Some great films got Oscar snubs
By Susan King
Los Angeles Times
"Best picture" is a funny thing. Sometimes a film awarded that top Oscar just doesn't hold up years later as tastes and culture change.
Take 1929's "Broadway Melody" and 1931's "Cimarron" — quaint fun, but not exactly considered beacons of exemplary filmmaking. Ditto 1956 best picture winner "Around the World in 80 Days," which has a terrific score and cameos by practically every actor in the stratosphere, but seems bloated and silly in this day and age.
Conversely, countless films praised by critics, historians and armchair movie buffs over the years didn't even receive a best picture nomination, let alone the actual statuette. Here's a look at five of those films.
"City Lights": Charlie Chaplin's 1931 masterpiece of humor and pathos finds the Little Tramp falling for a blind flower girl, who mistakenly believes he's a millionaire. The final scene — in which the blind girl, who can now see, realizes who the little man really is — is one of the most powerful moments ever put on screen.
Woody Allen called it the filmmaker's greatest movie. Stanley Kubrick noted it as his favorite film of all time. It got no Oscar nominations.
"Singin' in the Rain": You'd be hard-pressed to find a musical comedy aficionado who doesn't consider this 1952 Technicolor spoof of the early days of talkies to be the genre's greatest example.
Memorable moments including Gene Kelly performing the title tune with an umbrella, Donald O'Connor showing more flexibility than Gumby in the "Make 'Em Laugh" number and Jean Hagen's delicious sendup of a silent film diva with some speech problems. But the musical earned only a supporting nod for Hagen and a best musical scoring nomination.
"The Bad and the Beautiful": This gripping 1952 tale of a ruthless Hollywood producer (Kirk Douglas) won five Oscars — supporting actress for Gloria Grahame, art direction/set direction, cinematography, costume design and screenplay. Douglas was nominated for acting but lost to Gary Cooper for "High Noon." Director Vincente Minnelli wasn't nominated.
"Some Like It Hot": The American Film Institute proclaimed Billy Wilder's 1959 gender-bending comedy the greatest farce ever made in the U.S. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe star in this sophisticated romantic comedy about two musicians who witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and end up on the lam disguised as women in an all-girl band. Lemmon was nominated for lead actor, Wilder for best director. It was also nominated for adapted screenplay, art direction/set direction and cinematography, and won for costume design. But it got no best picture nomination.
"2001: A Space Odyssey": Moviegoers in 1968 had never seen anything quite like Stanley Kubrick's innovative sci-fi epic, penned in collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke. The cutting-edge special effects influenced George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. The film scored four Oscar nominations: best director, screenplay and best art direction, but won only for visual effects.