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Quiz about Why Didnt This Film Win
Quiz about Why Didnt This Film Win

Why Didn't This Film Win? Trivia Quiz


Whether a film is considered worthy of awards is of course an entirely subjective matter. This quiz, my 150th, looks at ten Academy decisions which generated significant debate around a film's Best Picture status. Enjoy!

A multiple-choice quiz by jonnowales. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
jonnowales
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
360,649
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Easy
Avg Score
9 / 10
Plays
1524
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 73 (9/10), Guest 31 (9/10), pughmv (9/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. There are occasions in film history where an outstanding movie of huge significance and of lasting legacy fails to be recognised with the Academy Award for Best Picture; one of those films is 1939's 'The Wizard of Oz'. Unfortunately for this film of yellow brick road fame, another film regarded by many as one of the all-time greats was released in the same year. Which film, that didn't give a damn about 'The Wizard of Oz', won 1939's Best Picture Oscar? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The Best Picture Oscar for 1941 is commonly believed to have gone to the wrong film. The winner was announced to be the quaint 'How Green Was My Valley', the claim to cinematic fame for Wales. From Wales to Welles, from success to possibly undeserved failure, which film, featuring Joseph Cotten and Dorothy Comingore, missed out on the award? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. The 25th Academy Awards honoured the best films of 1952 and the winner of the Best Picture Oscar for this year is frequently cited as one of the worst winners of the award in the history of the ceremony. James Stewart and Charlton Heston featured in which circus-themed film, with a now seemingly ironic title, that was chosen over 'High Noon'? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. 1976 was a fantastic year for cinema but when so many great films are released, the Academy are destined to make a controversial decision. Two of the films that missed out on the honour of Best Picture for 1976 were 'Taxi Driver' and 'All the President's Men'; which pugilistic film beat these to the Oscar? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. For the second year running, the Academy managed to spark heated debate over their choice for Best Picture. Even in the 21st century, there are many fans of 'Star Wars' that cannot believe that 'Annie Hall' beat the science fiction staple to Best Picture in 1977. Who directed 'Annie Hall'? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The year 1994 saw the release of many great films and according to the Academy, the best of these was 'Forrest Gump'. In what is mostly "hindsight", there is a large group of filmgoers who believe that the rightful winner that year starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Which film lost out on the Academy Award for Best Picture to 'Forrest Gump'? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. 'Shakespeare in Love' was a surprise choice for the 1998 Best Picture; being a romantic comedy, 'Shakespeare in Love' wasn't expected to triumph over one of the Academy's favourite genres, war films. And when it comes to war films, the film that missed out on the Best Picture for 1998 is up there as one of the best examples. Starring Tom Hanks, which war-themed film missed out on the designation in 1998? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. The 75th Academy Awards, celebrating the films of 2002, saw Roman Polanski's excellent film 'The Pianist' overlooked for Best Picture. Which of the following musicals, starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere, won Best Picture that year? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. The Academy shocked a large contingent of the film community when 'Crash' was designated Best Picture of 2005. Which film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, was beaten to the prestigious Oscar by 'Crash'? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. The Academy Awards for 2009 saw a debate arise over the eligibility of animated films to win the Best Picture Oscar. The Academy awarded the Best Picture of 2009 to 'The Hurt Locker' but many thought that what animated film, that was also nominated, would have been a better choice? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. There are occasions in film history where an outstanding movie of huge significance and of lasting legacy fails to be recognised with the Academy Award for Best Picture; one of those films is 1939's 'The Wizard of Oz'. Unfortunately for this film of yellow brick road fame, another film regarded by many as one of the all-time greats was released in the same year. Which film, that didn't give a damn about 'The Wizard of Oz', won 1939's Best Picture Oscar?

Answer: Gone with the Wind

'Gone With the Wind' is an epic film in every sense of the word and it is to my shame that I gave up on this classic film two hours in and with two hours still to go! I found myself watching this film purely to hear the famous statement "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" but as the four hour running time of this Victor Fleming film suggests, there is more to 'Gone With the Wind' than just that line. The film is set in 1860s USA, a country in a state of civil war, and it is onto this backdrop that the relationship between the beautiful Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) is projected. The film looks at how Scarlett is quite accepting of everything militaristic that is going on around her yet is unable to cope with her emotions, emotions brought about by the various men that she loves or at least thinks she loves.

