“Birdman” took home best picture at the 87th Academy Awards Sunday night, and while nobody disputes the film deserved to be nominated, many believed “Boyhood” was the sure winner. The “Birdman” win sparked a heated debate over which movie should have won the coveted Oscar. Only time will tell which will age better in the minds of critics and fans, but it wouldn't be the first time the academy got things wrong.
Here are the five most egregious Oscar 'mistakes' of all time:
1. “Forrest Gump” Wins Best Picture Over “Pulp Fiction”
Everybody likes “Forrest Gump.” Tom Hanks was delightful as the stuttering titular character, accidently altering American history at every turn, and his win for best actor at the 67th Academy Awards in 1995 can be forgiven. However, the largely gimmicky and clichéd drama beat out Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” -- one of the most innovative and influential films of the 1990s -- for best picture. That is unforgiveable. If the academy had wanted to name a more conventional drama the winner they could have at least given the Oscar to the much-better “Shawshank Redemption.”
2. Bob Fosse Wins Best Director Over Francis Ford Coppola
At the 45th Academy Awards in 1973, Bob Fosse won best director for his adaptation of the Broadway music “Cabaret.” However, Fosse won the award over Francis Ford Coppola for “The Godfather.” “Cabaret” -- the movie at least -- has largely been forgotten by time, but “The Godfather” has gone on to be considered one of the greatest movies of all time. Hindsight is 20/20, but this one was definitely a big mistake.
3. “Oliver!” Wins Best Picture Over “2001: A Space Odyssey”
Once again, a musical gets in the way of history. “2001: A Space Odyssey” is considered one of the all-time greatest films and the benchmark in sci-fi. The film’s enigmatic ending is still being analyzed today -- especially with the release of “Interstellar,” which drew many comparisons to “2001.” However, the film lost out to the British musical at the 41st Academy Awards in 1969. Worse still, Stanley Kubrick lost best director to Carol Reed (“Oliver!”), despite crafting the most stunning visual effects ever seen at the time. Shamefully, Kubrick -- indisputable one of the best directors in history, never won a best director Oscar.
4. Billy Wilder Wins Best Director Over Alfred Hitchcock
Speaking of legendary directors who never won a best director Oscar, at the 33rd Academy Awards in 1961, Billy Wilder (“The Apartment”) beat out Alfred Hitchcock for “Psycho.” This one is a bit tougher because “The Apartment” is a classic and Wilder is Hollywood royalty. However, the “Master of Suspense” never won a best director Oscar and if he ever deserved one, it would have been here after essentially inventing the slasher film.
5. “Crash” Wins Best Picture
At the 78th Academy Awards in 2006, the academy, seemingly eager to make a political statement, named “Crash” its best picture winner. While the film’s message about race has its heart in the right place, the movie itself was heavy handed and the intersecting storylines largely contrived. The win was made worse by the fact that all four of the other nominees -- “”Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” and “Munich” -- were better films.
What was the biggest Oscar mistake of all time? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.