2006: The 78th Academy Awards
Many believed the nominations to be fair this year, but one decision will go down as one of the most controversial in Oscar history. Everyone thought that Brokeback Mountain, the tale of a homosexual relationship between two sheep herders, was going to be a shoe-in for the Best Picture award and when Ang Lee won the director prize for the film, it further cemented this opinion. But the Academy shocked us all when they awarded Crash the prestigious accolade, an ensemble film and about racial and social tension in Los Angeles.
This is a regular case of the Academy playing safe; both films made political statements, but the more "vanilla" of the two was chosen as the winner. A recent study by the Hollywood Reporter showed that had the current Academy members been making the decision, Brokeback Mountain would have won best picture of that year. Shame it's 10 years too late.
2007: The 79th Academy Awards
Dreamgirls is proof that no matter how many millions you poor into your marketing campaign, it doesn't necessarily means it's going to pay off. Don't get me wrong, the Supreme's biopic didn't do badly when it came to nominations that year, managing to rack up an impressive eight. But that tally didn't include didn't include the Best Picture nod. Nevertheless, the film was still the big talking point at the 79th Awards due to Jennifer Hudson's well-deserved win for her supporting role.
2008: The 80th Academy Awards
The films in competition at the 80th Academy Awards were strong. With 8 nomination each, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood were the front runners, and clocked up many well-deserved awards between them. The most notable snubs this year came in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Historically, films that perform well on the festival circuit, particularly at Cannes, are normally nominated in the Foreign Language category, ye this particular year, the Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days and Jury Prize winner Persepolis both failed to make the cut.
2009: The 81st Academy Awards
Pixar film WALL-E and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight were two of the most popular films of the year; not only with audiences but amongst critics too. Both nominated in other categories, the Academy shocked cinephiles when neither film received a Best Picture nod. The next year, the controversy was so strong that the Academy was forced to up the number of nominations in the Best Picture category from five to ten. This benefited both Pixar and Nolan in the following years, with Up and Inception receiving nominations.
2010: The 82nd Academy Awards
The 82nd Academy Awards was the most watched of the decade, probably beacsue it featured one the biggest films ever made alongside the showdown to end all showdowns. 2010 was the battle of the ex-spouses; Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker, Cameron vs. Bigelow, ex-husband vs. ex-wife. With a record-breaking cinema run, and ground-breaking techniques, everyone (including the man himself) thought that the arrogant and insufferable Cameron had it in the bag, but then Katherine Bigelow's war film The Hurt Locker, the dark-horse of the award season, triumphed and won Best Picture and Best Director, leaving Avatar without one of the major awards. The win was made only sweeter with Bigelow becoming the first (and still, the only) female winner of the Best Director award.
2011: The 83rd Academy Awards
With the most notable snubs this year being Christopher Nolan (yet again!) not recognised for his directing in Inception, and Mila Kunis failing to be noticed for her electric turn in Black Swan, the 83rd Academy Awards was a stand off between The Kings Speech and The Social Network. On the night, the general consensus was that while The Kings Speech may run away with the Best Picture award, Fincher should and would be awarded Best Director. Yet again the Academy surprised us, siding with the Brits and going two for two (plus many more) for The Kings Speech, leaving Fincher still (and undeservedly) without an Oscar.
2012: The 84th Academy Awards
The 84th Academy awards was the year where a little-known French silent movie backed by the Weinstein brothers, The Artist, snuck up on the award season and stormed it, winning Oscars in most of the major categories. For me however, the most notable surprise of 2012 was the omission of Steve McQueen's Shame. A film about one man's battle with sex addiction, Shame was the movie that made the film world sit up and recognise the magic of Michael Fassbender (in my opinion, the finest actor of our generation) and his authentic, emotional and powerful turn in the film was more than deserving of an nomination. However, with full-frontal male nudity and explicit sex scenes being too much for the prudish Academy, the film went ignored. Fortunately for McQueen and Fassbender, both were recognised at the 2014 awards for their next film 12 Years A Slave.
2013: The 85th Academy Awards
Audiences and critics alike believed that Argo, the film that brought Ben Affleck back from the shame of previous poor choices (Gigli anyone?), would surely earn the former actor a Best Director nomination. Somehow, the Academy didn't agree, despite Argo winning Best Picture, posing the question; how can a film be the Best Picture without an awards-worthy director? This omission foreshadowed the Academy's 2015 disdain for Paul Thomas Anderson, rightly nominating The Master for many awards but wrongly ignoring Anderson when it came to the directorial accolade.
2014: The 86th Academy Awards
In 2014, the Academy decided to almost completely ignore the best film of the year (in my opinion, and I'm sure many others will agree) Inside Llewyn Davies. The Coen Brothers have a good relationship with the Oscars with films like No Country For Old Men coming up trumps and True Grit receiving many nominations, so the Academy's ignorance of their folk odyssey was shocking, especially when considering the films's 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This snub becomes even more scandalous for Coen Brothers fans when we consider how teacher's pet David O. Russell's 70s farce American Hustle ended up with the most nominations.
2015: the 87th Academy Awards
Much like the previous year, the Academy, yet again, ignored one of the best movies of the past 52 weeks; critics' choice stoner-noir Inherent Vice. Featuring a strong cast, a good Oscar pedigree, gorgeous cinematography and exceptional direction by the great Paul Thomas Anderson, everyone thought this Joaquin Phoenix-led movie would be one of the main contenders alonside Boyhood and Birdman. Most frustrating of all, in 2015 the Academy chose to nominate only eight films out of the possible ten slots available, omitting Gone Girl, Interstellar and Nightcrawler as well as Inherent Vice.
2016: the 88th Academy Awards
Coming back to the most recent nominations, the snubs that I'm still grieving are Carol in the Best Picture category and Todd Haynes for Best Director. Coming in at the top on most Best Of 2015 lists, it seems bizarre that Carol missed out on the Best Picture nod, especially considering it's Oscar bait box-ticking; period drama, award winning lead, literary adaptation and emotional performances. Maybe if it portrayed a heterosexual relationship it would have done better?
One of the biggest and most serious talking points of the nominations this year has been the lack of diversity. Every actor and actress nominated for an award is white, despite there being many deserving black actors including Idris Elba for Beasts Of No Nation or Michael B. Jordan for Creed. For me, this suggests that despite it being 2016, the Academy still has a long way to go with regards to homophobia and racism.
Tell us who you think should win the award this year! Vote now and choose your winner for our awards ceremony on 17 February. The Academy Awards take place on 28 February.