Circuit Q&A – What Is the Best Film to NOT Recieve a Best Picture Nomination?


Oscar watching is a three-headed hydra of emotions. There’s the fun of predicting who will be nominated, the passionate pleas for those on one’s nomination wish list and the complaining about the movies that did not make the cut. Secretly, the last one is everyone’s favorite part of following the Oscars. A wide-range of great films didn’t get nominated for Best Picture over the years but what is the best?

The subject of snubs is a broad topic because the term can take on various connotations. A snub can be based on one’s personal preference of what should have been nominated. It can also be used in regards to a movie that had the right precursors but failed to garner a Best Picture nomination. Then there’s Sidney Pollack’s brilliant 1969 drama “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” The movie holds the record of receiving the most nominations (nine) without receiving a Best Picture nomination. Once voters check boxes for Best Director, several acting prizes and below the line categories, it seems Best Picture should be a given. But that wasn’t the case for Pollack’s film.

“They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”
Michael Sarrazin, Jane Fonda
1969 Palomar Pictures
© 1978 Bob Willoughby

It’s hard to believe some movies that appear on every list of the greatest films weren’t nominated for Best Picture. “Psycho,” “Vertigo” and “North by Northwest” were all Oscar-nominated but not for Best Picture. Context is important because “Psycho” was deeply controversial when it was released. However, it still managed to receive four nominations, including Best Director for Alfred Hitchcock.

Every year there are movies that hit with the right group and at the right time. If that happens, they often ride a wave to nomination morning. The 2018 field of Best Picture nominees left many people scratching their heads. How did “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Vice,” and the Best Picture winner “Green Book” make the cut over so many great movies from last year? Steven McQueen’s “Widows,” on paper, felt primed for Oscar attention but failed to secure any significant Best Picture nominations all season. Loving a film is all that matters and a Best Picture nomination doesn’t define a great movie. But sometimes it’s hard to remember that in the depths of awards season.

What’s the best movie NOT nominated for Best Picture? Let us know in the comments below!