Search Museum of the Moving Image

Snubbed: Great Movies, No Nominations

Jan 20 — Mar 12, 2023

Every January the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences announces its nominations for the Academy Awards. From that moment, two stories develop: one about the film professionals who have been recognized by their peers, and another about those that have been overlooked. Common parlance calls the latter “snubs”—as if the voting body were actively rejecting some potential honorees—and media outlets call them out with ambulance-chasing relish. Once the cycle completes, the import of these snubs fades into history. Yet in certain cases the lack of recognition lingers, and still shocks and appalls. Some have come to be considered classics, or they have aged better than other films of their era, or they expose moments of inequity, prejudice, and injustice. 

For this series, we’ve chosen American films that received no Academy Award nominations. That’s right: zero, zilch, bupkus. Unfortunately, it was hard to narrow the list down: any number of configurations could offer a slate of films worthy of a film historical canon. We strove to represent each era from the nearly 100 years since the formation of the Academy Awards, as well as to focus on films about which there was or has developed a narrative of exclusion, from  traditionally overlooked genres (The Big Sleep, In a Lonely Place) to racial exclusion (Paul Robeson in Show Boat) to inhospitality towards innovation (Gimme Shelter, The Thin Blue Line) to the ineffable, bizarrely persistent sense within the industrial ecosystem that it wasn’t yet a filmmaker’s “time” for recognition (Miller’s Crossing), to bafflement over performers escaping their pigeonholes (The Night of the Hunter, Rushmore, Uncut Gems).  

Organized by Eric Hynes, Curator of Film, Edo Choi, Associate Curator of Film, and Reverse Shot co-editor Michael Koresky. 

Upcoming Films in Series

A man with love tattooed on his knuckles holds a fence
A shirtless, muscular man strenuously paddles a long oar
A smiling woman talks on the phone while taking a bubble bath
A man with love tattooed on his knuckles holds a fence
A smiling woman talks on the phone while taking a bubble bath
A man stands behind a woman who wears a concerned expression looking out a window
A shirtless, muscular man strenuously paddles a long oar
Harold and Maude
Harold and Maude
Three people sit on a talk show set with a red background
a man in silhouette against a misty dock at night
A man in closeup looking off camera suspiciously
A police car with siren lights on pulls over a car at night
A man in closeup looking off camera suspiciously
Three people sit on a talk show set with a red background
a man in silhouette against a misty dock at night
A bearded man in a red baseball cap stands in front of a sandstone tower in the desert, looking off camera
A police car with siren lights on pulls over a car at night
A bearded man in a red baseball cap stands in front of a sandstone tower in the desert, looking off camera
A family sits around a dinner table, with the parents in the back center of the frame
Cops firing guns have a shootout with off-screen forces in a parking lot with cars from the 1920s
A family sits around a dinner table, with the parents in the back center of the frame
Three white students sit at a desk behind a mic and in front of a world map, the middle student wearing glasses and a Russian hat, the others wearing a turban and sombrero
A woman seen from the back sits in a smokey yellow room and watches other women dance in the fog
Three white students sit at a desk behind a mic and in front of a world map, the middle student wearing glasses and a Russian hat, the others wearing a turban and sombrero
A woman in a robe holds a glass of milk and looks at camera
Cops firing guns have a shootout with off-screen forces in a parking lot with cars from the 1920s
A woman seen from the back sits in a smokey yellow room and watches other women dance in the fog
A black and white image of two women talking while walking down a New York street in the 1920s, wearing hats and gloves
A woman in a robe holds a glass of milk and looks at camera
A man in yellow shirt and blue jacket walks through a crowded midtown NYC street
A black and white image of two women talking while walking down a New York street in the 1920s, wearing hats and gloves
A man in yellow shirt and blue jacket walks through a crowded midtown NYC street