Oscar Trivia, Weekly: The Academy's Tarantino blindspots
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 8:00AM
NATHANIEL R in Best Original Screenplay, Christoph Waltz, Hateful Eight, Inglourious Basterds, Kill Bill, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Oscar Trivia, Quentin Tarantino

by Nathaniel R

Tarantino winning his first Oscar in the mid 90sWednesday mornings will now be devoted to Oscar trivia (the crowd cheers... we hope). This morning let's look at some factoids you might have missed in Oscar's on & off again romance with Quentin Tarantino. Like many A-list writer/directors before and presumably after him, Oscar has honored him with a Screenplay Oscar (two, in point of fact) but not a directing Oscar. That's how they often do with the more polarizing and unique talents. Do enough people realize this to make Tarantino and actual threat for the Best Director win for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as his career threatens to wind down? We aren't sure (yet) but for today's particular trivia pursuit, instead we'd like to talk about the categories that Tarantino films compete in versus the ones they don't.

If you smoosh all of Tarantino's 9 films pre-Hollywood together for a rough average, the movie would be nominated for 3 Oscars (Supporting, Screenplay, and Cinematography) and have a 50% chance of winning a single one of those races...

So, er, the average picture is actually... The Hateful Eight. It's our single most hated Tarantino picture, go figure. Stats are silly but fun. Okay, on to some deeper analysis... 

Oscar Categories Ranked by their interest in Tarantino movies


  1. SUPPORTING ACTOR - 4 nominations / 2 wins
    Christoph Waltz is the only actor to ever win an Oscar for a Tarantino movie and he's done it twice (ugh. that second time still irks) but Robert Forster and Samuel L Jackson were totally worthy nominees so that's nice. We'd argue that the biggest misses in this category are Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs and Samuel L Jackson in Django but the former was before  the Academy jumped on the Tarantino train and the latter was surely too stylized and divisive a performance (plus Waltz was category-frauding his way into support and thus blocking Jackon or DiCaprio from competing. We suspect Brad Pitt will confirm that this is the #1 preferred Tarantino Oscar category.

  2. ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - 3 nominations / 2 wins
    When Tarantino is nominated in this category he wins more often than he loses. It's still somewhat bizarre to remember that the one time he attempted an adaptation, Oscar looked the other way politely (Jackie Brown) though retroactively the movie is often cited as one of his best. Surely Tarantino is headed to a fourth nomination for Once Upon a Time...

  3. [tie] BEST PICTURE and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY - 3 nominations / no wins
    The movies have always been too divisive to win the big category and not respected enough visually to take any of those Oscars which is kind of a shame. We'd argue that the Kill Bill movies are the most impressive on a cinematography level but naturally they weren't nominated despite Oscar's love of Robert Richardson.

  4. [tie] DIRECTOR, SUPPORTING ACTRESS, FILM EDITING, and SOUND EDITING  - 2 nominations / no wins
    You could argue for more attention in these categories... or not. It's definitely a shame that at least one of the Basterds women (Laurent or Kruger, take your pick) didn't get into Supporting Actress

  5. ORIGINAL SCORE - 1 nomination / 1 win
    The one and done nature of this category makes a lot of sense when you consider that almost all Tarantino soundscapes are song-based. The exception was nominated and it won... as much for Ennio Morricone's legendary career as this specific score.

  6. [tie] BEST ACTOR, SOUND MIXING, - 1 nomination / no wins
    It's so strange to remember that John Travolta is the only leading actor ever nominated for a Tarantino picture... so... uh... good luck Leonardo DiCaprio?

Oscar categories that Tarantino films have never been nominated in ranked by egregious of snubbings


    Stop to consider how many times you've seen Tarantino based characters on Halloween and then realize with horror that Oscar has never nominated any of the iconic looks. Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction in particular have iconic looks. We suspect that the closest any of his films ever came to a nomination in this category were the heavy furs of Hateful Eight  since those did actually have some nomination buzz. Arianne Philips would seem like a lock for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in a saner world but the costuming branch clearly doesn't have any particular affectino for Tarantino's filmography. 

    If Oscar hadn't been so blind to Kill Bill's awesomeness (I maintain that Vol. 1 is Tarantino's best film), it would have been a shoo-in to compete here. The Basterds omission is much harder to reckon with since they loved the film and the sets were memorable. Maybe the Art Direction branch, like the costumers, just don't happen to care about his oeuvre?

    Of  Tarantino's 10 features only 3 have true female leads. It's worth noting that The Golden Globes did nominate both Thurman (Kill Bill Vol. 1) and Grier (Jackie Brown) but Oscar passed in both of those cases.

    no eligibility so not applicable:

Oscar's rank of Tarantino movies


  1. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (8 nominations, won supporting actor)
  2. PULP FICTION (7 nominations, won screenplay)
  3. DJANGO UNCHAINED (5 nominations, won supporting actor & screenplay)
  4. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (3 nominations, won score)
  5. JACKIE BROWN (1 nomination)
  6. [tie] Oscar voters didn't care for RESERVOIR DOGS, DEATH PROOF, or either KILL BILL all of them receiving zero Oscar nominations. 

    RANK TO BE DETERMINED: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Article originally appeared on The Film Experience (http://thefilmexperience.net/).
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