We’re less than two weeks away from Oscar night, and prognosticators far and wide are losing their minds over that rarest of beasts: a genuinely wide-open Academy Awards race, with an esoteric field and a lack of consensus among bellwether prizes leaving several categories impossible to predict. So instead of trying to puzzle out what may be un-guessable (or, at the very least, waiting until the last minute), let’s indulge in our other favorite Oscar-related pastime: complaining about their mistakes. Yes, lest you get too invested in what the AMPAS do or don’t honor this year, just remember – these films and filmmakers were either nominated for or awarded Oscars. They’re only human.
Best Picture: Chocolat (2001)
Throughout the 1990s, Miramax honchos Bob and Harvey Weinstein redefined Oscar campaigning, mounting elaborate (and expensive) operations to get their movies the nominations and wins that often translated directly into art-house box office boosts. Frequently outspending their studio competition for ads, screeners, and VIP events, it seemed that any movie backed by the Weinstein machine could make an impressive showing come nominations morning — a thesis proven by the five nominations they bought snagged for Lasse Hallström’s romantic comedy/drama, a film so lightweight and disposable, most moviegoers forgot it existed by the time they reached their cars. But the AMPAS didn’t; not only did it pick up nominations for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, but a nomination for the biggest prize of all, Best Picture (and this was back when there were only five nominees). Among the eligible films not nominated for Best Picture that year: Almost Famous, You Can Count on Me, Pollock, Requiem for a Dream, The Virgin Suicides, Wonder Boys, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?