Every year when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announces their nominations for best picture, Oscar pundits and film critics inevitably cry foul over confounding inclusions and baffling exclusions. The academy is often criticized for their preference for dramas over comedies, as well as genre bias against horror, sci-fi and foreign films. In 2009, the academy expanded its best picture category to include up to 10 films instead of only five – similar to the academy's earlier days. Many thought it would help broaden the range of films vying for the prestigious award. But despite the wider nomination field, many films still miss out on a nomination. Here are some of the worst Oscar snubs for best picture since 2000.
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No nomination for... Almost Famous, but a nomination for the insipid Chocolat?
Best picture: Gladiator, winning over Traffic and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, likely due to the academy's penchant toward awarding actors-turned-directors
No nomination for... Mulholland Drive or Memento
Best picture: A Beautiful Mind, winning over The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
No nomination for... Far From Heaven
Best picture: Chicago, winning over The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist and The Hours
No nomination for... Finding Nemo, but Seabiscuit slipped in? Finding Nemo did, however, win for best animated feature.
Best picture: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – the first fantasy film to win the top prize
No nomination for... Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but one for Finding Neverland?
Oscar winner: Million Dollar Baby, winning over Sideways
No nomination for... A History of Violence or The Squid and the Whale
Best picture: Crash, winning over Brokeback Mountain – what countless critics, including Mic's Kevin O'Keefe, have criticized for being "one of the worst best picture choice[s] ever"
No nomination for... Children of Men, Volver, Pan's Labyrinth or United 93 – though Pan's Labyrinth did receive a nomination for best foreign language film.
Best Picture: The Departed – the film that finally granted Martin Scorsese his first Oscar for best director.
No nomination for... Zodiac or Ratatouille – though Ratatouille's snub arguably jumpstarted discussion on why animated films, particularly from Pixar, were getting passed over for best picture, despite their immense critical acclaim and box office draw. At the time, the only animated film to ever have been nominated for best picture was Beauty and the Beast, at the 64th Academy Awards in 1991. Ratatouille would go on to win the Oscar for best animated feature.
Best picture: No Country For Old Men, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
No nomination for... The Wrestler, The Dark Knight or WALL-E – the outcry over the latter two films not getting nominated, especially when the critically divisive The Reader did, was arguably the catalyst that led to the academy expanding the number of best picture nominees. WALL-E would go on to win best animated feature.
Best picture: Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle
82nd Academy Awards (March 7, 2010) – the first ceremony after the expansion of the best picture category
The 10 nominated films were diverse and mostly fair from a critical standpoint, but there were supporters of more interesting projects like Where The Wild Things and Fantastic Mr. Fox getting nominated for best picture in lieu of middling fare like The Blind Side.
Best picture: The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow – the first female director to win the Oscar for best director
No nomination for... Blue Valentine – likely due to its initial NC-17 rating hindering its Oscar prospects
Best picture: The King's Speech, winning over The Social Network
No nomination for... The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Drive, or Melancholia, despite there being only nine nominated films, including Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which received mixed reviews
Best picture: The Artist – the first silent film to win the top prize in 83 years
No nomination for... The Master, despite there being only nine nominees, though many of the most critically acclaimed feature films of 2012 were represented in the category
Best picture: Argo, winning over Zero Dark Thirty – perhaps a consolation prize due to Ben Affleck's best director snub
No nomination for... Inside Llewyn Davis, Fruitvale Station or Before Midnight, despite there being only nine nominated films
Best picture: 12 Years a Slave – the first film directed by a black director to win the top prize
No nomination for... Gone Girl, Two Days, One Night or Ida, despite there being only eight nominated films – though Ida did win for best foreign language film
Best picture: Birdman, winning over Selma and Boyhood
No nomination for... Carol, Straight Outta Compton or Creed, despite there being only eight nominated films
Best picture winner is still pending, although it does seems like a two-horse race between The Revenant an The Big Short.