13 Films Never Nominated for Best Picture

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) GARY LOCKWOOD TTO 016FOH

The Oscars inevitably bring a lot of grumbling about which films the Academy has overlooked. But if one of your favorites is among them, perhaps you can at least take heart in the fact that it’s in great company. The Oscars have a very long history of backing the wrong horse. Some of what we now view as unimpeachable classics weren’t even seen as Best Picture nomination-worthy at the time.

Hit the jump for a list of films never nominated for Best Picture.

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight (2008)

Okay, so this one’s not a shocker. Everyone remembers the great Dark Knight snub of the late aughts, if only because it really wasn’t that long ago. But it’s still a solid example of why people are so skeptical about the Oscars. The Dark Knight wasn’t your stereotypical “Oscar movie” — but shouldn’t it have been? Everyone loved this movie, from critics to audiences. So who, exactly, was pushing to nominate The Reader over this? (There’s an answer for that question, actually, and it’s one you should have expected: Harvey Weinstein.)

What was nominated instead?

Slumdog Millionaire (winner)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader

What was The Dark Knight nominated for instead?

It got eight nominations in all, most of them in the technical categories. It won two: Sound Editing (Richard King) and Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger). And let’s be real, there’s a good chance it would’ve lost the latter if it weren’t for Ledger’s shocking death.

Gary Lockwood And Keir Dullea In '2001: A Space Odyssey'

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey was divisive when it first opened. Even now, after a half-century of homages and rip-offs, it still feels bracingly odd. It’s hard to fault the Academy, then, for not having the foresight to recognize 2001‘s eventual place in the cultural canon. It’s just now, when we regard 2001 as one of the best films of all time, that it feels surprising the Academy didn’t think more highly of it in 1968.

What was nominated instead?

Oliver! (winner)
Funny Girl
The Lion in Winter
Rachel, Rachel
Romeo and Juliet

What was 2001: A Space Odyssey nominated for instead?

Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects. Stanley Kubrick got his one and only Oscar for that last category.

Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

The same year the Best Picture category left out 2001: A Space Odyssey, it gave the cold shoulder to another future classic. Rosemary’s Baby wasn’t the first story to see the horror in the mundane miracle of pregnancy, but it defined the trope to the extent that any horror film about pregnancy these days feels like a Rosemary’s Baby homage. This film was also a big part of the legitimization of horror in the eyes of some viewers. Horror got Best Picture nominations with later films like The Exorcist and Jawsbut it wouldn’t be until 1992, when The Silence of the Lambs took the statue, that a genre film would win Best Picture.

What was nominated instead?

Oliver! (winner)
Funny Girl
The Lion in Winter
Rachel, Rachel
Romeo and Juliet

What was Rosemary’s Baby nominated for instead?

Best Adapted Screenplay for Roman Polanski (who did not win), and Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon (who did win).

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