Continuing our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 1980s.
Out of the Blue (1980, dir by Dennis Hopper)
After spending several years in the cultural wilderness, Dennis Hopper directed his best film, this downbeat study of a young girl, her junkie mother, and her irresponsible father. From the film’s first scene, in which Hopper crashes his truck into a school bus to the film’s explosive ending, Out of the Blue is a fascinating trip into the heart of American darkness. It was definitely too dark for the Academy.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982, dir by Amy Heckerling)
Fast Times would appear to take place in a totally different universe from Out of the Blue. Still, it’s an unexpectedly intelligent look at growing up in the suburbs and it’s influenced practically every high school film that’s come after. Plus, this may be the only movie in which Sean Penn was intentionally funny. Despite good reviews and a cast full of future stars, Fast Times At Ridgemont High received not a single nomination.
Once Upon A Time In America (1984, dir by Sergio Leone)
Sergio Leone’s final film, this epic gangster film might be a look at how America grew and changed over the first half of the 20th Century. It might be a trenchant critique of capitalism. It might be an homage to the classic gangster films of the 30s. Or it might just be a hallucination that Robert De Niro is having while visiting an opium den. That critics are are still debating just watch exactly this film actually means says a lot about the power of Once Upon A Time In America. However, because the film was originally released in a severely edited form, Once Upon A Time In America received not one nomination.
Brazil (1985, dir by Terry Gilliam)
Much like Once Upon A Time In America, Brazil is a brilliant film that was betrayed by the studio that distributed it. Convinced that Terry Gilliam’s satire was too strange for American audiences, Universal Pictures initially released the film in a severely edited version. Fortunately, Gilliam’s version was eventually released but the controversy undoubtedly hurt Brazil when it came time for the members of the Academy to select their nominees for Best Picture.
The Breakfast Club (1985, dir by John Hughes)
Perhaps the Academy understood just how unfair it was that Anthony Michael Hall had to write the essay while everyone else got either a makeover or a new romance. For whatever reason, this classic high school film — perhaps the classic high school film — received not a single nomination.
Blue Velvet (1986, dir by David Lynch)
David Lynch was nominated for Best Director but the film itself proved to be just a bit too controversial for the Academy to give it a Best Picture nomination. David Lynch described this film as being “the Hardy Boys In Hell” and it would have been an uncoventional, though very worthy, nominee for Best Picture.
Up next, in an hour or so, the 90s!