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Irrefutable Evidence that Oscar Voters Have a Serious Case of Head-Up-Ass

By Dustin Rowles | Guides | February 23, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Guides | February 23, 2011 |

Earlier today, in ranking the Academy Award’s Best Picture Winners from the last 25 years, like many of you, I was taken aback at how generally weak the field of Best Picture Winners was from which to choose. The idea that many were Oscar Winners, much less nominees, seems laughable now; many of those Oscar winners have been completely forgotten over the last two decades.

Initially, I’d planned on a follow-up, ranking another list of 25 films based on the Oscar nominees each year that should’ve won Best Picture. However, that too felt meager. Even selecting among the five nominees (or 10, last year), it felt like many more worthy films were being left out of the equation.

So, I decided to add in what I thought was the actual Best Picture of each year based upon its 1) entertainment value, 2) its staying power, and 3) its overall legacy, regardless of whether it was nominated for anything. What it revealed, at least based on my opinion, was that the Academy has only really gotten it right four times over the last 25 years, by not only nominating the best film but actually choosing it as Best Picture Winner.

Reasonable minds could disagree about what the actual Best Movie in any given year was, but where my selection for Best Movie differs from the ultimate Oscar winner, I would guess that — given the benefit of hindsight — only a minority would’ve selected the Academy’s choice over the Best Movie choices below.

And isn’t that really what the the Academy is supposed to choose? The films that will still mean something 5, 10 or 50 years from now? If that is, indeed, the criteria, then the Academy voters have, with a few exceptions, failed miserably over the last 25 years.


Best Movie: Back to the Future

Best Nominee: The Color Purple

Oscar Winner: Out of Africa


Best Movie: Aliens

Best Nominee: Platoon

Oscar Winner Platoon


Best Movie: Full Metal Jacket

Best Nominee: Hope and Glory

Oscar Winner: The Last Emperor


Best Movie: Die Hard (1988)

Best Nominee: Mississippi Burning

Oscar Winner: Rain Man


Best Movie: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Best Nominee: My Left Foot

Oscar Winner: Driving Miss Daisy


Best Movie: Goodfellas

Best Nominee: Goodfellas

Oscar Winner: Dances with Wolves


Best Movie: Silence of the Lambs

Best Nominee: Silence of the Lambs

Oscar Winner: Silence of the Lambs


Best Movie: Reservoir Dogs

Best Nominee: Unforgiven

Oscar Winner: Unforgiven


Best Movie: Schindler’s List

Best Nominee: Schindler’s List

Oscar Winner: Schindler’s List


Best Movie: Pulp Fiction

Best Nominee: Pulp Fiction

Oscar Winner: Forrest Gump


Best Movie: The Usual Suspects

Best Nominee: Braveheart

Oscar Winner: Braveheart


Best Movie: Fargo

Best Nominee: Fargo

Oscar Winner: English Patient


Best Movie: L.A. Confidential

Best Nominee: L.A. Confidential

Oscar Winner: Titanic


Best Movie: The Big Lebowski

Best Nominee: Saving Private Ryan

Oscar Winner: Shakespeare in Love


Best Movie: Fight Club

Best Nominee: The Insider

Oscar Winner: American Beauty


Best Movie: Memento

Best Nominee: Traffic

Oscar Winner: Gladiator


Best Movie: Amelie

Best Nominee: Moulin Rouge

Oscar Winner: A Beautiful Mind


Best Movie: City of God

Best Nominee: The Pianist

Oscar Winner: Chicago


Best Movie: Oldboy

Best Nominee: Lost in Translation

Oscar Winner: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King


Best Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Nominee: Sideways

Oscar Winner: Million Dollar Baby


Best Movie: Brokeback Mountain

Best Nominee: Brokeback Mountain

Oscar Winner: Crash


Best Movie: Children of Men

Best Nominee: The Departed

Oscar Winner: The Departed


Best Movie: No Country for Old Men

Best Nominee: No Country for Old Men

Oscar Winner: No Country for Old Men


Best Movie: The Dark Knight

Best Nominee: Milk

Oscar Winner: Slumdog Millionaire


Best Movie: The Hurt Locker

Best Nominee: The Hurt Locker

Oscar Winner: The Hurt Locker

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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