Greatest Movies That Should’ve Won an Oscar

Source: Courtesy of Arthur Mayer & Joseph Burstyn

6. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
> Directed by: Vittorio De Sica
> Starring: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> Oscar nominations: 1

Vittorio De Sica’s celebrated movie about the struggles of Italians after World War II was given an honorary Academy Award — or a non-competitive award — for outstanding foreign film seven years before the academy established the foreign category. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 98% Freshness rating, and 94% of audiences responded favorably to the movie. Cesare Zavattini was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay but lost to Joseph L. Mankiewicz for “A Letter to Three Wives.” De Sica, one of Italy’s greatest directors, only received one Oscar nomination, and that was for Best Supporting Actor in “A Farewell to Arms” in 1958. “All the King’s Men” won three Oscars in 1950.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

7. Blade Runner (1982)
> Directed by: Ridley Scott
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
> IMDb rating: 8.1/10
> Oscar nominations: 2

The futuristic sci-fi film directed by Ridley Scott was a modest box office success, posting $27.6 million in gross revenue over six weeks before becoming a cult favorite. It failed to win either of the Oscars it was nominated for, including for visual effects, losing to Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” in 1983. Scott would go on to be nominated for Best Director for three other films, including the blockbuster “Gladiator.” “Blade Runner” enjoys favor on Rotten Tomatoes, with an 89% Freshness rating among critics and 91% among audiences.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

8. Cape Fear (1962)
> Directed by: J. Lee Thompson
> Starring: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen
> IMDb rating: 7.7/10
> Oscar nominations: 0

The tense revenge drama with Robert Mitchum at his most menacing is about a man stalking the family of the lawyer who sent him to jail. The movie failed to earn an Oscar nomination as David Lean’s epic “Lawrence of Arabia” dominated the Academy Awards in 1963. “Cape Fear” made more than $60 million, adjusted for inflation in a strong movie year that included “The Longest Day,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” (also starring Gregory Peck), and “Dr. No.” Bernard Herrmann’s score of impending doom helps make “Cape Fear” a favorite among Rotten Tomatoes critics, who awarded the film a 100% Freshness rating, and 86% of audiences were absorbed by the white-knuckle drama. The film was remade in 1991 starring Robert De Niro.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

9. Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
> Directed by: Richard Brooks
> Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> Oscar nominations: 6

Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams, the film about a dysfunctional Southern family stars Oscar-winning actors Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, and Burl Ives. Yet despite this award-winning talent and six Oscar nominations, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” failed to win any awards of its own. That year’s Best Picture winner was the now less popular musical comedy “Gigi.”

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

10. Diner (1982)
> Directed by: Barry Levinson
> Starring: Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Daniel Stern, Paul Reiser
> IMDb rating: 7.1/10
> Oscar nominations: 1

Director Barry Levinson was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, for the story of the passage of college grads into adulthood in 1959 Baltimore. It was a modest success and grossed more than $14 million. Levinson was thwarted from winning the statue by John Briley, who won for “Gandhi,” which dominated the Academy Awards in 1983. Levinson would eventually win a Best Director Academy Award in 1989 for “Rain Man.” “Diner” has a 92% Freshness rating among Rotten Tomatoes critics and 77% among audiences.