Earlier this year, the inherent king of the box office, James Cameron, had a lot to say about the Academy and their alleged “bias” towards big blockbusters, not “rewarding the films that people really want to see.” He connects the annual award show’s declining ratings to the idea that the members of the Academy use it to propagate movies audiences aren’t that interested in – the last Best Picture winner to gross over $100 million was Argo in 2013.
In hindsight, Cameron, the Titanic director who seems to be an exception to his own rule, may have a point. I remember talking to my uncle after Birdman’s big win at the Oscars in 2014. Having seen the movie two times prior to the broadcast, I thought for the most part that people were on the same boat with their predictions. And that’s why I was shocked when he told me that no one saw it. We had the same conversation the next year with Spotlight, and again this year with Moonlight.
Whether or not this pattern is a meticulous plot by the Academy to corral audiences into seeing smaller films, a quick glance at a list of the show’s past champions and competitors will make you ask one of two questions: “how did (blank) not win?” or “what is (blank)?”
And so, on that note, here are 10 movie blockbusters that didn’t win the Oscars’ grand prize, but probably deserved to.