During the Awards Season the many ceremonies that take place before the Oscars themselves often hint at the most likely winners. As a result, usually viewers can foresee who are the most likely to leave the big night with a little golden man.

However, sometimes a surprise or two occur and an unexpected winner will go home with an Oscar. Actually this has happened on numerous occasions throughout the decades of Oscar-giving and here are some examples of unexpected wins.

 

Goodfellas losing to Dances with Wolves

At the 63rd Academy Awards Scorsese’s Goodfellas was nominated in the Best Film category alongside The Godfather III (Francis Ford Coppola), Ghost (Jerry Zucker), Awakenings (Penny Marshall) and Dances with Wolves (Kevin Costner). Although according to all expectations Goodfellas was meant to take the award the big surprise of the evening was when it lost to Costner’s Dances with Wolves. This was yet another actor-directed film after Robert Redford’s Ordinary People, which beat another Scorsese film to the prize ten years earlier. The film was Raging Bull.

 

 

Soderbergh winning with Traffic

In 2000 director Steven Soderbergh was nominated twice in the Best Director category and had to compete against himself. The other directors nominated along with his films were Ridley Scott (Gladiator), Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot). Meanwhile, Soderbergh was nominated for his films Traffic and Erin Brockovich. As the night progressed and the winners were announced, Soderbergh took the award for Traffic, beating himself.

 

 

Zemeckis wins over Tarantino

The Academy Awards of 1994 saw Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction nominated in the Best Film category along with Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump. Tarantino took the Best Screenplay award for the inventive plot of Pulp Fiction but it semmed that the Academy was not pleased with the prevailing violence of his film. As a result Zemeckis’ film took the Best Film award for the evening with his story of the lovable Forrest and the amazing string of events that his life was.

 

 

The Color Purple was nominated for 11 awards and then lost 11 awards

Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film The Color Purple based on the novel by Alice Walker was nominated in eleven Academy Award categories, including some key ones such as Best Film, Best Writing, Best Actress and two nominations in Best Supporting Actrees for Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery. Spielberg himself was not nominated. As the Oscars night revealed its winners, however, The Color Purple lost category after category, leaving the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Quincy Jones out of the group of winners. Most of the awards that year were taken by Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa.

 

Anna Paquin wins for The Piano

Nowadays Anna Paquin is mostly known for her portrayal of protagonist Sookie Stackhouse in the HBO series True Blood. However, in 1993 she was among the Academy Award nominees for Best Supporting Actress. The eleven-year-old Paquin was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for Jane Campion’s film The Piano.  She was nominated alongside Winona Ryder (The Age of Innocence), Rosie Perez (Fearless), Emma Thompson (In the Name of the Father) and Holly Hunter (The Firm). However, Paquin snateched the award for her portrayal as the Flora in Campion’s film, beating co-star Holly Hunter.

 

 

About The Author

My main interests include film/contemporary art/visual culture, which is on what I mainly concentrate when writing and in my spare time.

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