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Twelve times the Oscars got it really wrong

The 12 biggest ever Oscar travesties across the decades.(AP Photo/Bob Galbraith. Steve Starr/Corbis via Getty Images)

You can't please everyone, a sentiment the Academy must be all too familiar with considering how much outrage and upset Oscar results can cause.

In 2019 there were more than a few raised eyebrows when controversial film Green Book picked up Best Picture over more daring projects like Roma and BlacKkKlansman and Spike Lee made his dissatisfaction known.

Films tend to mature like fine wines, so only time will tell whether their decision was justified.

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Here are 12 outrageous Oscars decisions that look more ridiculous with every passing year.

How Green Was My Valley - Best Picture, 1941

Should have won: Citizen Kane

John Ford was awarded Best Director for his work with "How Green was my Valley" at the 14th Academy Awards, on February 27, 1942. (AP Photo)

Orson Welles’ innovative directorial debut has achieved near mythical status since its release over 70 years ago, topping countless ‘Best Film Of All Time’ lists including five consecutive Sight and Sound critic polls and two American Film Institute lists in 1998 and 2007.

With the passage of time, it’s clear that the Academy dropped a massive ball when it chose to honour John Ford’s fine but largely forgotten Welsh mining drama over Welles’ groundbreaking masterpiece.

Forrest Gump - Best Picture, 1994

Should have won: Pulp Fiction

Director Robert Zemeckis (L) holds the Oscar he won as best director for the film Forrest Gump, which also won Best Picture, as he poses with Steven Spielberg. (Dan Groshong/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s probably a bit unfair to suggest that Robert Zemeckis’ epoch-spanning drama didn’t deserve its Oscar. It still bears up to repeat viewings, but 1994 was a vintage year and history would suggest the Academy chose the wrong film to win.

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The jigsaw structure of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is still studied in film classes around the world and the snappy dialogue is quoted to this day.

Art Carney, Harry and Tonto - Best Actor, 1974

Should have won: Al Pacino, Godfather Part II

Art Carney holds the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in "Harry and Tonto," backstage at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Anglees, in this April 9, 1975 photo. Art Carney, who played Jackie Gleason's sewer worker pal Ed Norton in the TV classic "The Honeymooners" and went on to win the 1974 Oscar for best actor in "Harry and Tonto," has died at 85. Carney died Sunday, Nov. 9, 2003. (AP Photo)

Al Pacino was nominated 7 times by the Academy before he ultimately won for Scent of a Woman in 1993 (more on that in a minute), but missing out on the top trophy for The Godfather Part II is the one that sticks out as the biggest oversight on the Academy’s behalf.

Carney – who would late appear in the Star Wars Holiday Special no less – won for his performance in Harry and Tonto a road movie about an elderly widower who travels cross-country with his pet cat. We’re sure he’s great in it, but c’mon – this is Al Pacino’s best performance in the greatest sequel of all time.

Crash - Best Picture, 2005

Should have won: Brokeback Mountain

Director Paul Haggis poses with the two Oscars he won for best motion picture of the year and best original screenplay at the 78th Academy Awards Sunday, March 5, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Ang Lee’s poignant cowboy romance was front-runner to pick up Best Picture on the night, but there was an audible gasp from the audience when presenter Jack Nicholson announced Paul Haggis’ film as the winner instead.

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The race drama has since been named “Worst Winner of Best Picture Oscars” by Film Comment, with many critics at the time suggesting Academy voters decided to go with the “safer” option rather than honouring Lee’s gay drama. Since the whole Crash debacle there haven’t been any major Oscar upsets of note, indicating perhaps that the Academy has learned its lesson.

Dances With Wolves - Best Picture, 1990

Should have won: Goodfellas

Kevin Costner and Jim Wilson, winners Best Picture for "Dances with Wolves" (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

It was slim pickings in the Best Picture race for 1990, with Kevin Costner’s Western jostling with Goodfellas, Ghost, Awakenings and The Godfather Part III for the top honour.

The appeal of Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic has endured a lot longer than the eventual winner, which has faded into relative obscurity. It would be 16 years years before the Academy atoned for their sins by giving the Best Picture Oscar to Marty for The Departed.

Titanic - Best Picture, 1997

Should have won: LA Confidential

James Cameron accepting the Best Director Oscar for Titanic at the 70th Academy Awards in Los Angeles Monday, March 23, 1998. Titanic also won for Best Picture. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner)

Few can dispute the box office appeal of James Cameron’s romantic epic as it was the highest-grossing film of all time when it won the Best Picture Oscar, but can you hand-on-heart say it was empirically the “best” film released that year?

