Oscars cannot go without some of the most shocking upsets each year. And while the ceremony and the eventual winners are somehow becoming more and more predictable, there each year, there are a few winners that either come out of the blue or are given the golden statute instead of the much more deserving candid.
Here is a list of the most shocking Oscar Upsets from the last ten years:
1. Jamie Lee Curtis Wins Best Supporting Actress for ‘Everything Everywhere all At Once’
Alright, we know that this, too, was a predictable win after Curtis took home the SAG awards only a few weeks ago, but this is a definite upset because one can clearly see that all the other nominees in the category were more deserving than her.
While I would personally want the towering whale-like performance by Hong Chai in ‘The Whale’ to be recognized, there’s no way in hell the award should have gone to anyone other than Kerry Condon for ‘The Banshees of Inisherin.’ Even Stephanie Hsu, who co-stars with Curtis in Everything Everywhere all at Once, had more range and a sense of extreme physical performance at the display.
2. Anthony Hopkins wins Best Actor for ‘The Father’
Chadwick Boseman was a strong favorite to win Best Actor at the 2021 Oscars for his poignant role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom following his tragic passing from cancer the year before. Although Anthony Hopkins had beaten him at the BAFTAs for his performance in The Father, many believed it was due to a potential bias toward a revered Welsh actor who the queen had knighted.
The producers of the 2021 Oscars anticipated Chadwick Boseman winning Best Actor, but Anthony Hopkins won instead, leaving the show to end on an awkward note. The producers’ decision to rearrange the show’s order to end on a potential tear-jerker backfired, and it became clear that they genuinely did not know the winners in advance.
3. Parasite Wins ‘Best Picture’
Parasite faced several challenges to win Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars, including the fact that no non-English language film had ever won before. Additionally, no actor was nominated in any category, which made it nearly impossible to win at the time.
However, the film’s success at the SAG Awards and overwhelming popularity led to a historic win, despite an overwhelming response for the War thriller ‘1917’. This continues to show the Academy’s openness to rewarding unique and diverse films, exemplified by the fact that the current winner is a film that is a weird sci-fi movie that features butt plug-shaped awards in it.
4. Olivia Colman wins Best Actress for ‘The Favourite’
Glenn Close’s seventh Oscar nomination for her role in The Wife was seen as her overdue win in 2019, but she was surprised when Olivia Colman won for The Favourite instead. Close’s lack of a win still stands, making her the most nominated actress in history without an Oscar win, even four years later.
It was an upset because Close was clearly the frontrunner sweeping the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics’ Choice Awards (in a tie with Lady Gaga), but when the Oscars were announced, it stunned everyone as Colman had only won the BAFTA. This upset has since been solidified as a deserving win and is still remembered for Colman’s fantastic, absolutely hilarious Oscar speech.
5. Moonlight wins ‘Best Picture’
La La Land was the overwhelming favorite to win Best Picture in 2017, but Moonlight’s intimate portrayal of a gay Black man was the critical favorite. Moonlight’s surprise victory signaled a more modern and inclusive Academy willing to expand beyond traditional Oscar fare.
This upset, however, was exemplified by the fact that La La Land was incorrectly announced as the Best Picture winner in 2017 before the exchange of envelopes happened and the right winner was announced.
Chazelle’s film had an overwhelming response winning the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, Producers Guild Awards, and the BAFTA, but the Academy actually went with the more out-of-the-box choice, surprising every single person who watched the ceremony.