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12 great films which had no Oscar nominations

So, 'Birdman' beat 'Boyhood' - was that the right choice? We look at a handful of films considered to be classics which not only didn't win, they didn't get a single nomination.

Yet again there's controversy over the lack of diversity reflected in the Oscar nominations. It's not the only thing that the Academy gets wrong. Some of the big winners of the past now look like they were made for TV - 'Driving Miss Daisy', 'Shakespeare In Love' or 'Chicago' anyone? And some snubs are unbelievable as these 12 nomination free classics show.

Film, Drama

The Big Lebowski

It took a while before the Coen brothers became Oscar friendly, with some of their best work passing the Academy completely, including 'Miller's Crossing', 'The Hudsucker Proxy' (surely production design and photography if nothing else), and this, one of their most popular and enduring films.

Should have been nominated for: best original screenplay, supporting actor for John Tuturro, best cinematography.

What won? Titanic

Film, Drama

Don't Look Now

A superbly chilling essay in the supernatural, adapted from Daphne du Maurier's short story about a couple, shattered by the death of their small daughter, who go to Venice to forget. From here, it's hard to conceive that Roeg's bold style should be shunned by the Academy, so iconic are some of the scenes he creates. And the performances are wonderful from all of the cast.

Should have been nominate for: best film, best director, best actor for Donald Sutherland, best actress for Julie Christie, best adapted screenplay, best cinematography.

What won? The Godfather

Film, Horror

The Haunting

No, we don't mean the campy remake. The original version is one of the most terrifying films ever, a work of creeping genius in the way it shows you absolutely nothing of whatever it is that's doing the haunting. 'Jaws' only managed that in the first scene - this does it throughout the entire film and you still hide behind a cushion.

Should have been nominated for: best film best sound, best editing, best director, best cinematgoraphy.

What won? Lawrence of Arabia

Film, Thrillers


Mann. De Niro. Pacino. HEAT. Oscar nominations? Zero. One of the most thrilling crime thrillers for years was left out in the cold come Oscar night.

Should have been nominated for: best film, best director, best cinematography, best editing.

What won? Forest Gump

Film, Fantasy

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

One of the defining films of the 20th Century, summing up the Cold War paranoia of the 1950s, went on to be remade several times, most notably by Philp Kaufman in 1978. An absolutely gripping slice of science fiction which was an obvious commentary on society even at the time. 

Should have been nominated for: best film, best director, best adapted screenplay.

What won? Marty

Time Out says
Film, Animation

King Kong

Seriously. No Oscar nominations in a year which saw a film you've never heard of win. Still cry at the very thought of 'King Kong'? Indeed.

Should have been nominated for: every category - there weren't that many in 1933.

What won? Cavalcade.


Film, Science fiction


In the year of the first ever Oscars, the big winner was a superb wartime drama. As good is it was, it hasn't lived on like 'Metropolis' has, a film which still astonishes in its bold, brave and bravura examination os social class and artificial intelligence. All of this from 1927. Amazing.

Should have beennominated for: all categories.

What won? Wings

Time Out says
Film, Drama

The Night of the Hunter

‘Would you like me to tell you the story of right hand, left hand? The story of good and evil?’ And so one of the cinema's great masterpieces of morality sets its stall. Charles Laughton's incredible film should have been one of the most awarded and successful of its decade. It wasn't. He didn't direct another film, much to cinema's great loss.

Should have been nominated for: best film, best director, best actor for Robert Mitchum, best cinematography.

What won? On The Waterfront

Time Out says
Film, Thrillers

Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone's sweeping vision is both epic and imtimate, bringing to mind 'The Godfather' in its style and ambition. And whilst that year's winner was a worthy one, surely something could have been spared for this superb piece of cinema.

Should have been nominated for: best film, best director, cinematography.

What won? Terms of Endearment

Film, Horror


In what might be Polanski's best film, Catherine Deneuve is stunning as a young woman descending into repression and madness. Creepy and unsettling, the film has a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but got nil point from the Academy.

Should have been nominated for: best film, best director, best actress, best cinematography.

What won? My Fair Lady

Film, Thrillers

Reservoir Dogs

Looking back, it's easy to underestimate the impact that this film had. As a thriller it was outstanding. As a comedy it was hilarious. As a debut it was astonishing. It took 'Pulp Fiction', Tarantino's next film, to wake up the Academy, but 'Reservoir Dogs' deserved a recognistion which escaped it.

Should have been nominated for: best film, best director, best original screenplay, best editing.

What won? Silence of the Lambs

Time Out says
Film, Horror

The Shining

In a career in which almost every film he made has been hailed as a masterpiece by someone, Kubrick's startling horror was not as well recieved on its release as it is considered now. Nicholson's performance was criticised for being too OTT, some found it to be not frightening enough, and even King slagged it off.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It is one of the best films of all time. And Shelley Duvall should have got every award going. 

Should have been nominated for: best film, best director, best acotr, best actress, best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best editing, best sound.

What won? Kramer vs Kramer

Time Out says