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« Judy by the Numbers: "Over the Rainbow" | Main | Oscar's Sound Montages Show The Instruments and Play The Orchestra »
Tuesday
Mar012016

The 88th Oscars' Biggest Losers and Classics That Shared Their Fate

David here with some commiserations. The winners have been duly celebrated but what of those valiant souls who came, who sat, and who meekly applauded while silently ripping their pocket speeches to pieces? Are they over it by now?

Sometimes being the biggest loser can make you more famous than being a winner - just ask Leonardo DiCaprio, who may well just cease to exist now that his one purpose in life has been fulfilled and the internet’s long love affair with affectionately mocking memes has come to an end. Can we assume that Roger Deakins is up next for this treatment…?

The record for the biggest loser on Oscar night is jointly held by 1977's The Turning Point and 1985's The Color Purple. Since The Revenant walked away with 3 gongs from a possible 12 and Mad Max: Fury Road gloriously swept the technical categories for 6 out of 10, no film came close to the record - unlike recent failures True Grit and American Hustle, which both saw 10 noms come to sweet f' all. (The Color Purple's director Steven Spielberg was saved from indignity again with Mark Rylance's sort-of-surprise win for Bridge of Spies.)

Yet some of 2015's biggest movies still ended the night empty-handed. Since time has a habit of remembering movies differently to Oscar, let's see what hallowed company Sunday's biggest losers are joining in the hall of infamy. How might they fair in the collective memory in twenty years time? (Please forgive my Photoshop skills after the jump)

The Martian - 7 nominations, 0 wins
Once still Oscar-less Ridley Scott went missing from the Best Director lineup, it never seemed like Ridley Scott’s surprise blockbuster was in contention for any award, dwarfed as it was by another desert-set epic. Of all the films with 7 nominations snubbed on Oscar night, The Martian’s closest cousin is one to take heart from - after all, the valiant escape story The Shawshank Redemption still stands proudly atop IMDb’s Top Rated Movies list. Other classics that have an 0 for 7 final count? Definitive noir Double Indemnity, sharp comedy classic Broadcast News and halcyon epic The Thin Red Line.


Carol - 6 nominations, 0 wins
As Nathaniel has already sadly noted, no Todd Haynes film has ever won a single Oscar. At least Carol Aird joins some timeless diva movies in the 6 noms-0 wins club: Rosalind Russell’s Auntie Mame, Elizabeth Taylor’s purring Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Glenn Close’s merciless fling in Fatal Attraction and - here’s the kicker - Judy Garland’s ingenue in A Star is Born.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - 5 nominations, 0 wins
The Star Wars series hasn’t won an Oscar since Return of the Jedi 32 years ago. Since the Academy only has room in their hearts for one blockbuster per year, it walked away with nothing to show for its 5 nominations. That puts it in the company of American classics It’s A Wonderful Life and The Talented Mr. Ripley, not to mention American Graffiti which was directed by some guy called George Lucas…?

Brooklyn and Sicario - 3 nominations, 0 wins
This club is inevitably a bit bigger, but Saoirse Ronan and Emily Blunt’s distinctive heroines join other women wronged by Oscar including Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon and Bette Davis in Dark Victory.

Of course, all of these films can console themselves with the fact that the night's actual biggest loser was The Revenant, which lost 9 out of its 12 nominations. But Judy the Bear has been photoshopped enough !

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Reader Comments (9)

That's a nice tribute, there are always more "losers" than winners.
It seems fitting that "Carol" is keeping company with those legends of the 50's - Rosalind Russell, Elizabeth Taylor, and Judy Garland. Cate with her fur coat fits right in.

No need to worry about Emily Blunt or Saoirse Ronan they know what it is to create memorable characters that don't get recognized by Oscar. "Full Metal Bitch", Hanna, Briony, and next year Blunt will be Mary Poppins. Having that kind of range is better than any award.

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

White American male directors have been big losers too. One hasn't won since the Coen Brothers in 2008, but it's hard to feel bad for them when they have all the jobs.:)

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

At least Brooklyn has a best picture nom that is actually earned, unlike those ballot fillers like The Blind Side.
Carol and Therese as Liz and Paul is everything!

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Blunt has been the one of the most snubbed Actresses of the last 10 yrs and her snub this year really stings.

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermark

Maybe Roger Deakins will get lucky with the Blade Runner sequel, that has a potential for great cinematography. Apparently, we'll have to wait until 2018!

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Emily Blunt has The Girl On A Train this year so she's likely to get a nomination, a la Rosamund Pike - unless the movie is really bad, of course

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteradelutza

Occasionally Oscar recognizes a classic as it's released. For example, Citizen Kane might not have won Best Picture but it got a boatload of nominations as I recall. I'm always more fascinated by the ones that Oscar completely missed or almost missed, like Vertigo and Singin In The Rain. I wonder which movie will join that company in years to come?

I do think that Brooklyn will end up somewhat like Shawshank in that I have yet to meet a single person who even sort of disliked it. The problem with Brooklyn was just that it wasn't seen. It's got potential to be recognized in the future.

The revolutionary picture that "changes everything" is probably not even something we've discussed here.

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

The Martian/Shawshank Redemption comparison is pretty great since both films were snubbed for a Directing nomination and both managed a Lead Actor nomination.

However, there is no Oscar comparison between Star Wars: Force Awakens and It's a Wonderful Life/American Graffiti since the latter two films were nominated in top categories including Best Picture. I know Star Wars fanboys don't like this pointed out, but Star Wars: The Force awakens only received nominations in technical categories. It simply wasn't a major Oscar player (nor should it have been).

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteph Bello

@Steph Bello, is Best Score considered a technical category? I didn't think it was, and The Force Awakens was one of the nominees.

March 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

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