Moviegeek5: Big Oscar Losers
They say it is an honour just to be nominated, but for a small group of films that saying has been taken a bit too far. They have received an impressive number of nominations only to watch one winner after another announced and have had to, at the end of the night, go home empty handed.
We have selected five films that all received 8 Oscar nominations or more without winning a single one. This has not ditracted from their places in movie history (the nominations make sure of that) but we still think they deserve some recognition before the next Oscar show where another disappointed movie crew may very well join their ranks.
What is your favourite big Oscar loser? Let us know in the comments below.
The Elephant Man (1980)
The earliest entry on the list with an impressive 8 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, is the evocative black-and-white rendition of the tragic real-life story of the so-called Elephant Man. In reality a human being born with monstrous deformeties, John Merrick finds little sympathy in Victorian London, a city and an age fascinated with the macabre. His only friend and sympathizer is Frederick Treves, who sees the man caught inside a deform body and painful existence. John Hurt is unrecognisable and marvellous as the eponymous man and director David Lynch (Blue Velvet, 1986) was rightly nominated for what is his most accesible film.
The Color Purple (1985)
The first time Spielberg tried his hands at more serious drama, the Academy happily rewarded his effort with no less than 11 Oscar nominations. The evening ended in a bit of an anticlimax as the film failed to win a signle one, thus tying the record for most nominations without a win with The Turning Point (1977). Based on Alice Walker’s Pullitzer Prize winning novel, it is the story of a woman (Whoopi Goldberg) and her struggle through decades of abuse at the hand of the men in her life. But this powerful and well-played story was not anough to sway the Academy, and that year’s big winner was Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa (1985).
Gangs of New York (2002)
Influential and highly respected American director Martin Scorsese had to wait until The Departed (2010) to win an Oscar for Best Director, but it was not for lack of nominations in the past. Gangs of New York was no exception with a whopping 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay, making it the most nominated Scorsese movie until the record was broken by his follow-up The Aviator (2004) with 11 nominations. The film also marked Scorsese’s first collaboration with Leonardo Dicaprio (for more see: Moviegeek5: Scorsese and Dicaprio). Gangs of New York is a violent and unusual story of mid 19th century New York and one of Scorsese most conventional films.
True Grit (2010)
Remakes are often chided by film fans although quite a number of them are as greater or even greater than their earlier counterparts. Henry Hathaway’s original adaptation of Charles Portis’s novel, True Grit (1969), had its flaws, but also had John Wayne on topform, a performance for which he was awarded an Oscar. The Coen brothers 2010 version is in many ways a better film, with Jeff Bridges doing his best to fill some big shoes and introducing Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 2, 2015). Despite being a great film, it was up against stronger competition in the shape of films like The king’s Speech, The Social Network, and Black Swan, with The King’s Speech taking some the biggest awards.
American Hustle (2013)
One of the Academy’s latest (and most divisive) love affairs has been with writer/director David O. Russell whose four latest films have been nominated. American Hustle received a staggering 10 Oscar nominations for what is arguably not a particularly outstanding film. A stylish crime film with as much sleak and dramatic filling as Christian Bale’s hairdoo, the film was not to everyone’s taste but pleased fans of Russell. A good ensamble movie, the film had memorable moments, but did not have what was needed to compete against 12 Years a Slave (2013).