Winning the best-picture Oscar doesn’t just signal that a movie is regarded by Hollywood as the top achievement in the medium for the year. It can also help cement a movie’s status as an enduring classic, like past winners “The Godfather,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” and “On the Waterfront.”
But the Academy voters don’t always get it right. Tucked away in the 90 years of Oscar ceremonies are best-picture winners that quickly vanished from the zeitgeist, never to be heard from again. That’s often because they weren’t as good as originally thought.
With no clear frontrunner in this year’s field of best-picture nominees — will the Academy go with audience favorite “Black Panther,” or critical darling “Roma,” or a movie that has been winning through award season like “Green Book” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” — it’s hard to tell just yet if we’re looking at an upset year when the Oscars air on February 24.
Here we look back on the 10 most disappointing best-picture winners and choose the nominees that should have won: