, cinematography, set design, etc.

      • Mariana Tineo Blanco

        I’m not saying it’s a bad film, it is great in all the aspects you mention, but ultimately forgettable. The Social Network is a film, in my opinion, that has defined a generation and a period of American cinema.

        • Henry Rafael B. Posadas

          I prefer the King’s speech.

    • Orin Ivan Vrkaš

      I always thought King’s Speech to be the most boring good film ever made 🙂

      • Henry Rafael B. Posadas

        Boring? Maybe to you.

    • Harsha Raman

      True story.

    • neiba

      Well both deserved to lose to Black Swan!

    • Nathan Thompson

      I LOVED the King’s Speech. I felt like I found an unforgettable gem with that one.

  • Driving Miss Daisy is an overrated piece of shit. Here’s one, Traffic losing to Gladiator. Gladiator is also overrated.

    • Speedbird_9

      Concur about Gladiator. But my Best Picture choice was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tiger over Traffic

  • Anton Chigurh

    – I started reading the article
    – I reached #8 (Shawshank Redemption/Forrest Gump)
    – I scrolled up to check again the title
    – I noticed the word “forgettable”
    – I stopped reading

    • Ahmed

      Now the Anton Chigurh I know would set this webpage on fire.

  • André Gustavo

    Even more scandalous for me are great pictures that weren’t even nominated, like 2001, in a year when what won the Best Picture award was something like that Oliver! movie nobody even talks about anymore.

    • Matthew

      Yup, this needed to be over that Forrest Gump one.

  • Prince Purple

    You lost me at Pulp Fiction (overrated). Did not have to read after that!

  • FlixtheCat

    Ordinary People is an excellent drama, as was Kramer vs. Kramer.

  • Abhishek

    Pianist lost to Chicago

    • Mohit Kumar

      Finally someone who admire The Pianist – Man! Once I started the movie I couldn’t sleep without finishing it, it was 2:00A.M. in the morning

    • Nathan Thompson

      That movie was brutal–there’s no way Chicago should’ve beat that.

  • Harris K Telemacher

    Pulp Fiction. Overrated? Taste of Cinema you need to start editing your shit because some of your writers are hurting your credibility. Yeah be provocative. Back up a controversial opinion. But this is just retarded.

    • DanCarmo

      That was actually an addition by the editor not the writer.

  • Chrisychipz

    Pulp fiction is not overrated, it’s amazing. Forest Gump is the one that’s overrated

    • Mohit Kumar

      Pulp Fiction is legendary movie – there are so many great things about it. Forrest Gump definitely didn’t deserve the award but it’s a nice watch – but so far I’ve seen it only once. Never had the urge to watch it again – OTOH – I’ve watched Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption plenty of times.

  • Chrisychipz

    Pianist lost to Chicago. Where’s that??

    • Mohit Kumar

      Yup! The Pianist is by far the best War movie in my opinion and after this I put “Atonement” as the 2nd best War movie

      • Chrisychipz

        Yeah they’re both great, The Pianist being in my top 5 war films. My other favorites are The Thin Red Line, Come and See, Apocalypse Now and Ivan’s Childhood

        • Mohit Kumar

          Wow! Haven’t seen any of the ones you mentioned. Gotta find them now – it’s gonna be a nice weekend!

        • Nathan Thompson

          The rest we can agree on, but The Thin Red Line was a huge disappointment and I wished it had never been made. I hated that pretentious crap more than any movie in existence. Sorry, but it just struck me the wrong way…

    • Joseph Finn

      In the “completely fair losses” category.

      • David Monroe Ward

        Ugh. Chicago was unendurable for me.

  • Orin Ivan Vrkaš

    If you’re talking about Saving Private Ryan, you should be taking into account Thin Red Line that came out the same year and may have been a factor in the decision to award Shakespeare with the Award. Deciding between two masterpieces that tell strongly differing tales of war could have prompted a third route that was Shakespeare In Love. That being said, I don’t see how Saving Private Ryan is there as a wronged film and Thin Red Line is not even mentioned. Needs work.

