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50 days til Oscar. 50 movies with no Oscar love

by Nathaniel R

Oooh we're getting so close! It's just 50 days until Hollywood's High Holy Night and just 10 until we know which films will be competing for which prizes. As this season winnows down to its "winners" it's good to remember that "losers" is a temporary notion. As we've said often and will continue to say: Greatness is its own reward. Oscar has been around for 90 years now and if the past 89 are any indication some movies that are completely ignored come January 23rd when the nominations are announced will be more celebrated by the people of, say, 2049 (if the world survives that long) than by the people of now. Don't believe me? Here are FIFTY randomly chosen movies of large critical or popular or historical reputation and/or devout still vocal fanbases that received ZERO -- that's right zero -- Oscar nominations in their day... 

Many of them weren't even Golden Globe nominated! (Note: There are a few more than 50 movies on this list because once we started it was difficult to stop)

  • "M" (1931)
  • Red Dust (1932)
  • Trouble in Paradise (1932)
  • Duck Soup (1933)
  • King Kong (1933)
  • The 39 Steps (1935)
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938)

  • The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  • His Girl Friday (1940)
  • Arsenic & Old Lace (1944)
  • Gilda (1946)

  • The Big Heat (1953)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  • Johnny Guitar (1954)
  • Night of the Hunter (1955)
  • The Trouble with Harry (1955)
  • The Searchers (1956)
  • A Face in the Crowd (1957)
  • Touch of Evil (1958)

  • 101 Dalmatians (1961)
  • Dr. No (1962)
  • To Sir With Love (1967)
  • Persona (1967)
  • Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

  • Harold and Maude (1971)
  • The Devils (1971)
  • What's Up Doc (1972)
  • Don't Look Now (1973)
  • Mean Streets (1973)
  • Killer of Sheep (1978)

  • The Shining (1980)
  • Body Heat (1981)
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
  • The Terminator (1984)
  • The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • Something Wild (1986)
  • Heathers (1989)

  • Daughters of the Dust (1991)
  • Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  • Before Sunrise (1995)
  • Clueless (1995)
  • [safe] (1995)
  • To Die For (1995)
  • Waiting for Guffman (1997)
  • The Big Lebowski (1998)

  • American Psycho (2000)
  • Bring It On (2000)
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
  • Mean Girls (2004)
  • Birth (2004)
  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • Zodiac (2007)
  • Weekend (2011)


What movie from the last few years do you think will eventually live far longer than recent Oscar hits? I'm curious about mother! (2017). So many people think it's just plain awful but on the other hand, nearly everyone thought Birth was awful in 2004 (well, not I!) but they quickly turned around. The best example of seismic reevaulation in my lifetime is totally The Shining which was widely deemed awful in 1980 (Razzie nominations and all) and now it's arguably the world's favorite picture from that year barring possibly The Empire Strikes Back. Time does curious things to movies!

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Reader Comments (13)

Every Entry of the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy getting 0 nominations was a huge mistake.

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Finally got around to Harold and Maude thanks to this post. Gordon was an absolute delight.

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Some of these were critically acclaimed but just didn't get "far enough" into the Academy consciousness to get nominations. The ones that were critically reviled and then became "beloved" are rarer but exciting, like Vertigo and Night of the Hunter.

When you expand the list to films that got one or two "pity" nominations, then there are a lot to choose from. I'm still waiting for Last of the Mohicans to be considered the masterpiece that it is.

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Mean Girls should've been in the conversation for at least Supporting Actress (for either of the three Plastics) and Adapted Screenplay.

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCal

Impressive list. Not too sure I can see what categories The Breakfast Club would have competed in for Oscars. Original Song for "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds?

I just checked what the nominees for Original Song were that year:

"Say You, Say Me" from White Nights – Music and Lyrics by Lionel Richie (WINNER)

"Miss Celie's Blues (Sister)" from The Color Purple – Music by Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton; Lyrics by Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton and Lionel Richie

"The Power of Love" from Back to the Future – Music by Chris Hayes and Johnny Colla; Lyrics by Huey Lewis

"Separate Lives" from White Nights – Music and Lyrics by Stephen Bishop

"Surprise Surprise" from A Chorus Line – Music by Marvin Hamlisch; Lyrics by Edward Kleban

Definitely could see Simple Minds over all but Miss Celie's Blues. And just what was the Academy thinking overlooking "Crazy for You" by Madonna from Vision Quest?

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterReady

2007s Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
2009s Mary & Max

And yes, those are two perfect Phillip Seymour Hoffman movies.

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBD

"Blow Out" and "Carlito's Way" certainly deserved technical nods--cinematography, editing, sound--and, arguably acting nominations (Travolta, Lithgow, Pacino, Penn). They're holding up a lot better than other films from those years. How did "Outland" get a sound nomination over "Blow Out"? How did "In the Name of the Father" get an editing nomination over "Carlito's Way"?

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDanniella

From 2017 alone I think mother!, Blade Runner 2049, and Personal Shopper are the most likely to grow in appreciation.

I think Crimson Peak and Young Adult will gain devoted followings as well, with the latter's reassessment hopefully coming soon thanks to Reitman and Theron's new film.

And even though it actually won an Oscar (and received 3 other nominations), Joe Wright's Anna Karenina doesn’t get the love it deserves.

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

The Spectacular Now
Short Term 12
Sing Street (robbed for at least Original Song, and an argument could be made for Supporting Actor)
Knocked Up

Not from the last few years, but still:
Say Anything...
Waking Life

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered Commenternacho21

nachos -- ooh i hope sing street does grow in favor

filmjunkie -- ooh, young adult, yes. 100%

January 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Favorite decade of Nom-less classics? From this list I'd go either 1930s or 1950s.

January 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterErik

Add this year's "Colossal" to the list which includes "Blow Out", "Deadpool", "Hairspray", "Cruising" - I love it, "L.A. Story", "Bowfinger", "Chasing Amy", "Clerks", "The Blair Witch Project"... just to expand your list.

January 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

How did "To Sir With Love" not get a "best song" nomination?

March 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDanniella

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