One of the big "ifs" in cinematic history is would 'The Wizard of Oz' have won the Best Picture Oscar for 1939 had 'Gone With the Wind' not been released that same year? Whether the answer to that is yes or no can't be definitively determined; all that can be said is that the film starring Judy Garland has endured the test of time. Another 1939 release was the Frank Capra film, now also regarded as a classic, 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'. This film starts off as a sickly patriotic case study of what makes America great but once the focus moves away from that fluff, what remains is a story that is still relevant to this day.
2. The Best Picture Oscar for 1941 is commonly believed to have gone to the wrong film. The winner was announced to be the quaint 'How Green Was My Valley', the claim to cinematic fame for Wales. From Wales to Welles, from success to possibly undeserved failure, which film, featuring Joseph Cotten and Dorothy Comingore, missed out on the award?

Answer: Citizen Kane

Determining the merits or failings of any given film, as with all forms of art, is highly personal and highly subjective; there is no such thing as the best film of all time because there is no way to objectively measure a film's intrinsic properties. This discussion is especially pertinent to 'Citizen Kane', a film that many, in their personal opinions, laud as the best film of all time (or one of the best at the very least). The exact same film however elicits quite a different response from others who believe the film to be overhyped garbage. 'Citizen Kane', directed by and starring Orson Welles, is about an enigmatic media tycoon (an early 20th century Rupert Murdoch, though supposedly based upon William Randolph Hearst) whose last word "rosebud" intrigues a reporter enough for him to try to decode its meaning. Joseph Cotten also features in 'Citizen Kane', a film I am sure he would far rather be associated with than the awful Hitchcock production of 'Under Capricorn' (1949).

Whether or not one thinks 'Citizen Kane' is one of the all-time great films, it was 'How Green Was My Valley', a documentation of the lives of Welsh people and the coal mines that dominated everything to do with many valleys of the south, that won Best Picture. As a Welshman I shall be terribly biased and say that 'How Green Was My Valley' was a good choice by the Academy; coal wasn't just a product to the people of Wales, it was a way of life, and as such this film captures the spirit of a nation through the good times and the disastrously bad.
3. The 25th Academy Awards honoured the best films of 1952 and the winner of the Best Picture Oscar for this year is frequently cited as one of the worst winners of the award in the history of the ceremony. James Stewart and Charlton Heston featured in which circus-themed film, with a now seemingly ironic title, that was chosen over 'High Noon'?

Answer: The Greatest Show on Earth

One of the difficulties for members of the Academy relates to figuring out which of the preceding year's films will leave a lasting impact on the cinematic world and its inhabitants. It is sometimes only with hindsight that we can say that the Academy picked a real dud of a film which ended up being considered dated after a decade. This may well be the case for 'The Greatest Show on Earth', a film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and featured Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, James Stewart and Charlton Heston. The film makes use of the circus as a means to explore the effects of the national economy on not just business, but on the relationships between the management and its employees; the manager (Heston) having to make tough decisions, some of which involve his girlfriend, about who would be the star of the circus in an increasingly competitive environment. The legacy of 'The Greatest Show on Earth' is an unenviable one as it has long been regarded as possibly the worst film to ever win Best Picture. This is a dishonour placed upon the film based on hindsight, the film has most definitely not dated well despite the perpetual importance of the economy, but at the time of its release it was a hit at the box office.

'High Noon', Fred Zinnemann's Western-style portrayal of a stubborn marshal and his pacifist wife, was the film that lost out to 'The Greatest Show on Earth' in 1952. Some suggest that this is because the winning film's director, Cecil B. DeMille, was coming to the end of his career and he had not yet been rewarded with the top honours at the Academy Awards. This is largely due to the main body of his work, and arguably his best work, being completed in the silent era pre-1927.
4. 1976 was a fantastic year for cinema but when so many great films are released, the Academy are destined to make a controversial decision. Two of the films that missed out on the honour of Best Picture for 1976 were 'Taxi Driver' and 'All the President's Men'; which pugilistic film beat these to the Oscar?

Answer: Rocky

'Rocky' is the film that made the career of Sylvester Stallone; the gritty actor was well suited to playing the down-and-out Rocky Balboa, a man who wanted more from his life and to better provide for his beloved Adrian (Talia Shire). Boxing turned out to be the answer to all his problems as his pugilistic success paved the way for his upward social mobility, a rags-to-riches tale like no other.

Despite 'Rocky' being possibly the only film where one can genuinely say that Sylvester Stallone did a good job, the film is hellishly corny, a definite ten on the cheese-o-meter.