  • Miro M

    Good list. In the heat of the night was a great movie. However Graduate was better!

  • Rudi

    I agree with all of them, except the Dances With Wolves entry. One of the best modern westerns made, a true epic.

    On that note, the Oscars are pretty forgettable themselves. 8 out of 10 times the clearly best movie of the year loses out to a meh-movie about either a sickness, the movie industry or a drama where the drama is more important than the quality of the movie.

  • Ivan Galić

    Forrest Gump, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Dances with Wolves and Crash are forgettable movies? Brokeback mountain is a forgettable movie. Thematically not so, but as a movie, nothing special.

    • ktah

      If you watch Brokeback Mountain with any inhibitions it can come across as a boring and drawn out movie. If you watch Brokeback Mountain without any inhibitions it is an emotionally stunning movie that can make you feel heartbroken for days afterwards.

    • Phoenix Ramsey

      Brokeback is great simply for showing two 3 dimensional characters falling in love.

  • Maximus Decimus

    thanks, Pulp fiction is definitely overrated .

  • I don’t agree with every comparison on this list, but I think a good point that this article is making is that the lasting impression a film has over time will dictate the difference between the “best” films and the ok ones. An exceptional film doesn’t only exist in the year it was released, it’s relevance and power will transcends years, decades.

    Prime example, 1969 Oscars. All the “Best Picture” movies are pretty much all forgettable. Oliver! won…enough said. Meanwhile 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was completely snubbed (ok so it won Best Special Effects, that was basically just handed to them) but is now considered one of the most important films of all time, and is being taught in cinema studies and film history classes all over the world. Time will tell which movies will deserve to be called “Best”.

  • Henrik Öfjäll

    Hahaha .. I like this list, I’ve seen the winners and they are pretty boring. The titel of the list is maby not totaly right, but the spirit of the list is true.

  • wendell ottley

    I’m another for putting Pulp Fiction in the place where you have Shawshank. I really like Shawshank, but PF is a groundbreaking achievement and has spawned legions of imitators. It really has changed the way movies are made.

    I love The Graduate, but I would hardly call In the Heat of the Night forgettable. Thise are two I put pretty much on an even keel. Besides that another seminal film wss nominated that year, Bonnie and Clyde.

    I’m not a fan of either Brokeback or Crash. The former was boring as all hell and the latter was a complete mess. Therefore, I would’ve avoided that year for something else, maybe Raiders of the Lost Ark losing to Chariots of Fire in ’81.

  • Pica Lima

    So, for you, How Green Was My Valley, In the heat of the night, Dances
    with wolves and Forrest Gump are “forgettable”… It could
    have been an interesting list, but you’ve killed it with that word…

  • dman131

    This list has all the standard fare on it. The one that’s missing is still Star Wars vs Annie Hall. Annie Hall = infinitely forgettable and forgotten. I will never understand the love for Goodfellas and The Graduate either.

    • montyburns

      Annie Hall was forgotten almost as soon as the speeches were over. Regardless whether one is a Star Wars fan or not, its continuing cultural impact is undeniable. Star Wars is one of those once in a generation type of movies that become timeless classics. This one ranks with Citizen Kane losing out.

      • dman131

        That is exactly what I was kind of alluding to. I am not saying Star Wars is necessarily the greatest film of all time, but really to pretend that it hasn’t had an unbelievable impact on the world and the film watching community makes no sense. I also agree completely on Kane.

    • kingcole225

      This is the worst opinion I have ever heard. Annie Hall is more than a classic. It’s one of the single most influential films of all time. It essentially recreated the entire genre of romantic comedy. Star Wars did nothing but use the traditional Knight story in a science fiction setting, and beyond that, it wasn’t even the best Star Wars movie, let alone better than Annie Hall.

