The 1996 Academy Awards honored films released the previous year. 1995 gave audiences films like Clueless, Toy Story, and Before Sunrise, none of which were honored in the Best Picture category at the 63rd Academy Awards. Instead, the movies that were given the prestigious nomination were Braveheart, which won the award, Apollo 13, Il Postino, Babe, and Sense and Sensibility.
At the time, the Academy was only allowed to nominate five films for Best Picture, so the Academy voters understandably, may have missed a few deserving titles. However, there are two nominees that should have been replaced with something better and, arguably, more memorable.
10 Should Have Been: The Usual Suspects
The Usual Suspects is a mystery thriller, directed by Bryan Singer, and starring Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Chazz Palminteri, Pete Postlethwaite, and Kevin Spacey, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in this film. The film also received a nomination for Best Screenplay, but was left out of the other major categories, most likely due to its mixed critical reviews, despite being considered a masterpiece in the same league as The Departed.
9 Should Have Been: Kids
Kids is a coming-of-age dramatic feature film starring Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloë Sevigny, and Rosario Dawson, who all made their film debut in this feature. Upon the film's release, a lot of controversy brewed. Harsh critics of the film questioned it's provocative storylines and claimed the film had more interest in shock value than artistic merit, while critics like Roger Ebert praised the film for raising awareness about sex in the adolescent community. Still, the film received little to no praise from the Academy or any other awards voters.
8 Should Have Been: Before Sunrise
Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as two people who meet by chance on a train and travel to Vienna where they spend the day talking and falling in love.
This independent love story was praised for its performances and holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but had no traction during award season the year it was eligible, which shocked movie-goers and critics who felt this film was one of the best of the year.
7 Nominated: Braveheart
This historical fiction war drama was praised upon its release for both its performances and the execution of the film as a whole. The film, starring Mel Gibson, who also directed and co-produced it, focuses on Gibson's character, William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish warrior. Given how problematic Mel Gibson has become over the years, the choice to give his project so many awards and celebrate his work may not have aged very well.
6 Should Have Been: Casino
Casino is a crime drama, directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. The film is based on a novel called "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas", and the book's author, Nicholas Pileggi, co-wrote the film with Scorsese.
The film was both a box office and critical success and was nominated for a handful of awards, but only received one nomination from the Academy and that was in the Best Actress category.
5 Should Have Been: Waterworld
At the time of its production, Waterworld was the most expensive movie ever made. The epic undertaking alone drew movie-goers to theaters and was praised by critics. The performances may have fell short, but Waterworld as a whole was s dynamic and visually stunning and unlike anything audiences had ever seen. It's understandable that it was left out of most major categories at the Oscars in the year it was eligible, but it should have received a Best Picture nomination because of its incredible execution and production as a whole.
4 Should Have Been: The Bridges Of Madison County
This love story is based on the novel by the same name by Robert James Waller. The film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, opened to audiences with a lot of praise from both critics and movie-goers.
The film also stars Meryl Streep, who received a Best Actress nomination for her work in the film. To everyone's surprise, the Academy didn't nominate one of their favorites, Clint Eastwood in any major category, including Best Picture.
3 Nominated: Babe
At the time of its release, Babe seemed revolutionary in its execution and story. It was a massive success both at the box office and in critical reviews and gained a lot of attention and traction during award season. The animal film about a pig wanting to be a sheepdog, received seven Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. As this film's much-less successful sequel proved, the novelty of this film wore off fairly quickly and advances in technology have made it so a film like this would probably not be considered for the coveted award today.
2 Should Have Been: A Little Princess
A Little Princess is a family feature film about a young girl forced into a life of servitude in New York City after her father is killed in combat. The film is directed by Academy favorite Alfonso Cuarón, who at the time this film was released, was still somewhat an unknown director to American audiences and Academy voters. Based alone on what Cuarón has gone on to create, this film definitely deserved a nomination in the Best Picture category.
1 Should Have Been: Jumanji
Jumanji set a new bar for adventure films with it's incredible execution, difficult production, and stunning visual effects. The film also boasts some incredible talent with performances by the great Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst. The family friendly adventure film was well received by critics and at the box offices, but was snubbed during award season, earning zero nominations by the majority of award shows.