Biggest Oscar snubs of all time – from Brokeback Mountain to Leonardo DiCaprio

The Oscars returns on Sunday, 9 February, in a whirlwind of red carpets, clicking camera lenses and chinking Champagne glasses.

It’s certainly been a stellar year in film, with 1917 a hot contender for best picture, Joaquin Pheonix a shoo-in for best actor and Renee Zellweger a likely winner for best actress at this year’s ceremony.

But for every winner, there are always many poker-faced losers.

Each acting and technical category is usually comprised of five nominees in total, while nine films are nominated for best picture this year.

So what and who have been on the receiving end of the biggest snubs over the years?

Here’s a quick trip down memory lane…

7. Glenn Close

How has this woman never won an Oscar?

This, despite seven nominations, including best actress nods for 1989’s Dangerous Liaisons and 2019’s (absolutely amazing) The Wife.

6. Citizen Kane

Widely considered the greatest film ever made, Citizen Kane nevertheless lost out to John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley (us either) back in 1942.

5. Stanley Kubrick

He directed groundbreaking, genre-defining movies like The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut.

And yet the late Stanley Kubrick never won a directing Oscar. His only statute was for 2001, and best visual effects, in 1969.

4. Spike Lee

His provocative masterpiece BlacKkKlansman won best-directed screenplay at last year’s ceremony, but failed to pick up best director and best picture, despite being nominated for both.

That the enjoyable but wishy-washy Green Book took home the latter award bemused film fans around the world, including Spike, who famously commented: ‘the ref made bad call.’

The upset echoed a controversy in 1990 when Spike’s Do The Right Thing failed to score a best picture nomination, the same year Driving Miss Daisy won the award.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, generally

He won best actor for The Revenant in 2016, but Leo was nominated for the same award for stronger performances in better films three times before: in 2005 for The Aviator, in 2007 for Blood Diamond and 2014 for The Wolf of Wall Street.

Perhaps a best actor win this year for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will make up for it?

2. Saving Private Ryan

OK, director Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks aren’t exactly short on Oscars, but for Saving Private Ryan to lose out on best picture to Shakespeare In Love (!) is pretty bizarre.

That said, the now-disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein set the trend for tireless behind-the scenes-campaigning for his Gwenyth Paltrow-starring film to sweep the board – which is food for thoughts. Sweep the board it did, winning seven awards including best actress.

Saving Private Ryan is now one of those weird examples of a film losing best picture but winning best director (Spielberg also won for Schindler’s List in 1994). Go figure.

1 Brokeback Mountain

A sweeping gay romance starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain was pipped to the post for the 2006 best picture Oscar by the largely forgotten Crash, starring Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon, now considered one of the worst recipients of the award in Oscars history.

The cultural fallout was huge, with some critics pointed to homophobia and heterosexism among voters (6,000 of them, FYI), with one theory being that some Academy members didn’t even bother watching the film because it wasn’t to their taste.

The film at least took home best-adapted screenplay (it was based on Anne Proulx’s short story) and best director for Ang Lee, and has gone down in history as the 13th highest-grossing romance film of all time.

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