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Hammy dialogue and a hokey love story didn’t keep the punters away, but it should have put off the Academy voters at least. The far superior LA Confidential has gone on to be recognised as a true genre classic while the initial acclaim for Titanic has diminished with time.

Shakespeare In Love - Best Picture, 1998

Should have won: Saving Private Ryan

Shakespeare in Love'Best Actress winner Gwyneth Paltrow (centre) is joined by Harvey Weinstein (centre left) David Parfitt (left), Donna Gigliotti, Edward Zwick and Marc Norman (right) backstage as they celebrated their win of Best Picture at the 1999 Academy Awards..(Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

Ferocious Oscar campaigner Harvey Weinstein has often been credited as the puppetmaster behind this famous Oscar upset. His firm Miramax reportedly spent “at least $5m” on its Oscar campaign for Shakespeare In Love in a bid to beat its nearest rival Saving Private Ryan, as well as throwing a dubious party for Academy voters in clear violation of the Oscar rules.

At the Academy Awards after-party Weinstein is rumoured to have congratulated Spielberg for his nomination, to which the Jaws director is said to have responded with a cutting “you’re welcome”.

Kramer Vs Kramer - Best Picture, 1979

Should have won: Apocalypse Now

The big winners of the movie, Kramer vs. Kramer, hold up four of the Oscars won by the film at the 52nd Annual Award presentations. (AP)

Let’s be absolutely clear about this: Kramer vs Kramer is a brilliant film. Robert Benton’s divorce drama is an out and out classic, but its cultural impact pales in comparison to Francis Ford Coppola’s anti-war masterpiece.

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Despite its initially muted critical reception, Apocalypse Now is now rightly considered to be one of the greatest movies of its era, and indeed of all time. In 2009 the London Film Critics’ Circle voted it the best film of the last 30 years. I love the smell of redemption in the morning.

Sean Penn, Mystic River - Best Actor, 2003

Should have won: Bill Murray - Lost In Translation

Actor Sean Penn accepts the Oscar for best actor for his work in Mystic River at the 76th annual Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The irascible comic seemed destined to be honoured by the Academy for his performance in Sofia Coppola’s “May-To-December” rom-com, but in the end he lost out to Sean Penn.

Murray’s unselfconscious, self-parodying turn is still considering a career best for the Ghostbusters star – can anyone else even remember Penn’s?

Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman - Best Actor, 1992

Should have won: Denzel Washington - Malcolm X

Actor Al Pacino holds up the the Oscar he won as best actor for his role in "Scent of a Woman," at the 65th annual Academy Awards show in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 29, 1993. (AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)

This win for Pacino reeked of the Academy making up for not honouring the actor the first 7 times he was nominated. Pacino got his Oscar but it wasn’t for his best performance which is a huge shame, particularly when there were plenty more fine actors vying for the same trophy that year.

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Denzel Washington should probably feel the most aggrieved for missing out in Malcolm X, but the Oscars would make amends later awarding him the best actor prize in 2001 for Training Day.

Phil Collins: ‘You’ll Be In My Heart’ from Tarzan - Best Song, 1999

Should have won: Randy Newman: ‘When She Loved Me’ - Toy Story 2

Phil Collins poses with his 2000 Academy Award for Best Original Song, "You'll Be in My Heart," from the movie "Tarzan." (Photo by Steve Starr/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Unless you’re a hardcore Disney fan I’d wager you’d find it impossible to whistle a single tune from Disney’s Tarzan, but it still managed to bag itself an Oscar for Best Song.

Randy Newman’s Toy Story 2 tearjerker is one of the most memorable musical moments at the movies in recent years, so the fact his amazing song was overlooked in favour of Phil Collins is particularly galling.

Ordinary People - Best Picture, 1980

Should have won: Raging Bull

Producer Ronald L. Schwary and Robert Redford with Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for 'Ordinary People'. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Martin Scorsese’ boxing biopic is considered to be the last great movie to come out of Hollywood’s amazing 1970s revival, however it missed out on the Best Picture Oscar thanks to one of the era’s other big winners, the Sundance Kid himself.

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Robert Redford also won Best Director for his directorial debut, but history would suggest that Scorsese should feel particularly aggrieved for this snub.