It is therefore quite surprising that this film, which is probably best known for the ascent of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, got the Academy's nod over 'Taxi Driver' and 'All the President's Men'. 'Taxi Driver', starring Robert de Niro as well as featuring Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd, is especially regarded as one of the best films to be released throughout the 1970s. That said, how a film will be received in the decades after its initial release is not really affected by whether or not it won the Oscar for Best Picture - the films of 1976 most certainly show that.
5. For the second year running, the Academy managed to spark heated debate over their choice for Best Picture. Even in the 21st century, there are many fans of 'Star Wars' that cannot believe that 'Annie Hall' beat the science fiction staple to Best Picture in 1977. Who directed 'Annie Hall'?

Answer: Woody Allen

Woody Allen is quirky, of that there is no doubt, some would even say he is weird and these traits manifest themselves in his films (which he usually starred in and directed). 'Annie Hall' is possibly his best film, and his portrayal of Alvy Singer alongside Diane Keaton's characterisation of his love interest, the titular Annie Hall, resulted in the film being awarded the Best Picture Oscar. 'Annie Hall' is essentially a love story but rather than the usual soppy nonsense that we get from Hollywood, Woody Allen isn't afraid to show the rather real phenomenon of a relationship just fizzling out. The punctuated relationship between Singer and Hall is analysed, as so frequently happens in Woody Allen films, within the splendid surrounds of New York City, a city of great importance to Singer and of significance to the film as a whole.

Some people, including ardent science fiction "fanboys", just cannot bring themselves to view 'Annie Hall' as the worthy winner of Best Picture for 1977, the honour cruelly withheld from George Lucas and his massively popular 'Star Wars'. I don't really know which side to come down on with this as the significance of 'Star Wars' to its genre is undeniable, yet for what to all intents and purposes is a rather derivative love story, 'Annie Hall' just has something special about it, so special in fact that it has arguably shaped the genre ever since. In fact, Woody Allen best sums up this problem, "I have no regard for that kind of ceremony [the Oscars]. I just don't think they know what they're doing. When you see who wins those things - or who doesn't win them - you can see how meaningless this Oscar thing is."
6. The year 1994 saw the release of many great films and according to the Academy, the best of these was 'Forrest Gump'. In what is mostly "hindsight", there is a large group of filmgoers who believe that the rightful winner that year starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Which film lost out on the Academy Award for Best Picture to 'Forrest Gump'?

Answer: The Shawshank Redemption

'The Shawshank Redemption' is one of those films that seems to get better with time; virtually ignored upon initial release, this 1994 film starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman has slowly developed a loyal following. Based on the Stephen King novella 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption', 'The Shawshank Redemption' centres on the wrongly accused Andy Dufresne who ends up incarcerated at Shawshank Prison. Dufresne is a clever man with interests ranging from literature to geology and it is those interests in particular (a Bible and a penetrable wall) that are of significance to his attempt to escape from the prison. He has some help from Rita Hayworth along the way, of course.

At the time the winner of 1994's Best Picture was being decided, 'The Shawshank Redemption' didn't really stand much of a chance despite its nomination. It was beaten by a depiction, albeit potted, of modern American history - 'Forrest Gump'. Tom Hanks was the star of this film that made boxes of chocolate the subject of a well-used meme. I don't really know if there is a message to be taken from 'Forrest Gump' or whether each of us is supposed to take our own message but maybe Forrest's success despite obvious physical and mental limitations and how that ties in with the "American Dream" is something to think about.
7. 'Shakespeare in Love' was a surprise choice for the 1998 Best Picture; being a romantic comedy, 'Shakespeare in Love' wasn't expected to triumph over one of the Academy's favourite genres, war films. And when it comes to war films, the film that missed out on the Best Picture for 1998 is up there as one of the best examples. Starring Tom Hanks, which war-themed film missed out on the designation in 1998?

Answer: Saving Private Ryan

'Saving Private Ryan' is one in a long list of really good films that star Tom Hanks. Hanks plays US Army Captain John H. Miller and he leads a squad in the search for Matt Damon's character who goes by the name James Francis Ryan, or Private Ryan. Private Ryan's brothers have all been killed in the D-Day landings and it is up to Captain Miller and his men to find and protect the last remaining Ryan brother such that his mother isn't left without a son. The film is renowned for its depiction of the D-Day landings and it has been credited as being one of the most realistic representations of the heroic event found on film. Of course, reconstructions will never reveal the true horror of facing enemy fire on the beaches of Normandy.

