The 17 best movies of all time that weren't nominated for a best-picture Oscar, according to critics

The Weinstein CompanyCate Blanchett in ‘Carol.’
  • Over the course of 90 years of Oscars, plenty of worthy films have been overlooked in the best-picture race.
  • We listed the 17 best ones, based on their composite critic scores from reviews aggregator Metacritic.

When it comes to the Oscars, we all remember the shocking and infamous best-picture upsets – like “Crash” over “Brokeback Mountain,” or “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan.”

But there are also some iconic films that never even got nominated.

Many lauded films have lost out on a best-picture nomination, including 2017’s “The Florida Project” in this year’s line-up.

We turned to reviews aggregator Metacritic to get a list of the top movies without best-picture Oscar nominations, according to critics. These Academy-snubbed movies span from foreign masterpieces like “A Separation” to animated films like “Wall-E.”

And there’s a lot of Hitchcock.

Here are the 17 best films not nominated for best picture, based on Metacritic scores

17. “Before Midnight” (2013)

Sony Pictures Classics

Score: 94

Number of reviews: 40

Richard Linklater closed out his “Before” trilogy with this 2013 film starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as lovers who reconnect by chance after many years. It was only nominated for best adapted screenplay.

16. “Toy Story” (1995)


Score: 95

Number of reviews: 26

The Oscar for best animated feature was first awarded in 2002, so “Toy Story” missed out on that, as well. However, it was nominated for best original screenplay, best original song, and best original score.

15. “Wall-E” (2008)


Score: 95

Number of reviews: 39

“Wall-E,” about a garbage-collecting robot, was nominated for six Oscars, including best musical score and original screenplay. And while it couldn’t pull off a best-picture nomination, it did win best animated feature. The Academy expanded the number of best-picture nominees the following year.

14. “A Separation” (2011)

Sony Pictures Classics

Score: 95

Number of reviews: 41

A married couple in Iran, played by Payman Maadi and Leila Hatami, must choose between a better life for their child in another country or a parent at home. It won best foreign language film, and was nominated for best original screenplay.

13. “Carol” (2015)

The Weinstein Company

Score: 95

Number of reviews: 44

“Carol” follows two women, played by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, who fall for each other in the 1950s. Both women managed to be nominated for actress and supporting actress, respectively, and the film was nominated for adapted screenplay, cinematography, costume design, and musical score.

12. “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

Paramount Pictures

Score: 96

Number of reviews: 14

Ruth Gordon won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in this classic horror film from Roman Polanski. Its only other nomination was best adapted screenplay.

11. “Ran” (1985)

Rialto Pictures

Score: 96

Number of reviews: 20

“Ran” follows a warlord in Medieval Japan whose sons are corrupted by the empire they inherit from him. Writer and director Akira Kurosawa was nominated for directing, and the film won best costume design.

10. “Ratatouille” (2007)

Disney/ Pixar

Score: 96

Number of reviews: 37

Another Pixar favourite, “Ratatouille,” won best animated feature and was nominated for four other Oscars, including original screenplay.

9. “Spirited Away” (2002)


Score: 96

Number of reviews: 41

Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film, about a girl who discovers a world of ghosts, won best animated feature.

8. “Psycho” (1960)

Score: 97

Number of reviews: 16

The first of Alfred Hitchock’s classic films to appear on this list, the original “Psycho” nabbed four nominations – including directing for Hitchcock – but failed to enter into the best-picture ring.

7. “Some Like It Hot” (1959)

United Artists

Score: 97

Number of reviews: 19

This Marilyn Monroe starrer picked up a costume design trophy but wasn’t nominated for best picture, despite five other nominations – including best director Billy Wilder and best actor Jack Lemmon.

6. “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (2007)

Bac Films

Score: 97

Number of reviews: 37

This Romanian film, about a woman who seeks an illegal abortion in the 1980s, managed to pick up a best foreign film nomination at the 2008 Golden Globes, but the Academy failed to even recognise it in this category at that year’s Oscars.

5. “North by Northwest” (1959)


Score: 98

Number of reviews: 16

Another Alfred Hitchcock classic, “North by Northwest” was nominated for best director, screenplay, cinematography, and sound.

4. “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)

Estudios Picasso

Score: 98

Number of reviews: 37

Before Guillermo del Toro was this year’s best director frontrunner, his “Pan’s Labyrinth” was nominated for six Oscars. While winning a few craft awards, the film failed to garner a directing or picture nomination, and didn’t win best foreign language film.

3. “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952)


Score: 99

Number of reviews: 17

The classic musical, starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, was only nominated for two Oscars – supporting actress Jean Hagen and musical score.

2. “Three Colours: Red” (1994)

MK2 Productions

Score: 100

Number of reviews: 9

The French film follows a model (Irène Jacob) and her strange neighbour who impedes on people’s privacy, and was nominated for best director Krzysztof Kieslowski, best screenplay, and best cinematography.

1. “Rear Window” (1954)


Score: 100

Number of reviews: 18

It’s no surprise that an Alfred Hitchcock film would top the list. Hitchcock, while making some of the most acclaimed films of all time, never won best director – he was nominated five times, and won an honorary award in 1968. “Rear Window” was nominated for best director, screenplay, cinematography, and sound.

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