Ghosts of Oscars Past

Be haunted by these four cinematic snubs

Alex Paine
4th April 2024
Image source: IMDb
The most prestigious award in Hollywood, everybody wants an Oscar. But with the best of the best competing for Best Picture there have been some spectacular and undeserving snubs. Our writers dig up some of the Ghosts of Oscars Past. Which film do you think deserved to take the golden trophy?

Alex Paine - Whiplash (2015)

Damien Chazelle's extraordinary Whiplash lost out to Birdman as Best Picture at the 87th Academy Awards, which in my opinion is so incredibly unfair. Whiplash remains my favourite Damien Chazelle film as none of his other works, not even La La Land, rival this in terms of the sheer power and drama on display. There are enthralling performances by Miles Teller and JK Simmons, both doing their best ever work, and the emotional journey of Andrew Neiman into an obsessed top-flight jazz drummer is something to behold. The musicianship is electrifying, the cast is commanding, and the film is simply outstanding.

Noelia Fernández Pérez - La La Land (2017)

La La Land was one of the best films to be released in 2016, and everyone expected it to win the Oscar for Best Picture. The movie received 11 nominations, and that night, Chazelle took home the Oscar for Best Director, and Emma Stone won Best Actress.

After a quick break, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway came onstage to present the award for Best Picture. When they opened the envelope, they looked at it confusedly but still declared La La Land the winner even though the real winner was Moonlight. The producers noticed the mistake and quickly told the public, ending their speech with, “We lost, by the way”.

Jessica McKeown - The Favourite (2018)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (2018) was nominated for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars but Green Book took the trophy home. Starring Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as cousins vying for the affection and attention of Queen Anne, played by Olivia Colman, the darkly humorous film is based on the true story of Sarah Churchill and Abigail Hill. The performances from all three leading ladies are enthralling to watch, performances that led to critical acclaim, and The Favourite serves as an excellent starting point for those wanting to get into Yorgos Lanthimos's work.

Olivia Carter - Black Swan (2010)

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, really changed the horror genre entirely. Losing out to The King’s Speech, the self-created abyss of madness portrayed on-screen by Natalie Portman is often forgotten as something that instils fear amongst viewers, but manages to scare me every time. Beauty and horror are perfectly balanced, with passion turning into obsession, marking this psychosexual thriller as Aronofsky’s best since Requiem for a Dream (2000). It is a bizarre yet bewildering study of madness and a thrillingly aesthetic piece of cinema to watch. I feel strongly that Black Swan could have won Best Picture and that The King’s Speech was a particularly safe option for them (something that has rung true since, with winners such as Nomadland).

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