10 Of Oscar’s Biggest Upsets

By February 22, 2013

Even though Oscar upsets can sometimes be extremely infuriating, I do have to admit with an awards season full of super predictable results, I kind of look forward to a few Academy Awards Show shockers. Here’s a look at 10 of the biggest Oscar Upsets.

Roberto Benigni over Ian McKellen for Best Actor- 1999


This has got to be one of the worst Best Actor winners ever. Sorry! Ian McKellen is so dang good as James Whale in Gods and Monsters, he even makes Brendan Fraser look like a great actor. I will also accept Nick Nolte in Affliction as the winner. I will never accept the fact that Life is Beautiful is a great film. Or that Roberto Benigni was once America’s sweetheart.

Three 6 Mafia Over Dolly Parton for Best Song- 2006


As much as I love Dolly, I have to admit this was one of the more amusing upsets. It certainly wasn’t hard out there for a pimp in 2006. Dolly should win an Honorary Oscar for her genuinely enthusiastic response to their win. I love her so much.

Tommy Lee Jones over Ralph Fiennes for Best Supporting Actor- 1994

I like Tommy Lee Jones. He was perfectly great in The Fugitive. But seriously? Ralph Fiennes was friggin’ unbelievable in Schindler’s List. This guy does evil so well, it’s kind of scary that I find him so attractive.

Dances With Wolves over Goodfellas for Best Picture- 1991

Don’t hate me but…can I confess that I kind of can’t stand Dances With Wolves? I would rather watch Waterworld or The Postman. Okay, maybe not The Postman. Goodfellas, however, I watch pretty much every time it’s on, even if it’s already halfway over. I miss Joe Pesci before he became a caricature of himself.

Marisa Tomei over Everyone for Best Supporting Actress- 1993

This victory was so shocking that everyone assumed Jack Palance had read the wrong name. I’ve liked Marisa Tomei in other things, but I’m not a fan of her performance in My Cousin Vinny. Personally, I think Vanessa Redgrave should win every time she’s nominated. But maybe that’s just me.

Crash over Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture- 2006

OMG. This has to be one the first times I was truly pissed off by an upset. Brokeback Mountain haunted me for days after I saw it. Crash did not leave me haunted, despite that fact that it tried so damn hard to make me feel something.

Bob Fosse over Francis Ford Coppola for Best Director- 1972


If this was a Fosse win for All That Jazz, I might be okay with Coppola’s loss. What can I say, I LOVE that movie. But Cabaret over The Godfather for a directing award? That’s an offer the Academy should’ve refused. Sorry, I hate myself already for writing that.

Gwyneth Paltrow over Cate Blanchett for Best Actress- 1999

I hate this upset. HATE IT. It just doesn’t seem fair that someone who went on to found a twee website, named GOOP beat a woman who went on to play Kate Hepburn and Bob Dylan. NOT FAIR AT ALL!

Juliette Binoche over Lauren Bacall for Best Supporting Actress- 1997

I love me some Lauren Bacall, but I have to say, I was kind of happy when Juliette Binoche won for The English Patient. I’d rather Bacall not win at all, than win for The Mirror Has Two Faces. I don’t want that to be her defining role.

Carol Reed over Stanley Kubrick for Best Director-1968

Stanley Kubrick should have an Oscar for directing. We can all agree on this, yes? So how about this year? I mean Oliver was good and all, but it’s not one of THE GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME. Just sayin’!

Which upset are you most miffed by? Let us know in the comments!

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Desi Jedeikin

Desi Jedeikin

Desi Jedeikin is a Los Angeles based writer and performer. She has appeared in numerous sketch comedy/improv shows at venues in L.A., including the Groundlings Theater, Comedy Central Stage, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, where she played Squeaky Fromme in the infamous alternative comedy show Comedy Death Ray. Unfinished projects include a memoir and a musical based on the life and death of JonBenet Ramsey. She has lots of other brilliant ideas she might complete. She really just needs more encouragement. You can follow Desi on Twitter: @Desijedeikin Here: truecrimejunkie.com And here too: xoJane.com She likes being followed.