- No superhero movie has ever won Best Picture at the Oscars, despite their popularity and financial success.
- Greg P. Russell holds the record for the most Oscar nominations without a win, with 17 nominations for Sound Mixing.
- The Oscars has not recognized a Black woman director, and only five Black men have been nominated for Best Director in its 95-year history.
The Oscars has been operating for nearly a century, but it has yet to tick off several notable achievements since its inception. First established in 1929, the prestigious event that celebrates film and those who work in and support the industry has firmly established its position as the most notable award show of its kind. The Oscars stand tall as the highest honor for actors and creatives within the movie industry to have their contributions recognized, and as a result, The Academy Awards are the most sought-after achievement.
While it appears that every year, new records are broken at the event, with achievements and milestones frequently being hit, there are still a number of milestones that have yet to happen. 2023 saw remarkable films like The Banshees of Inisherin, and Everything Everywhere All at Once received plenty of attention, and notably, it broke a record for most Irish talent nominations in a single year with 14 total, nine of which were for Banshees. Everything Everywhere also came incredibly close to claiming another major achievement, with actors winning three of the four major categories for a single film.
11 One Movie Winning All 4 Acting Categories
Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Lead Actress, And Best Supporting Actress
Everything Everywhere All at Once featured a remarkable cast who received plenty of recognition at the 2023 Oscars. Michelle Yeoh won Best Actress in a Leading Role, Jamie Lee Curtis claimed Best Supporting Actress and Ke Huy Quan earned Best Supporting Actor. However, the film did not get a clean sweep considering the absence of a leading actor in the film, which resulted in Everything Everywhere not getting a nomination in the category. If it had been successful in winning that category as well, it would have been the first film in the history of the awards to do so.
10 Documentary Nominated For Best Picture
Over the award’s illustrious history, it has evolved from earlier events. While genre film is still largely relegated to only receiving nominations, there have been notable exceptions. Horror movies began to receive recognition in the awards as early as 1973 with The Exorcist, with five more horror films being nominated since, with 1991’s Silence of the Lambs claiming the first and only win so far for the genre. Likewise, fantasy films have started to get recognition with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003 and The Shape of Water in 2017 both winning Best Picture.
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The Oscars 2024 race is well underway, with the likes of Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Barbie hoping to win big at the Academy Awards.
Despite more genre films gaining recognition, there are still genres and subsets of films that have been excluded completely. One such example is the documentary format. While documentaries have key differences from other films, they can still be artistic and highly creative. The Oscars do have a separate category that recognizes extraordinary feature-length documentaries, but it is still notable that no documentary has come close to winning Best Picture over other creative projects.
9 Animated Feature Winning Best Picture
In 1991, Beauty and the Beast became the first-ever animated feature film to be nominated for Best Picture. Since then, The Academy Awards introduced a separate category for Best Animated Feature, but that didn’t stop both Up and Toy Story 3 from getting Oscar nods in 2009 and 2010 respectively. While these films prove that it is not out of the realm of possibility for these kinds of films to contend for Best Picture, the award has yet to ever be given to an animated feature film.
8 Superhero Movie Winning Best Picture
Superhero movies may have experienced the height of their popularity in the late 2000s and 2010s, but The Academy was quicker to initially recognize their importance in cinema. In 1978, Superman starring Christopher Reeve, won an Oscar for Special Achievement in editing. However, since that time, superhero films have largely missed out on awards for more notable categories, with only a few managing to earn nominations for acting or Best Picture. It wasn’t until 2018 that The Oscars had a superhero film nominated for Best Picture with Black Panther.
Notably Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did win the Best Animated Feature Film Award in 2018, and 2019’s Joker managed to earn an impressive 11 nominations, including Best Picture. However, it lost out in nine of the total categories. Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor, and the score, curated by Hildur Guðnadóttir also won Best Score. Despite incredible financial investments and several movies in this category pulling in well over $1 billion at the box office, superhero movies have yet to earn the award for Best Picture.
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Awards season is heating up, but some great movies from 2023 won’t get the attention they deserve from the Academy and will be ignored for Oscars.
7 Greg P. Russell Still Hasn’t Won An Oscar After 17 Nominations
Best Sound Mixing
Greg P. Russell may not enjoy the same level of success and recognition as John Williams, or Hans Zimmer, however, Russell holds the record for most Oscar nominations without a win. Having been nominated for his work in Sound Mixing on 17 different movies, Russell is a remarkably talented individual who has yet to receive an Oscar for his contributions to films like Skyfall, Transformers, and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Russell continues to work in Hollywood with at least three more projects arriving in 2024, so it is conceivable that he will eventually break the streak and claim a win.
6 One Person Winning 5 Acting Oscars
Best Lead Actor And/Or Best Supporting Actor
Receiving an Oscar nomination is already an extraordinary feat, let alone winning the award. In saying that, a handful of actors have excelled and laid claim to multiple Oscars for their work. The actor who successfully won the award more than anyone else was Katharine Hepburn, who won four Oscars in her career before passing away in 2003. Currently living, four actors have won three Oscars each, but there has yet to be anyone who earned five Oscars for their acting to date.
5 Black Best Director Winner
In 1991, The Oscars had its first Black nominee for Best Director with John Singleton for Boyz N the Hood. Unfortunately, since that time, there have only been a further five Black men nominated for this prestigious award, without a single one winning. The landscape of Hollywood and especially the people directing films may still be predominantly white men, but with so many new and interesting stories coming from people with other voices, it’s shocking that 95 years into the awards, The Oscars has yet to recognize more Black contributions.
4 Female Black Director Nominated For Best Director
Continuing on from the fact that no Black man has ever been awarded the Best Director title, no Black woman has ever been nominated. Despite incredible contributions to cinema with films like Compensation in 1999, directed by Zeinabu Irene Davis, or 1998’s Down In The Delta by Maya Angelou, Black women have yet to be recognized for their contributions to film to this day. Considering the first female director to win Best Director only happened in 2010, and three more have won since, it’s hopeful that this will soon be put right.
All 7 Female Directors Nominated For The Best Director Oscar (& Which Won)
Over the course of the Oscars’ extensive history, only seven women have been nominated for Best Director at the awards show – who are they?
3 1 Movie Winning 12 Or More Oscars
Across All Categories
Three movies have been fortunate enough to win 11 Oscars. Ben-Hur managed to lay claim to 11 of the 12 nominations it received in a year when the maximum number of categories it was eligible for was 15. Titanic, then managed to get 14 nominations in its 17 possible categories, and Return of the King made a clean sweep, winning 11 of its 11 nominations in a possible 17 categories. With three films managing to take home 11 awards each, another film may manage to overtake the record and win 12 or more of the possible categories.
2 1 Movie Nominated For 15 Or More Oscars
Across All Categories
Taking that one step further, it is even more likely that a single film may manage to be nominated for 15 or more categories. As mentioned above, the record for most nominations for a single movie is 14, and that is a shared achievement held by Ben-Hur and Titanic. The right future film may see this taken even further if it can manage to pull together every element in a cohesive and compelling way.
1 An Actor Winning Both Best Leading And Supporting Oscars In One Year
Best Lead Actor And Best Supporting Actor
In the history of the Oscars, a total of 12 actors have managed to receive two acting nominations in a single year. Actors who delivered powerful performances in multiple projects, appearing as a lead in one, and as a supporting role in another. Despite this happening a dozen times, and seven of these actors managing to win one of the two categories, no one has managed to win both in one year. The Oscars may continue to break records every year, but these major milestones are crying out to finally be achieved.