      • dman131

        You’re either brain dead, cut off from regular society or simply ignorant of the world around you. Woody Allen did nothing to the rom-com genre with this film or any other. Romantic comedies have been pretty much unchanged since the silent era and films like Street Angel. The impact of SW is so undeniable along with Jaws they completely redefined the entire film industry calendar. I am happy for you that you like AH but it’s nothing like SW and my point stands.

        • kingcole225

          Go find me another film that catalogs an entire relationship like Annie Hall does, is as realistic and insightful as Annie Hall is, and is as beautifully composed as Annie Hall is, while remaining both intelligently comic and absurdist at the same time. Not Street Angel, not City Lights, not Philadelphia Story, not The Lady Eve, not Marty, not Roman Holiday, nor Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice does what Annie Hall does. Annie Hall is the Winter’s Tale of Hollywood romantic comedy, and at this point we’re not even delving into the fact that the film is perfectly constructed moment to moment, evolving absurdism into magical realism and simultaneously developing an incredibly elegant love story between two people that were so indicative of their time that the film influenced entire other artistic fields and remains a social phenomenon in the exact same way as Star Wars, except with undeniably better execution. The fact that you think Romantic Comedies have been the same for an entire century that features films like the ones I’ve mentioned shows how little you actually know about the genre.

          Don’t talk about something you don’t know.

          • dman131

            Ok. Go find me a movie in the history of all cinema that has had an impact on the world and society the way Star Wars has. Their influence stretches from literary to games to the way film and television are made to theme parks to merchandising to – yeah you get the point. SW changed the entire industry not just a genre. NO Rom com has every even come close to it and never will no matter what you think of any of those films – they’ll never even be on the same stage.

            I look at it like this. It doesn’t diminish John Denver as an artist that he’s not the Beatles but you can’t deny where they each place in musical history.

            So maybe you shouldn’t talk about something you don’t know.

          • kingcole225

            I’ll say this again, Star Wars may have had a cultural impact, but it isn’t as well-made as Annie Hall and it isn’t as original as Annie Hall. Annie Hall had a large cultural impact as well, and it was a better film. Claiming that Star Wars is better than Annie Hall is like the romantic comedy equivalent of claiming that Star Wars is better than The Godfather (a particularly good example because both Annie Hall and The Godfather are masterpieces from the great cinematographer Gordon Willis.) Sure, I bet more people have seen Star Wars than The Godfather, but it’s insane to use that as a reason for why it’s better. The Godfather has a large cultural impact and is a… basically objectively better film. Annie Hall has a large cultural impact and is a… basically objectively better film.

            Among great critics and directors, I wouldn’t even hesitate to say that Annie Hall is the more influential film. If you look at the Sight and Sound poll, which is preeminent poll that contacts the biggest film critics, geeks, and directors in the business for their top ten films, you’ll find that Star Wars isn’t even on the list of the 250 best movies, while Annie Hall is number 127 for critics and 132 for directors.

          • dman131

            Where’s AH on the asses in seats list? Oh yeah.. it’s not there. I’ll go with the folks that voted with money – not art critics that live in an echo chamber and continuously peddle the same lists of films over and over. AH is NOT original. It’s a rom com. Shakespeare already wrote all of those – everything after is a retread.

          • kingcole225

            I’d like to point out that if Best Picture was decided by money, Michael Bay’s Transformers would have won multiple Best Picture Awards by now. So obviously your idea of what should make a film eligible for the Best Picture Award is terribly and horribly wrong.

            I’d also like to point out that I’ve written at least two paragraphs on why Annie Hall is very original, and you’re only response so far has been “AH is NOT original.” That’s not a good response. Just because you say it does make it true.

            Finally, you’d have to be horribly uneducated in the history of romantic comedy to claim that nothing has been original since Shakespeare. The early Comedies of Remarriage (Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve, It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story, The Awful Truth, etc etc etc) have been widely recognized as the greatest and most original films Hollywood has ever produced. There have been books written about them specifically in the context of Shakespeare and how the two texts differ. So if you want to make a round claim that romantic comedy has entirely failed to change in any way over the last 400 years (and you’d have to be completely devoid of reality to read that sentence and not immediately realize how insane it sounds), I suggest you take it up with the professors who have spent their entire fricken life studying this crap.

