In less than a fortnight, we’ll know which of last year’s was voted Best Picture at the Oscars. Roma is the favourite (1/3 with Ladbrokes) but what if Alfonso Cuarón’s acclaimed semi-autobiographical drama fails? Where would it rank as the great upsets in Oscars history?
We talk a look at the seven biggest unexpected wins and how this year could equal them.
7. Shakespeare in Love (1999)
Let’s be honest, this was one of the Oscars more baffling wins. Saving Private Ryan was huge favourite to win and with Steven Spielberg named Best Director, it was surely a case of just opening the envelope?
Instead, arguably Spielberg’s finest film was beaten by a fictional love story involving William Shakespeare. The esteemed members of the Motion Picture Academy favoured levity over brutal reality.
Which film will win this year to equal this shock? BlackKKlansman, Spike Lee’s excellent adaptation of a policeman’s infiltration of 1970s Ku Klux Klan.
Odds on BlackKKlansman winning: 25/1 with BoyleSports
6. Chariots of Fire (1981)
Up against Reds and On Golden Pond, few expected a triumph from the story of 1924 Olympians Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. Vangelis’ soundtrack contributed, it’s simplicity contributed to the success of David Puttnam’s production.
If the combined thespian might of Henry Fonda, daughter Jane and Katherine Hepburn couldn’t defeat the English masterpiece. Reds, Warren Beatty’s showpiece for his talents as writer, director and producer stood no chance.
Which film will win this year to equal this shock? Bohemian Rhapsody, Bryan Singer’s biopic of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury. Rami Malek is favourite for Best Actor
Odds on Bohemian Rhapsody winning: 40/1 with Skybet
5. Rocky (1977)
Quite why anyone was surprised that the ultimate story of the underdog won the top prize is beyond me. It was the American dream on the silver screen, after all, leading to an almost innumerable number of sequels.
Quite how All the President’s Men, Network, and Taxi Driver lost to Stallone’s schmaltz is a mystery on par with the building of Stonehenge, the Pyramids and why anyone thinks a kebab is a good idea after a night out.
Which film will win this year to equal this shock? The Favourite, Olivia Colman’s royal tale won seven of 11 BAFTA’s but not the big prize.
Odds on The Favourite winning: 24/1 with Smarkets
4. Moonlight (2017)
For Roma, think La-La-Land; odds-on favourite to win and nothing could stop it. This, however, proved to be the scratched record moment; the celluloid which burned through overheating.
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty have some scenes they’d rather forget but announcing the wrong winner at the Oscars is surely right up there? Plucky little indie filmmakers A24, saw their hard-hitting semi-autobiographical tale reach for the stars.
Which film will win this year to equal this shock? Vice, the rank outsider of this year’s nominations.
Odds on Vice winning: 125/1 with Skybet.
3. Ordinary People (1980)
Robert Redford’s directorial debut isn’t without merit and found itself ranked second on a regular basis in film of the year polls. Yet it beat the number one choice Raging Bull to the biggest prize. This despite Robert De Niro winning best actor.
It was another miserable night for Martin Scorsese as his classic tale of Jake LaMotta failed to grab him the directorial Oscar he so richly deserved.
Which film will win this year to equal this shock? Green Door, the dramatization of Don Shirley’s tour around America’s Deep South in 1962.
Odds on Green Door winning: 5/1 with bet365
2. Dances With Wolves (1990)
I know what you’re thinking; Dances With Wolves isn’t a bad film, and you’re right, it isn’t. In fact, it is downright enjoyable. Except it isn’t Goodfellas and frankly doesn’t hold a candle to Scorsese’s classic.
For the hugely talented Scorsese, it was déjà vu. For Redford in 1980, read Kevin Costner a decade on.
Which film will win this year to equal this shock? Black Panther, an excellent film in its’ own right but just lacking the imagination of Roma.
Odds on Black Panther winning: 33/1 with William Hill
- Forrest Gump (1995)
Life is a box of chocolates? Yes, Forrest, it certainly is because no-one foresaw how Robert Zemeckis’ mawkish adaptation of Winston Groom’s book became such a huge hit. The author had John Goodman not Tom Hanks in mind when the film was talked about but it’s not so much the actor or the sentimentality of the story, but which films it beat to win.
Step forward Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. Both were infinitely better movies and are rightly regarded as classics. Run that one off…
Which film will win this year to equal this shock? A Star is Born, the third remake of William A Wellman’s 1937 hit featuring director Bradley Cooper opposite Lady Gaga.
Odds on A Star is Born winning: 40/1 with Betway.