We woz robbed… my top 10 movies that missed out on the Oscar best picture award

Following on from last week’s post about my favourite Oscar best picture winners, I want to talk about the movies that didn’t win the award that should have. I am talking about those years where the Academy gets it totally wrong and as time goes past it becomes more and more obvious that the wrong contender won. These my top 10.


A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Starring: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter
Produced by: Charles K. Feldman
Directed by: Elia Kazan
What won instead?: An American in Paris
Was it any good?: I have no idea but it definitely didn’t have Marlon Brando yelling, “Stella!” in it.
Did it win any Oscars?:
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Vivien Leigh
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Karl Malden
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Kim Hunter
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White: Richard Day, George James Hopkins
“Stanley Kowalski: Hey Stella!
Eunice: You quit that howling down there and go back to bed!
Stanley Kowalski: Eunice, I want my girl down here!
Eunice: You shut up! You’re gonna get the law on you!
Stanley Kowalski: Hey Stella!
Eunice: You can’t beat on a woman and then call her back! You’re gonna have a baby! I hope they haul you in and turn the fire hose on you like they did last time!
Stanley Kowalski: Eunice, I want my girl down here!
Eunice: You stinker!”


Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams
Produced by: Diana Ossana, James Schamus
Directed by: Ang Lee
What won instead?: Crash
Was it any good?: Eh…
Did it win any Oscars?:
Best Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay: Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score: Gustavo Santaolalla
“Jack Twist: Friend, that’s more words than you’ve spoke in the past two weeks.
Ennis Del Mar: Hell, that’s the most I’ve spoke in a year.”

Dead Poets Society

Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke
Produced by: Steven Haft, Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas
Directed by: Peter Weir
What won instead?: Driving Miss Daisy
Was it any good?: Compared to, “Oh Captain, my Captain”? Bitch please!
Did it win any Oscars?:
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Tom Schulman
“John Keating: No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver (1976)
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Produced by: Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
What won instead?: Rocky
Was it any good?: I’ve actually never seen it
Did it win any Oscars?:
No. Ridiculous
“Travis Bickle: All the animals come out at night – whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take ’em to Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won’t even take spooks. Don’t make no difference to me.”


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton
Produced by: Niki Marvin
Directed by: Frank Darabont
What won instead?: Forest Gump
Was it any good?: No
Did it win any Oscars?:
No, which proves that The Academy is bullshit.
“Andy Dufresne: What about you? What are you in here for?
Red: Murder, same as you.
Andy Dufresne: Innocent?
Red: [shakes his head] Only guilty man in Shawshank.”

Life of Pi

Life of Pi (2012)
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain
Produced by: Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark
Directed by: Ang Lee
What won instead?: Argo
Was it any good?: Well it didn’t have a tiger!
Did it win any Oscars?:
Best Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee
Best Achievement in Cinematography: Claudio Miranda
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score: Mychael Danna
Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer,  Donald Elliott
“Pi Patel: [voice over] I never thought a small piece of shade could bring me so much happiness. That a pile of tools, a bucket, a knife, a pencil, might become my greatest treasures. Or that knowing Richard Parker was here might ever bring me peace. In times like these, I remember that he has as little experience of the real world as I do. We were both raised in a zoo by the same master. Now we’ve been orphaned, left to face our ultimate master together. Without Richard Parker, I would have died by now. My fear of him keeps me alert. Tending to his needs gives my life purpose.”


Life is Beautiful (1997)
Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Produced by: Elda Ferri, Gianluigi Braschi
Directed by: Roberto Benigni
What won instead?: Shakespeare in Love
Was it any good?: The fact that it won an Oscar is ludicrous
Did it win any Oscars?:
Best Actor: Roberto Benigni
Best Music, Original Dramatic Score: Nicola Piovani
Best Foreign Language Film
“Bartolomeo: They are looking for someone who speaks German, to translate their instructions.
Guido: Me! I’ll do it, I’ll translate!
Bartolomeo: Do you speak German?
Guido: No.”


Inception (2010)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page
Produced by: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
What won instead?: The King’s Speech
Was it any good?: It’s completely overrated
Did it win any Oscars?:
Best Achievement in Cinematography: Wally Pfister
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing: Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Richard King
Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin
“Cobb: I’m going to improvise. Listen, there’s something you should know about me… about inception. An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.”


It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Produced by: Frank Capra
Directed by: Frank Capra
What won instead?: The Best Years of Our Lives
Was it any good?: I can’t imagine what could possibly top the best Christmas movie ever made!
Did it win any Oscars?:
“George Bailey: Just a minute… just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was… why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? Why… here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”

Good Will HInting

Good Will Hunting (1997)
Starring: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck
Produced by: Lawrence Bender
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
What won instead?: Titanic
Was it any good?: God, no!
Did it win any Oscars?:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Robin Williams
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck


  1. Awesome post. I agree with a lot of your thoughts. Shawshenk, LIfe of Pi, Broke Back, Life of Pi–okay, just curious why the world seems to HATE Shakespeare in Love? Also, please watch ‘Taxi Driver.’ You must. Really.

    1. Abbi

      Shakespeare in Love is a cute enough period romcom but it’s certainly not Oscar worthy and I think the fact that it won against such strong competition is tough to swallow.

      I have seen Taxi Driver. It’s Rocky I haven’t seen 🙂

      1. Oops. It’s charming. The score uplifting, and a misunderstood hero. It seems that’s all Taxi Driver is missing. The score.

  2. Oh yeah I totally agree on the 2010 one. I thought Inception was a masterpiece, and even if some didn’t like it, Black Swan and The Social Network were very very strong in their own right. The King’s speech? That’s completely insane.

    1. Abbi

      To each their own but I was bored senseless during The King’s Speech. I really don’t get the hype.

  3. The Shawshank Redemption loss is the one that will ALWAYS piss me off the most!!!! GRRR. That pisses all over Gump. Brokeback Mountain is SO much better than Crash. Eric will yell at you over Rocky. The Best Years Of Our Lives isn’t as good as It’s A Wonderful Life but it IS good. Shakespeare In Love truly sucks ass, though. Great post, Abbi. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Eric can yell all he likes. It’s fricking Taxi Driver!!! I still can’t believe that anything could have topped Shawshank and that it didn’t win a single Oscar. Not even adapted screenplay!

      1. I know. Ridiculous! Stupid Academy. I don’t know why I take their stupid decisions so seriously. Lol

  4. great post! Shawshank was totally robbed!!!

    Saving Private Ryan was sooo much better than SIL. (I like Life is Beautiful a lot, but it’s still not as good as SPR

    Best Years of Our Lives happens to be amazing. it’s about returning war heroes and how they have trouble getting back into their lives. IAWL is one of my faves, but the fact that BYOOL was made a year after the war ended and how it exposed people to what homecoming soldiers experiences was an achievement on its own. It still is powerful today if you think about the difficulties soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have when they get home

    Inception, Taxi Driver, Dead Poets and Streetcar I agree with, but I thin LA Confidential was better than Good Will Hunting and Les Mis was better than Life of PI

    I think Munich was more powerful than Crash, Brokeback, Capote or Good Night and Good Luck

    sorry for rambling 🙂

    1. Abbi

      I really connected emotionally with the father-son relationship in Life is Beautiful which is why it’s such an important movie for me but I can totally get the argument for SPR. In any case Shakespeare in Love has to be the worst choice.

      I definitely want to see Best Years of Our Lives now.

      I didn’t think much of Les Mis (Fantine took waaaaaay too long to die) so it was never going to be on my list unfortunately and I got so confused during Munich. I actually loved Capote but Good Night and Good Luck was a snoozefest.

  5. Great post Abbi. I’m with you on Taxi Driver and A Streetcar Named Desire. Two classics for sure. I’m tempted to agree on Shawshank but that would still have meant that Pulp Fiction wouldn’t have got it. A real mistake in my view!

    1. Abbi

      I would have just about been on board with Pulp Fiction but Forest Gump was such a boring, safe choice.

  6. That Shawshank Redemption didn’t win anything is scandalous!! It’s such an amazing film! Good Will Hunting too, but at least they had good sense to give Robin Willams the acting trophy. It’s one of his very best roles!

    But I have to say, Taxi Driver is one of the most boring films I have ever seen. And Brokeback Mountain is not far behind (ahead? Whatever, it was boring :-p ).

    1. Abbi

      Oh dear! Brokeback is one of my favourite love stories of all time. Ha ha!

      1. It was a good story, the acting was great, and the two leads were positively sizzling, but I dunno, the way it played out, I was just bored senseless! hehe

  7. Great post! Argo is so overrated, most of the other nominees in that year are better films. I’d choose Munich or Brokeback over Crash any day. And I’m with MovieRob’s comment above, Saving Private Ryan kicks SIL to the curb. 😀

    1. Abbi

      I am baffled by SIL’s Oscar nomination. it’s not a bad film but there’s nothing special about it. I thought the last ten minutes of Argo was exciting but getting to that point was so tedious that the payoff just wasn’t there.

      1. Maybe it’s just me but I thought those last ten minutes tried too hard to generate suspense, it’ll be interesting to know how it happened in real life. I agree the payoff wasn’t there. 😀

  8. Great list (except I hated Streetcar and loved Titanic). Big fan of It’s a Wonderful Life, Taxi Driver, Shawshank, Life of Pi and Inception. Can’t believe King’s Speech beat it, as well as Black Swan and especially Social Network.

    1. Abbi

      I’d love to see your list! 2010 was an insanely strong year and it almost feels like the Academy copped out and went for the lowest common denominator.

      1. Ugh, I know! That film was so overrated. It was sad to see it win in a year filled with gems.

  9. This is a great roundup. Picks here that I certainly cannot disagree with. You sure you’re not some undercover Titanic fan? 😉

    Plus… I totally love the whole “we woz robbed” thing hahaha!

    1. Abbi

      I loved Titanic when it came out and I was 16 but now that I am older and wiser I know better.

  10. I think I was going to cry if Good Will Hunting didn’t get on this list.

    1. Abbi

      It’s such a great film!

  11. I love this! I actually just saw Taxi Driver, for the first time, a couple of weeks ago. It was incredible! I didn’t realize that Life is Beautiful came out in 1997. I was so pissed that Shakespeare in Love won over Saving Private Ryan. That was when I knew that the Oscars are nothing but politics.

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