            Life is like whiskey: If you hand a glass of cuttysark and a glass of a fancy single malt from Scotland to a 15 year old, he’s just gonna make the same “ugh” face that every kid makes when they drink hard liquor. He won’t taste the difference. They’ll both taste like crap. It’s only by listening and practicing that he will begin to enjoy the fancy whiskey. You are obviously a 15 year old in the realm of film (and specifically romantic comedy.) Listen to your elders.

          • David Monroe Ward

            Star Wars was NOT that earth shaking. They were entertaining films, and way, way, overrated.

    • What the hell are you talking about? You might be butthurt because it beat Star Wars (a schlock genre drive-in b-movie, let’s be honest), but Annie Hall is still widely remembered as one of the best comedies of all time. It’s easily a classic.

      • dman131

        I am not butthurt. I am simply saying no one gives a f*&*&^* rat’s a^&% about Annie Hall except for possibly that minority of you who live in NYC. The rest of us thought it sucked who are in fact old enough to even remember it because no one else does. It’s only widely remembered as a best comedy of all time by the same people who think Judd Apatow doesn’t suck.

        • “The rest of us thought it sucked”

          > 8.1 on IMDB
          > 93% on RT
          > 31st on AFI’s list of the top feature films in American cinema (4th highest rated comedy)
          > Named the funniest screenplay of all time by the Writers Guild of America

          btw, I don’t live in NYC.

          • dman131

            Well I am happy for you then. Enjoy it to the fullest.

  • AuthenticBioethics

    Um, it’s Catherine of ARAGON. AragoRn is a Tolkien character.

  • Harsha Raman

    I don’t think The Departed has lost its fizzle with time or anything like that. It is still a cinematic delight.

    Also Dances with Wolves is NOT forgettable. It gave an equal fight to Goodfellas and won, deal with it!

    • David Monroe Ward

      Ugh. Dances With Wolves was an ego-boosting vehicle for Kevin Costner. It was way too black and white, and emotionally manipulative.

      • Kevin

        Dances with Wolves was basically a remake of “Enemy Mine (Remember that one? Decent but just Dances With wolves “IN SPACE”). There are hundreds of movies like Dances With Wolves (Avatar anyone?) but Goodfellas redefined the entire genre of gangster movies.

  • Speedbird_9

    IMHO: The Killing Fields (1984) lost to Amadeus.

    • DMD63

      I can see the argument for the Killing Fields. I personally choose Amadeus. The crime in 1998 was that any picture lost to the most overrated film of all time, Titanic. I concur, LA Confidential was the best if the bunch.

  • mel now from surrey

    The academy should go to a ranked ballot with five or more nominees no one film would gain 50% on first choice. A ranked ballot would then count second or third choices until 50% is achieved.

  • Henrik Vinther Sørensen

    I don’t agree with all of them. I thought Saving Private Ryan was a pretty terrible movie, that didn’t even deserve the nomination. The Thin Red Line should have won

    • Mark Chiddicks

      The Thin Red Line is pretty but plotless and has no characters. Its tedious

      • Henrik Vinther Sørensen

        It’s supposed to be plotless!
        It’s about philosophical ideas on life and death and war.

        • Mark Chiddicks

          Which means its not a story at all, and hence not what I, or 90% of filmgoers are looking for in a film. A film needs to be about people, not just images, and that film just wasn’t.

          • Henrik Vinther Sørensen

            It certainly is about people, it’s about humanity! It’s about how we experience and relate to the reality of life!

      • kingcole225

        You’re crazy. The upside of The Thin Red Line IS its characters. The film humanizes and dramatizes them in seconds, and has one of the single most devastating war sequences in history (the almost 40 minute long attempt to climb the hill.)

        • Henrik Vinther Sørensen

          Couldn’t agree more!

