Last year’s Dreamgirls garnered the most Oscar nominations, yet failed to nab the most precedented honor of all – the nomination for Best Picture of the Year. Let’s take a look back at some of the all-time brush-offs, movies that garnered the most Oscar nominations without getting a best picture nod. After all, movies like last year’s The Departed, with only 5 nominations, are often a reality check for Oscar buffs who take it for granted that the most obvious choice is not always The Return of the King they have come to expect.

6 nominations:
1960 – Spartacus:
Stanley Kubrick’s classic about a violent revolt against Rome. “I am not an animal!”
1987 – Empire of the Sun:
Steven Spielberg’s much overlooked epic about a spoiled English lad who struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II. This underrated film starred John Malkovich and none other than one of the most Oscar-deserving actors of our time, Christian Bale.
1991 – Terminator 2
Speaking of which, Bale is rumored to be the next John Conner in Terminator 4. Who can forget one of the best action movies of all time, James Cameron’s technical masterpiece with the governator himself? “Come with me if you want to live!”
2001 – Monster’s Inc.
Okay, the red flag commentary is already posting. True, this clever, heartwarming Disney/Pixar flick garnered four nom’s, but the two shorts associated with it, “Mike’s New Car,” and “For the Birds,” also got nominated (with the latter winning). Try and watch the animated wizardry with a straight face (or a dry one).
2002 – Frida
A visual and aural kaleidoscope about artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage with famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera into her work. It was directed by UCSD Theatre graduate, Julie “Lion King” Taymor; this extremely talented designer has won an Emmy, a Tony, and been nominated for an Oscar.
2002 – Road to Perdition
A beautifully dark and brooding mob movie by Sam Mendes. This movie definitely got snubbed, especially knowing that the pointless, depressing, and just plain boring The Hours somehow held voters’ attention. Thomas Newman created a haunting score as well. What the hell happened to Sam Mendes?
2005 – Memoirs of a Geisha
Rob Marshall’s adaptation certainly was a visual masterpiece, but there’s not too much of an argument for best picture because of the horrendously soap opera-ish script. Also, when is Hollywood going to stop casting Chinese actors in Japanese roles?!
2006 – Pan’s Labyrinth
An utterly original and stunning creation from Mexico, this film should have replaced Letters from Iwo Jima last year.

7 nominations:
1986 – Aliens
Another James Cameron technological science fiction tour de force. “This time there’s more…”
1988 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Again, technological achievement is awarded in truckloads for Disney’s truly outstanding and seamless blend of live action and (hand-drawn) animation; or maybe it was all for Jessica Rabbit. Spielberg produced again.
1990 – Dick Tracy
Warren Beatty’s forgotten ham-fest with Disney is really a visual feast, especially the bright, contrasting, comic strip cinematography and art direction. Pre-maternal Madonna sings Oscar-winning Stephen Sondheim songs. “You mind if I call you ‘Dick?'”
2003 – Cold Mountain
This reviewer saw through the false, predictable, secondhand emotions that Anthony Minghella tried to wring through his shtick stock characters. “They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say ‘Shit, it’s raining!'” That about sums it up.

8 nominations:

The Devil’s Dominoes ipod

The Prince of Tides movie download
2006 – Dreamgirls
This ruffled a lot of feathers, but the Academy got this one right when they “snubbed” it from the Best Picture category. This musical was nothing but an overblown, annoying ploy to win the big one, and obviously it was transparent enough for voters to see through. “Deena…your voice…has no personality. No depth.” Can I get an “Amen?!”
There is one more film that received more nominations than Dreamgirls, yet remained in orbit when it came to the Best Picture category.

9 nominations:
1977 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
This is when Spielberg made movies about aliens that didn’t use humans as fertilizer. Thirty years old, yet still a warm, imaginative exploration of the universal human theme: “We are not alone.”
The moral of the story? Quantity isn’t always quality.