'Saving Private Ryan' won Oscars in five categories, including a Best Director award for Steven Spielberg, but the Best Picture was to go to John Madden's 'Shakespeare in Love'. This unlikely winner was packed with recognisable names, though some of them were at the beginning of their careers, including Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Judy Dench and Colin Firth. Together they told the story of a person so enthralled by Shakespeare's work that this person wished to perform his plays on stage. The problem was that this person was a woman, and women were not allowed to perform in the late 16th century. To get around this she paraded about in disguise but she was eventually found out!
8. The 75th Academy Awards, celebrating the films of 2002, saw Roman Polanski's excellent film 'The Pianist' overlooked for Best Picture. Which of the following musicals, starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere, won Best Picture that year?

Answer: Chicago

At the Academy Awards, the musicals genre had been in a state of stagnation ever since 'Oliver!' won the Best Picture Oscar in 1969. Rob Marshall's 'Chicago', a story about the incarceration of a star by the name of Velma Kelly and her attempts to be released via the work of her lawyer Billy Flynn, rescued the genre from the doldrums; 'Chicago' won the 2002 Best Picture award.

There was a large section of people who were overjoyed to see musicals being recognised by the Academy as they once so frequently were but others felt that 'The Pianist's candid examination of life for Jews during the Holocaust was more worthy of the honour that was bestowed upon 'Chicago'.
9. The Academy shocked a large contingent of the film community when 'Crash' was designated Best Picture of 2005. Which film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, was beaten to the prestigious Oscar by 'Crash'?

Answer: Brokeback Mountain

Before 'Brokeback Mountain' and certainly before 'Philadelphia' (1993), gay people and homosexuality were at best an infrequently-seen side interest in Hollywood's output. 'Philadelphia' was revolutionary in how it not only changed some parts of the public's perception of gay people and HIV/AIDS, but in how it actually made this topic visible in an era where such people and such things were hidden away. 'Brokeback Mountain' is a story about two cowboys who are trapped in their respective relationships and find freedom with each other in the rurality of Wyoming. The film built upon the solid foundation set by 'Philadelphia' but rather than the focus be on the effects of a much-feared disease, Ang Lee's masterpiece focused on love; a well-used theme in Hollywood but not when it comes to two people of the same gender. Lee had the courage to not care about the possible backlash that a genuine and serious portrayal of same-sex love could inspire in certain parts of the world and the result is quite special.

'Crash', which won the award over 'Brokeback Mountain', wasn't particularly novel and despite solid acting performances from an extensive ensemble cast, the film didn't particularly capture the imagination. It is arguable that films such as 'American History X' (1998), 'The Color Purple' (1985) and 'Mississippi Burning' (1988) do a much better job of characterising racists and their racism; 'Crash' didn't pick up a Best Motion Picture nomination at the Golden Globes, the first time that a film has won the Academy Award for Best Picture without doing so since 'The Sting' in 1973. Many have suggested that 'Crash' was picked mainly because the conservatism of the Academy would not allow for Best Picture recognition of 'Brokeback Mountain'. Even if this is not the case, 'Crash' versus 'Brokeback Mountain' will always remain one of the biggest selection controversies in the history of the Oscars.
10. The Academy Awards for 2009 saw a debate arise over the eligibility of animated films to win the Best Picture Oscar. The Academy awarded the Best Picture of 2009 to 'The Hurt Locker' but many thought that what animated film, that was also nominated, would have been a better choice?

Answer: Up

'Up' was extremely well received, so well received in fact that many genuinely believed that it would become the first animation to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. This would have been quite an achievement for the film, directed by Pete Docter and with the vocal talent of Ed Asner, considering that the Academy Awards had been running for over 80 years. 'Up' is centred on a house owned by Asner's character, Carl Fredricksen, and his refusal to leave his property despite pressure from urban planners and developers. Eventually he is ordered to move to a retirement home but the old man had the strength and spirit of youth and decided he wasn't going to go; instead he turns his home into an airship by tying many helium balloons to his humble abode. He initially thinks he is alone on his adventure but a boy scout named Russell has other ideas!

In comparison to 'Up', 'The Hurt Locker' can't be considered a feel-good film but then that is not its aim. The film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Jeremy Renner, is based around soldiers fighting in Iraq, not exactly original but many critics including the late Roger Ebert regarded it as one of the best examples of its kind. 2009 was not to be the watershed year for animation but 'Up' certainly came close to making cinematic history.
Source: Author jonnowales

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor jmorrow before going online.
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