Billy Eichner, comedian, Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street
Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar, but you know who has? Melissa Etheridge. Have a nice day.
Tim Dirks, founder, Filmsite.org
Among the 10 films nominated for Best Picture in 1942, there were two stand-outs: The Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane, Orson Welles’s first feature film, generally acknowledged by critics and film fans as the greatest film ever made. However, the top prize went to John Ford’s sentimental How Green Was My Valley, about a Welsh mining town and family at the turn of the century.
Victoria Wilson, publishing executive, editor, and author, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck
More of a miss than the biggest mistake: the 1945 awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay going to Leo McCarey’s Going My Way instead of Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, with its near-perfect script, co-written by Raymond Chandler, of murder and soul corruption. America and the Academy, stretched taut by wartime trauma and death, wanted warmth, humanity, and tradition. Not much seemed human about Double Indemnity except the heat of Phyllis Dietrichson’s ankle bracelet, and even that was made of metal.
Owen Gleiberman, film critic, Entertainment Weekly
The Academy Awards must live in eternal shame for the legendarily awful 1989 musical number that paired Rob Lowe and Snow White (together again!).
Laurie Jacobson, Hollywood historian, writer/producer, and author, Dishing Hollywood
Judy Garland was front-runner for her spectacular performance in A Star is Born in 1955, but she’d made trouble for the studios and the nod went to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl.
Peter Biskind, film historian, writer
The Academy has never figured out how to manage foreign films. Last time around, it gave the cold shoulder to a handful of the best: Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, one of this year’s greatest films, as well as Bethlehem, Gloria, and Wadjda.
Richard Brody, movie-listings editor, The New Yorker
By limiting Foreign Language Film nominees to one to a country and granting each country’s official commission the power to choose its nominee, the Academy defers to repressive governments’ exclusion of movies by dissident filmmakers. For instance, the Iranian director Jafar Panahi made the superb This Is Not a Film clandestinely in 2011 while under house arrest; it was snuck out of the country on a flash drive hidden in a birthday cake. Needless to say, Iran didn’t nominate it.
William Mann, Hollywood historian
How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane. Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction. Crash over Brokeback Mountain. The King's Speech over The Social Network. Grace Kelly in The Country Girl over Judy Garland in A Star is Born. And nothing, zip, nada, except an honorary bone, to Alfred Hitchcock.
Nell Minow, film critic, Beliefnet
The Academy's biggest mistake every year is overlooking terrific films and performances, even movies with enthusiastic responses from critics and audience members, because members vote only for the small number of films supported by expensive studio campaigns, with DVDs, special screenings, and "For Your Consideration" ads.