  • neiba

    Disagree with Kramer vs. Krame being forgettable. Better than Apocalypse Now? No way, but a great movie nevertheless. Same to A Man for All Seasons.
    Regarding the 1994 edition. Pulp Fiction was the one being robbed from an Oscar, and that’s probably the worst Oscar decision since Citizen Kane.

  • Jack Napier

    Regarding the film that should have one instead of Forrest Gump, I would have chosen Pulp Fiction rather than Shawshank Redemption. Shawshank is flawless in the conventional sense and appeals to the general populace but Pulp Fiction was a movie for cinephiles and popcorn eaters alike. It is not the type of film that wins at the oscars, however.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    I agree with most of these, but Forest Gump, and especially A Man For All Seasons, deserve their academy awards.

  • Joseph Finn

    A Man For All Seasons is a great movie.

  • Joseph Finn

    Seriously. arguing against Heat of the Night? That’s a movie that has aged wonderfully, unlike the dated The Graduate.

  • Fray Parabellum

    How Green Was My Valley is a classic.

  • Aitor

    “Life of Pi” to “Argo”, i might add. (really, can you remember any bit of Argo unless you take a look at its info?)

    • CaterinaCantere

      Yes, actually, I think the initial scene of Argo when the embassy it stormed is one of the most terrifying and intense scenes I’ve ever watched. I’ll never forget it. And then some of the scenes were extremely funny as well.
      You must not have been paying much attention when you saw Argo.

  • Dumbledore

    Two comparisons are not the best choices… Dances with the Wolves and Forrest Gump are defining movies for their era, so no one could describe them as forgettable. Personally, I would better add the 2010 Oscars, when the Hurt Locker won against Avatar…

  • montyburns

    Star Wars losing to Annie Hall!

    • John W. Thackery

      Annie Hall is not forgettable.

  • Still D.R.E.

    Driving Miss Daisy is a way more memorable movie than My Two Left Feet Do The Right Thing was the movie subbed that year.

  • The Simmering Frog

    Forest Gump was the over-rated movie while the Shawshank Redemption clearly was the most under-rated film of that year. The Shawshank Redemption is a “not so obvious” re-telling of the Christ story. Forrest Gump, while interesting, just didn’t have the depth of the Shawshank Redemption.

  • CaterinaCantere

    Dances with Wolves was an excellent movie, and a landmark movie that changed the representation of Native Americans in film forever. Also, now that it got success and the Oscar, people make fun of it, as if it were some silly blockbuster, but before it was released, no one believed in it and everyone was calling Costner crazy for trying to direct this.
    Calling it “forgettable” is ludicrous.
    I wouldn’t call “Forrest Gump” forgettable either, tough I do think it’s overrated, it had a huge impact on an entire generation.

    In Europe, I don’t think anyone has “forgotten” about Dances with Wolves, it’s still a huge, cult classic.
    But in Hollywood, they seem to be forgetting its legacy more and more, with their terrible record at casting Native American in proper roles… So if they have forgotten it, it would do them good to remember it.

    • Not Cool

      Spot on Caterina. Absolutely love Dances with Wolves. Was 15 when I first saw it & it’s still in my all-time top 3. Beautifully shot & thought provoking. As an Aussie, it is sad to think this masterpiece might be forgotten by future generations of Americans. Let’s hope the opinion of this articles author is not general consensus……as for Shakespeare in Love winning over Saving Private Ryan…..well I won’t get started on that crappy decision.

  • Higgens

    Half this list is movies that lost to equally awesome movies. Change your title.

  • Hatesville

    I mean, Brokeback Mountain… I never understood the fuss about it.
    An Forrest Gump is far from forgettable, although I don’t agree with the choice.

  • kingcole225

    My Left Foot? Are you kidding me? Do The Right Thing was the obvious winner that year.

    Btw, Shakespeare In Love is definitely a better film than Saving Private Ryan.

    • David Monroe Ward

      Saving Private Ryan was jingoistic schmaltz.

    • John W. Thackery

      Yes, Do the Right Thing was the best of that year. But it didn’t lose Best Picture as it wasn’t even nominated for the award.

  • Pulp Fiction [*not The Shawshank Redemption] (1994) (Lost to Forrest Gump at the 67th Academy Awards)

  • Jessica Julian

    I’ve heard the argument against Forrest Gump before..
    And still don’t agree. Sometimes, I wish it were possible to award a tie, especially that year. Excellent films, all of them. But, honestly, I’ve never been impressed with the Academy. It doesn’t really matter, except in Hollywood, and to film fanatics.

  • Kevin

    Guess I’m late to the party here, but I think we all can agree that the real problem is the title of this article. By no means was any of the winners “forgettable” (except for maybe Shakesphere in Love), but the article should have been titled “Great movies that lost best picture to inferior movies”

  • Nathan Thompson

    LOL WTF? How are Shakespeare in Love and Dances with Wolves forgettable? Laughable conclusions in this article.

  • justapawninabigworld

    Heat of The Night is still an important and well made film and deserved the Oscar.

  • Asad Shairani

    Forrest Gump and Dances with Wolves aren’t any more forgettable than The Graduate!

  • Sebastián Avante

    Taxi driver to Rocky

    • John W. Thackery

      Rocky is a great movie and is anything but forgettable.

  • Therese

    I haven’t seen How Green Was My Valley but otherwise the only forgettable movie on this list was Shakespeare In Love.

  • Marc Carlson

    So, I’m curious. Which of the winners are “steaming piles of piss”? My opinion is that the article fits that particular description.

  • Someone

    Forrest Gump ??? Forgettable ????

  • Francesco Marioni

    Opinions are opinions and each to their own. However Saving Private Ryan is only truly great in its first 25mins from the moment the Normandy landing happens, from there it is a man on mission film which always reminded me of a po faced version of dirty dozen, there is a set piece followed by scenes of schmaltzy dialog, I’m entertained by the film but compared to the blistering opening its not that great. Shakespeare in Love was a better film, but the The Thin Red Line is a far more medative war film which I have gone back to time and time again that in my eyes deserved the Oscar far far more.

  • Gaurav Bhanderi

    Saving Private Ryan is far more better than Shakespeare In Love…

  • Rollyn Stafford

    What a great list!

  • Steve Mahofski

    In the Heat of the Night is forgettable? Not only that, I fround it a much better picture overall than The Graduate.

  • Gary A. Valenzuela H.

    The Dark Knight!…

  • Adrian

    About How Green Was My Valley: ” It is now distinctly remembered solely for the reason that it controversially won the Best Picture Oscar instead of “Citizen Kane.”” – well put, sir. A total travesty, which was also probably instigated by William Randolph Hearst’s influence in both money and politics.

  • Marjan

    I agree only with first three. (1,2,3)

  • Lio Mustoni

    Forrest Gump forgettable?. Perhaps The Shawshank Redemption was a better film. In my opinion Pulp Fiction was better than both… but to call Forrest Gump forgettable is shortsighted at the least.

  • Lio Mustoni

    Worth mentioning:
    – District 9 and Inglourious Basterds both lost to The Hurt Locker
    – The Pianist lost to Chicago
    – LA Confidential lost to Titanic (perhaps the most overrated movie of all time)
    – Fargo lost to The English Patient
    – Dr. Strangelove lost to My Fair Lady

  • Hemant Deokar

    There Will Be Blood lost to No country for old men

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  • Beppo1963

    A Man for All Seasons is a great movie.

  • Joe Montoto

    I will never forget the great David Brinkley in his end commentary on THIS WEEK WITH DAVID BRINKLEY opining on the state of American itelligence by bemoaning that the top movie of the week being raved about (FORREST GUMP) was a story “about an idiot.” Perfect!

  • Rob Williams

    In the Heat of the Night? Forgettable?

  • Lena Cobangbang

    Mad Max Fury Road lost to Spotlight