Best Non-Best Pictures

presented by j:

Tonight’s the big night: the Oscars. But I dedicate this final post of the 2017 Oscar season to the bridesmaids who could never be the bride. Here are my best movies to be nominated for but not win Best Picture.

10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Sure, I’d agree it’s not better than Gone With the Wind, but the influence of Victor Fleming’s musical fantasy is undeniable and the imaginative production design was unparalleled for its time.

9. Citizen Kane (1941)

Duh. This movie needs no introduction. It may be the Academy’s greatest “oops” moment. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s widely regarded as the greatest film ever made, so I suppose it gets the last laugh.

8. Giant (1956)

How did this Texas-sized epic not win? That year’s winner was adventure-comedy Around the World in 80 Days, which is a pretty forgettable film. But Giant? It still towers as one of cinema’s great accomplishments, featuring incredible turns from all three stars, all legends: Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean. Alas, it only won one Oscar: Best Director for George Stevens.

7. Dr. Strangelove: or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

The grandfather of all dark comedies, Kubrick’s masterpiece is one of the best-written scripts of all time and impeccably directed and acted. It’s wonderfully “strange” title echoes how relevant it remains in our current geopolitical climate.

6. The Graduate (1967)

While BP-winner In the Heat of the Night is excellent and worthy, The Graduate is the more innovative film with an undeniably great lead performance from Dustin Hoffman and song score by Simon & Garfunkel. Like Giant, it took home a lone Oscar for director Mike Nichols.

5. Star Wars (1977)

I’d agree that Annie Hall is the better film, but what would the film industry be without Star Wars? Its mark on popular culture is undeniable. It’s worth noting that every single live action Star Wars film has received at least one Oscar nominationand the original film won 6 awards, more than any other film that year. That’s quite a legacy.

4. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Between Peter Weir’s expert direction and an incredible cast led by the incredible Robin Williams and a stellar script, there’s not much room for any weaknesses in this late ’80s classic   a group of prep school books finding their independence through poetry and community. It’s fantastic.

3. Fargo (1996)

The Coen brothers’ wintry north Midwest homespun murder story remains one of the best ever. In retrospect, it is the more deserving film than lush war drama The English Patient.

2. The Pianist (2002)

Again, in retrospect, The Pianist is superior to Chicago in every area except cheese. It is presumed that Roman Polanski’s masterpiece almost won when it surprised in categories for Best Actor Adrien Brody and Best Director. Alas…

1. Boyhood (2014)

I’ll keep this brief. Everyone knows my undying love for this movie. Not only do I believe it was robbed a Best Picture Oscar, but it’s the best movie that’s been made in two decades.

Obviously this is very subjective and if I were to write this two weeks ago, I may have included other movies. And if I wrote it in another two weeks, it would look different still. After all, Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption, It’s a Wonderful Life, To Kill a Mockingbird, and plenty other BP-nominated films could easily make this list too.

(Congrats to Ethan Hawks for getting on this list twice.)

What Best Picture nominees-but-not-winners would you select?

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