For many stars, the Academy Awards represents the absolute pinnacle of achievement and acclaim in Hollywood.
Taking home an Oscar is something actors dream about from their earliest days, with some stars willing to do almost anything to win (Leo, we’re looking at you).
However, the Academy doesn’t always get it right when it comes to celebrating the best work in the film industry.
Crash became one of the most surprising Best Picture winners of all time back in 2006, when Sandra Bullock and Matt Dillon’s film beat a list of hotly-tipped films. It’s a perfectly fine, if totally preposterous thriller, but when you consider Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Munich were all nominated, it has to go down as one of the Academy’s biggest upsets.
Saving Private Ryan seemed a dead cert when it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1999, but it was schmaltzy romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love which came away with the award that year.
Dances With Wolves (1991)
Goodfellas was unbelievably lucky to lose out to Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves back in 1991. Kevin Costner’s epic western is a fine film in its own right, but pales in comparison to Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. One thing’s for sure, there’s no way Joe Pesci found it funny.
Art Carney (1975)
Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson gave the performances of their lives in the run up to the 1975 Oscars. The Godfather and Chinatown were both era-defining films with powerful performances at their heart. However, it was Art Carney who took the Best Actor prize for comedy Harry and Tonto.
The King’s Speech (2011)
The King’s Speech might be one of the most successful British films of recent years, but it still came as something of a surprise when it beat Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, the Coen Brothers’s True Grit remake, the Social Network, 127 Hours and The Fighter to the top spot.
How Green Was My Valley (1942)
Citizen Kane might be regarded as the greatest film of all time, but it wasn’t even recognised as the best film of 1942 after How Green Was My Valley won the prize for Best Picture that year. The shock loss hasn’t damaged the film’s reputation too much though and Orson Welles’ classic is critically lauded to this day.
Judi Dench (1998)
That Judi Dench is a fantastically talented actor has never been in doubt, but her Best Supporting Actress award for Shakespeare In Love in 1998 came as something of a shock. Dench was on-screen for a grand total of eight minutes as Queen Elizabeth, and her win certainly ruffled a few feathers.
Beatrice Straight (1977)
Beatrice Straight must go down as one of the most baffling Oscar winners of all time. She claimed the Best Supporting Actress prize with only five minutes screen time in 1977’s Network, marking the shortest Oscar-winning performance ever. Safe to say it made the other nominees mad as hell…
The Rocky movie series got more ridiculous as it went along, reaching a preposterous peak with the unbelievably epic training montage in Rocky IV. However, it all started rather more seriously, with the first film representing a hard-hitting drama. However, it was still a shock to see the film knock out the likes of Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men and Network in 1977.
Forrest Gump (1995)
Forrest Gump might be one of the most popular films of the last 25 years, but it’s clearly nowhere near as good as Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. The teams behind the superior films would have been rightly aggrieved to have lost out to Robert Zemeckis’s schmaltzy drama for the Best Picture award in 1995.