No Kathryn Bigelow?! No Ben Affleck?! Yesterday’s Oscar nominations brought their fair share of shocking snubs, but it certainly wasn’t the first time the Academy stuck it to likely contenders. Looking back over Academy Awards history, there are many dumbfounding, surprising omissions to be found—realizations that underscore the belief that Oscar nods hardly indicate long-term quality. Be them unforgivable or just bewildering, we’ve selected 15 snubs that no doubt had people talking…heatedly.
Best Picture, City Lights (1930). At Oscar’s fourth ceremony, Cimarron walked away with Best Picture, and Best Director went to Norman Taurog for Skippy. But there was no love at all for Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, now considered a priceless treasure of the silent era. Failing to earn nods for Director, Actor, and, most egregiously, Picture, the iconic romance wasn’t the last Chaplin classic to be stiffed by the Academy—they also passed on Modern Times six years later.