10 of the best films to miss out on the best picture Oscar

Category: News

The 94th Academy Award ceremony takes place on 28 March this year. Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog leads the 2022 race with 12 nominations, with Dune (10) and Belfast (7) also in the running for the best picture Oscar.

With many great films in the running over the years, some true classics have taken home the top prize. Many others, though, have narrowly missed out.

Here’s a rundown of some of the best films to be nominated, but that failed to win, the best picture Oscar.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane topped the British Film Institute’s (BFI’s) Sight & Sound magazine’s “Greatest film ever made” list for 50 consecutive years.

It was back at the 14th Oscars ceremony that Welles’ genius came up against Hitchcock (Suspicion), John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) and John Ford (the eventual winner with How Green Is My Valley).

Citizen Kane tells the story of the life and legacy of the fictional media baron Charles Foster Kane. The film marked Welles’ directorial debut.

2. Double Indemnity (1944)

Billy Wilder’s 1944 crime noir is based on James M. Cain’s book of the same name, with a screenplay co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler. It lost out in the best picture category to Bing Crosby’s musical comedy-drama Going My Way.

Double Indemnity stars Fred MacMurray as an insurance salesman seduced by Barbara Stanwyck’s femme fatale. The title refers to a life insurance clause that doubles the payout for accidental deaths.

3. Mary Poppins (1964)

This perennial classic is based on a series of books by P. L. Travers. The musical film version stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and won five Oscars, including best actress, best original score, and best song for ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’.

When the Banks children’s latest nanny (the latest in a long line) resigns, their father dictates an advert for a replacement. His children, meanwhile, are noting their own list of requirements.

And so, Mary Poppins arrives, practically perfect in every way, and destined to turn the Banks family’s lives upside down.

4. Jaws (1975)

The 48th Academy Award for best picture was tightly contested. Films by Stanley Kubrick (Barry Lyndon), Robert Altman (Nashville) and Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon) all competed for the prize with Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jaws.

The Oscar went to Milos Foreman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest while Spielberg failed to receive a nomination for best director.

Jaws remains a classic, however, and the film didn’t go home empty-handed. It won the Oscar for editing and for John Williams’ iconic original score.

5. Star Wars (1977)

Enduring blockbusters with faithful legions of fans haven’t always fared well at the Oscars, from Jaws to Spider-Man: No Way Home and 1977’s Star Wars.

The ultimate space opera franchise, the Star Wars universe is spawning spin-offs, toys, and Disney Resort rides to this day.

The first film, loosely inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, is a science-fiction classic firmly embedded in popular culture.

On the night, the film lost out to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

6. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Francis Ford Coppola’s war epic famously relocates Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness from 19th-century Congo to the Vietnam War.

Filming issues included severe weather and the near-fatal heart attack of lead actor Martin Sheen, leading to the shoot time doubling. The experience spawned its own documentary film, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, co-directed by Francis Ford Coppola’s wife Eleanor.

Apocalypse Now was up against (among others) Bob Fosse’s All that Jazz and the Meryl Streep/Dustin Hoffman-vehicle Kramer vs Kramer. It ultimately lost out to the latter.

7. Raging Bull (1980)

Martin Scorsese has famously had a tough time at the Oscars. From nine nominations for best director, he has won just once. He has also had multiple best picture nominations, including for all-time great films like Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Gangs of New York.

At the 53rd Academy Award ceremony Raging Bull, Scorsese’s black-and-white biopic of boxer Jake La Motta, lost out to Ordinary People, the directorial debut of Robert Redford.

Scorsese would go on to win best director and best picture for The Departed, more than a quarter of a century later.

8. A Room with a View (1986)

James Merchant and Ishmael Ivory made 44 films together. They received multiple Oscar nominations, including for best picture with The Remains of the Day, Howard’s End, and A Room with a View.

The latter, released in 1986, marked the film debut of Helena Bonham-Carter and was based on the E.M. Forster novel of the same name.

It lost out to Oliver Stone’s searing Vietnam epic Platoon. Howards End and The Remains of the Day lost out to Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven and Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, respectively.

9. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Ang Lee had already directed two best picture nominees when Brokeback Mountain was nominated at the 78th Oscars.

Having previously lost out with Sense and Sensibility and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lee’s tale of the gay relationship between cowboys Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist failed to win for best picture. It did, however, secure Lee the best director award.

Based on Annie Proulx’s short story of the same name, the film garnered almost universal praise and also won Oscars for best score and original screenplay, co-written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry.

10. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

When Olive Hoover finds out she has qualified for the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant being held in California in two days, the whole family want to support her.

This road movie comedy follows the family’s 800-mile journey from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Redondo Beach, California. A directorial debut, based on a first-time writer’s screenplay, the film was a critical and commercial success nominated for four Academy Awards.

It lost out in the best picture category to The Departed.