The 86th Academy Awards are tomorrow night and while the world is getting ready to give a bunch of famous people fancy trophies, we’re taking a look back at the previous winners. So take a break from making your predictions and finger food snacks (this really is our Super Bowl), and take a look at these six films you won’t believe are Oscar winners.
The Towering Inferno, 1974
The 70s were a strange time in Hollywood and nothing was stranger than the 47th Academy Awards. While The Godfather Part II walked away with six awards, including Best Picture, a small little disaster film walked away with three. The Towering Inferno tells the story of a group of people trying to survive in a burning building as they are led by long-time rivals, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Not only did the production of the film gain plenty of attention (McQueen insisted on having the exact same number of lines as Newman, even though he doesn’t show up until 45 minutes into the film), but it won as many Oscars as Avatar. Three years earlier, The Poseidon Adventure, another wild disaster flick, walked away with one award for Best Original Song. Do not expect the inevitable remake to walk away with anything…
The Wins: Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song
Harry and the Hendersons, 1987
With this particular film, the shock is in the fact the film won an award, but once you realize who was involved in the production, the surprise fades slightly. In 1988, Harry and the Hendersons earned the Best Makeup Oscar. Yes, a movie about a family who befriends Bigfoot after hitting him with their car, while on a family vacation is an award winning film. That being said, the man behind the makeup was legendary Rick Baker, the makeup guru behind Star Wars and An American Werewolf in London. Baker is also the go-to makeup guy for Eddie Murphy, having worked on Coming to America, The Nutty Professor, and yes, even Norbit. Baker also earned an Oscar nomination for each of those films as well, even winning one for The Nutty Professor.
The Win: Best Make Up
8 Mile, 2002
The Best Original Song category has always been a grab bag of nominations, with unusual choices earning nominations (Bjork has a nomination?!). However, nearly every time we see a category packed with unusual nominations, the clear winner is usual obvious. In 2003, however, Eminem (yes, the Eminem) earned an Oscar win for his original song, Lose Yourself, in his semi auto-biographical feature, 8 Mile. The Real Slim Shady beat out Bono and Paul Simon for the award, and even beat out Chicago, which was, you know, a musical. Equally surprising is the win by Three 6 Mafia in 2006 for their song, It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp from Hustle and Flow.
The Win: Best Original Song
1995 was a weird year for The Academy as they seemingly had no idea of what was happening in the movie world. Babe, a cute film that is deserving of some love, earned seven (!) Oscar nominations, and even won the award for Best Visual Effects. Although the effects were much more advanced than putting peanut butter in the mouths of farm animals, Babe beat out Apollo 13 for the award that night, showing all of us that The Academy either hates outer space, or has an unnatural fascination with livestock. Perhaps they can make up to the Final Frontier this year with Gravity?
The Win: Best Visual Effects
Doctor Dolittle, 1967
Being around for over eighty years, you’re bound to make a mistake or two. That being said, no one could ever imagine that a film about a man who talks to animals (including a two headed llama) would win two of the awards on Hollywood’s biggest night. In the same year as In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, and Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle sneaked through and walked away with both the Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song awards. To make matters even more frustrating, Dolittle beat out The Jungle Book and the classic Bear Necessities for Best Original Song. There is simply too much wrong with that fact, no matter which way you push or pull it.
The Wins: Best Visual Effects, Best Original Song
Ordinary People, 1980
There is something entirely too criminal when a melodramatic family drama wins multiple awards over the black and white masterpiece that is Raging Bull. Perhaps as an apology for never awarding the man with an Oscar, the Academy deemed it necessary to give Robert Redford as much love as possible, including the Best Director statue. If there is anything Ordinary People taught us, it was that rich spoiled people lose every ounce of their shit when their sailboats get damaged. Oh, and I guess when the eldest son goes down with it…
The Wins: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay