After six nominations, twenty-two years and a lot of internet memes, Leonardo DiCaprio finally picked up an Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards Sunday night. For all of you who were unaware (have you been living under a rock?), Leo had famously been snubbed on numerous occasions over the years, a curse which was starting to seem reminiscent of the Curse of Bambino. But luckily for film buffs and general Leo appreciators the world over (cue Kate Winslet gifs), he was spared the sixty-four extra years that would have entailed, and we were all able to breath a sigh of relief.
The good thing for actors is that they can get nominated over and over and over, so even if Leo hadn’t won (gasp!) he would be likely to get the opportunity again. With the actual movies though, their year is their only stab at it, and a surprising number of, in my opinion, amazing movies have been monumentally snubbed over the years. Here are my pick of the best:
- The Colour Purple (1985)
The Colour Purple was nominated a massive 11 times, and they failed to win a single little gold man back in 1985. Based on the novel of the same name, the film is set in 1930s segregated Georgia, and based on the abuse, hardship, love and achievements experienced by two black sisters and all those they meet along the way. The cast boasts stars like Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, and is directed by Steven Spielberg and I just can’t fathom how it didn’t convert a single one of its nominations. But after watching its unbearably cheesy trailer, I think I might have figured out what lost it for them.
2. Changeling (2008)
I thought Angelina Jolie’s emotionally gripping performance in the 2008 movie would have been enough to earn her an Oscar, but alas she was beaten out by Marion Cotillard, and the movie missed out on its other two nominations. I was a big fan of this when it was released, you really don’t know what to believe by the end of it.
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Ranked #1 on IMDb (and hailed by my brother as his pick for G.O.A.T), this classic was unable to grab a single one of its nominations. The 1994 picture, based on Stephen King’s short story, is a prison break, but with a difference: its all-seeing, all-knowing narrator is Morgan Freeman – how he did not win the Best Supporting Actor accolade is beyond me. A slight mitigating factor in the snubbing may have been the competition posed by Schindler’s List, released the same year.
4. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Perhaps not the gritty drama which usually goes home with the night’s spoils, but still one of my favourites, and that counts for something, right? A little fun, British comedy goes a long way in my book, and with vintage Hugh Grant in it, and an understatedly brilliant performance from John Hannah, this film can do no wrong (if you discount Andie MacDowell’s vile treatment of Grant throughout – not a fan). The film lost out on both their Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture nominations to The Piano and Schindler’s List respectively, so perhaps not so hard done by…
5. Philomena (2013)
Judi Dench is funny, endearing and downright heartbreaking in this story of a woman who was forced to give up her son, by the members of the convent she was sent to live at after falling pregnant as a teen in Northern Ireland. A journalist volunteers to help her find her child 50 years later, and their journey will just warm your heart.
6. August Osage County (2013)
What I can only describe as a dark comedy, which provoked completely different reactions from everyone I know who watched it (I laughed, others sobbed), about a family with a whole lot of drama, and a shed load of issues, mostly sparked by matriarch Meryl Streep’s character’s twisted hold on them all. As the family is reunited by a crisis in bleak Oklahoma, we see strong-willed Julia Roberts clashing heads with her perversely controlling mother (Streep), in my favourite film of 2013, and possibly on this list. My only consolation for Streep’s loss of her 4th Best Actress accolade is that Jennifer Lawrence won it for Silver Linings Playbook.
7. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Another great film from 2013, and the fifth of Leo’s Oscar snubs, this film was beyond entertaining, and unlike anything I’d ever seen, or am likely to see. The film’s director, Martin Scorsese, was criticised for glorifying the pretty serious crimes committed by the real-life Jordan Belfort, but perhaps we just have to watch my favourite scene, which left Leo needing to see a chiropractor, and is genuinely one of the funniest piece of acting I’ve ever watched.
8. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
One of my all time faves, Keira Knightly does what she does best – a period drama. This adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic is just dreamy, but alas 2005 was a tough year of competition, with Million Dollar Baby dominating the winning roster.
9. Billy Elliot (2000)
Another snubbed British gem, Julie Walters was as sassy as they come in this witty, feel-good comedy, set in the north-east of England during the mining strikes of the mid-1980s, simply about a boy with a dream to dance.
10. Fruitvale Station (2013)
The only film on my list without a single nomination, and winner of the Sundance Film Festival Award, this film stays with you. Based on the true story of a 22 year-old played by Michael B. Jordan, and how he spent the last day of 2008. Must see.