Best Picture Oscars 2009

Oscar Nominations: The 50 Biggest Best Picture Blunders From 1968-2009

‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ Everett

When the Oscars decided to include up to 10 films in the Best Picture category in 2010, Hollywood rejoiced. The box-office boost that typically comes with a nomination was awarded to nearly twice as many films, including relatively obscure ones like “Winter’s Bone, ” “Amour” and “Philomena.” There was, however, one corner of the film community who didn’t enjoy the expanded Oscars: People who like to complain about the Oscars.

The annual tradition of griping about all the incredible films that didn’t get nominated is all but gone (unless you thought “The Butler” was incredible), and most film fans will be more or less satisfied with the 2014 Best Picture list released Thursday morning. With this in mind, we have decided to throw gasoline on some old fires. Using the point system devised for our interactive graphic—which determined the five “missing” films that would have been nominated if the field was always 10–we are able to objectively decipher the biggest Best Picture snubs since 1968.

Michael Sarrazin, Jane Fonda in ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’

The official WSJ Top 50 list of oversights includes everything from underappreciated war epics (“Glory, ” “Black Hawk Down”) to Charlie Kaufman-scribed brain-melters (“Adaptation, ” “Being John Malkovich”) to Meryl Streep acting vehicles (“Silkwood, ” “Sophie’s Choice”). But the two most overlooked people in recent Oscar history may be Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg, who combine for six films in the top 50.

To be sure, we are not saying that that “Earthquake” is a better movie than “Rosemary’s Baby” or that “Avalon” was more deserving than “Do the Right the Thing, ” it’s just that those films didn’t score as high in the point system. In other words, they were more snubbed across the board, but not Best Picture individually.

A note about methodology: Since recent films are able to obtain more points due to more Oscars categories (Sound Editing, for instance) and more award shows to consider, we based the snub rankings on percentage of total available points.

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