Traditionally, genre films have been snubbed by the Oscars, that is a given. But in recent years, such films have snuck into the list of nominees. A few years back Avatar, Inception, District 9 and the film versions of The Lord Of The Rings received Best Picture nominations. Most know that the fantasy epic The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King actually won for Best Picture in 2003.
While that is all well and good, there are numerous worthwhile sci-fi, fantasy, animated and horror films that were ignored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at least when it comes to the most valued prize, the Best Picture pick. The following are notable genre classics throughout the decades that should’ve at least received a nomination for Best Picture.
1930s-1940s: Frankenstein (1931) is still revered today as a genuine horror and sci-fi masterpiece with Boris Karloff’s iconic performance as the Creature. King Kong (1933) was a groundbreaking film that influenced many generations of filmmakers to this day with its unforgettable, dreamlike scenes that transported viewers into a lost world filled with a giant gorilla and dangerous dinosaurs.
Although Walt Disney received a special Oscar for Snow White And The Seven Dwarves (1937), the film failed to be nominated for Best Picture. What was nominated instead of the groundbreaking first full-length animated film? Such well-regarded classics like Test Pilot and Alexander’s Ragtime Band–note the sarcasm. Disney’s followup animated masterpieces Pinocchio (1940) and Bambi (1942) were also ignored by the Academy when it came to announcing the Best Picture nominations.
But the Academy wasn’t too dense, in this time period a few fantasy films received Best Picture nominations starting with Lost Horizon (1937), The Wizard Of Oz (1939) and It’s A Wonderful Life (1946).
1950s-1960s: Many nominated films in these two decades were either musicals or dramas. Unlike the previous decades there weren’t any genre films recognized with the exceptions of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins, Doctor Doolittle (both of which are really musicals) and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Horror and animated films were for the virtually absent among the list of Oscar nominees. Sci-fi films in this time period began to grow out their zero-budget, infantile trappings. There was an explosion of sci-fi films in the 1950s, many of them worthy of recognition by the Academy like The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), War Of The Worlds (1953), Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). But the Academy members failed to see the merit of these films, which are still fondly revered.
Kubrick’s next film after Dr. Strangelove is considered by most people as the greatest sci-fi film ever made. Yet 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was largely ignored by the Oscars. The other important sci-fi masterpiece that came out in the same year Planet Of The Apes was also snubbed by the Oscars except for a special makeup Oscar. By the way, does anyone know what won that year for Best Picture? Oliver! Another musical snoozefest and films that were nominated included Rachel, Rachel and The Lion In Winter. Are any of these films venerated by film lovers today? Thought not. Continue reading