By Josh Reilly B., George Bate, and Julie Catherine
Ahead of this year’s Academy Awards, here are some of the biggest snubs in the show’s history.
The Empire Strikes Back
Premise: After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued across the galaxy by Darth Vader and bounty hunter Boba Fett.
The sequel to 1977’s Star Wars is now regarded as one of the best films ever made. However, the film didn’t get nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, a recognition that its predecessor received a few years before. Still, The Empire Strikes Back was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2010, and its impact on pop culture remains to this day.
Premise: Haunted by a persistent writer’s block, the aspiring author and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance, drags his wife, Wendy, and his gifted son, Danny, up snow-capped Colorado’s secluded Overlook Hotel after taking up a job as an off-season caretaker. As the cavernous hotel shuts down for the season, the manager gives Jack a grand tour, and the facility’s chef, the ageing Mr Hallorann, has a fascinating chat with Danny about a rare psychic gift called “The Shining”, making sure to warn him about the hotel’s abandoned rooms, and, in particular, the off-limits Room 237. However, instead of overcoming the dismal creative rut, little by little, Jack starts losing his mind, trapped in an unforgiving environment of seemingly endless snowstorms, and a gargantuan silent prison riddled with strange occurrences and eerie visions. Now, the incessant voices inside Jack’s head demand sacrifice. Is Jack capable of murder?
The Shining is often in the discussion of best horror films ever made, but the Stanley Kubrick-directed movie received mixed reviews initially. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the film became more highly regarded, and has only soared in popularity since then. Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance as Jack Torrance is arguably the greatest acting ever in a horror or thriller film, and is a key reason for the quality of The Shining.
Premise: The newspaper baron Charles Foster Kane, one of the richest and most powerful men in America if not the world, dies. A newspaperman digs into his past seeking the meaning of his enigmatic last word: “Rosebud.” He finds evidence of a child torn away from his family to serve Mammon. Grown into manhood, Charles Foster Kane becomes a newspaperman to indulge his idealism. He marries the niece of the man who will become President of the United States, and gradually assumes more and more power while losing more and more of his soul. Kane’s money and power does not bring him happiness, as he has lost his youthful idealism, as has the America he is a symbol for.
Citizen Kane is often regarded as the best film of all time, for various different reasons. It was the first film to utilize flashbacks and non-linear storytelling, and was also uniquely directed for a picture of this time. The fact that Orson Welles was only in his 20’s at the time of its production and release only adds to the unbelievable nature of the film. Unlike The Shining or The Empire Strikes Back, Citizen Kane was indeed nominated for Best Picture, but it lost out to How Green Was My Valley.
Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock
These are two of the best directors in cinema history, as the pair have made countless iconic films in their storied careers. However, neither received a Best Director award at the Oscars, a fact that seems inconceivable given the status of films like Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and more.