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The biggest Oscar snubs of all time

The Oscar's 2024 was a straight forward affair. While this year’s event may have steered away from controversies, the Academy Awards have a long history of snubbing the favourites.

The biggest Oscar snubs of all time

List hai toh hit hai 

Last Updated: 11.06 PM, Mar 13, 2024


The 96th edition of the Academy Awards concluded with Oppenheimer sweeping home seven wins including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, and Robert Downey Jr took home their first Oscar for their incredible work in Oppenheimer, while Emma Stone emerged victorious as Best Actress for her remarkable performance in Poor Things. The glamorous event at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood was a straightforward affair devoid of shock upsets. While this year’s event may have steered away from controversies, the Academy Awards have a long history of snubbing the favourites. For today’s List Hai Toh Hit Hai podcast, we have curated a list of the biggest snubs of all time.

Saving Private Ryan

After the incredible success of Schindler’s List, Steven Speilberg was poised to win big yet again in 1999 for the iconic World War Two film, Saving Private Ryan. However, despite Speilberg winning Best Director, and the film taking home a total of five Oscars, Saving Private Ryan did not win Best Picture. In a shocking turn of events, the Academy decided to award Shakespeare in Love with Best Picture.


The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan has finally won Best Director and Best Picture after helming Oscar-worthy films for more than two decades. While it could be argued that most of his films were snubbed before Oppenheimer bagged seven Oscars this year, it is the Academy’s shocking omission of The Dark Knight in 2009 that was simply unforgivable. The 2008 film is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, and it is arguably Nolan’s best film. Despite Heath Ledger winning Best Supporting Actor for his legendary performance as the Joker, and Richard King for Sound Editing, The Dark Knight was not even nominated for any of the major categories, when Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire swept home the top honours that year.

Brokeback Mountain

Another Heath Ledger film makes this list and it is Ang Lee's gay romance drama Brokeback Mountain. Despite its status as a groundbreaking film, starring Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall, the film shockingly lost Best Picture to the 2004 anthology drama Crash. In the years that followed, the Academy was scrutinised for allegedly deliberately overlooking a film that revolves around the homosexual relationship between two cowboys.

Al Pacino - The Godfather Part II

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II is arguably one of the greatest films of all time, with Al Pacino delivering one of his career-best performances as Michael Corleone. The film won six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, but Pacino failed to win Best Actor. The award was instead given to Art Carney for his lead role in Harry and Tonto.

Liam Neeson - Schindler’s List

In yet another major Best Actor snub, Liam Neeson failed to win the award in 1994 for his compelling turn as Oskar Schindler in Steven Speilberg’s  iconic film, Schindler’s List. While it could be argued that Tom Hanks was a worthy winner of the accolade for his riveting performance in Philadelphia, many believe that Neeson deserved it more for the biographical film.

Denis Villeneuve - Dune

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two is on course to become one of the biggest blockbusters of 2024, and it is expected to win big at next year’s Academy Awards. The first film of Villeneuve's proposed trilogy based on Frank Herbert’s iconic novels won an incredible six awards at the 2022 Oscars. However, Dune: Part One failed to win Best Picture while Villeneuve did not even receive a nomination for Best Director.

Pam Grier - Jackie Brown

The Academy has been criticised in the past for its alleged failure to acknowledge women of colour. The most common example critics point towards is the snub of Pam Grier for her iconic lead role in  Quintin Tarantino’s cult classic Jackie Brown. Grier delivered one of the finest performances that surely deserved at least a nomination.

Raging Bull

The 1980 Martin Scorcese film Raging Bull firmly established lead star Robert De Niro as a bonafide Hollywood star. De Niro won an Oscar for Best Actor for his outstanding performance, but the film and its director lost out to Robert Redford and his film Ordinary People, for Best Director and Best Film. Forty years later, it remains one of the biggest snubs in Oscar history.

Written by Ryan Gomez

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