When it comes to the Oscars, there are certain genres that are always underrepresented at the ceremony. The only horror film to ever win Best Picture is The Silence of the Lambs. The only comedy to take home the top prize is Annie Hall. And the only science fiction movie to win the Best Picture Oscar? Well, it’s never happened — but it should have.
A handful of science fiction films have at least been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars over the years, but none have ever won. Star Wars and E.T. were basically the only sci-fi films to ever earn a nom up until 2009, when the field of nominees was expanded from five to ten. Since then, Avatar, District 9, Inception, Her, Gravity, The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road, and this year’s Arrival have all earned nominations, but still no victories. And while the Oscars have awarded many sci-fi films for their special effects and other categories, plenty of the genre’s movies over the decades have proved worthy of consideration for Best Picture at the Oscars, even if the Academy didn’t think so. So check out the 24 sci-fi movies below that were all snubbed by the Oscars.
1. Metropolis (1927)
The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929, and honored films from 1927 and 1928. This futuristic masterpiece should have been recognized, as it has easily held up better than arguably anything else from the era.
2.The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Sure, it’s got a giant alien robot, but this film’s themes are far deeper and more complex than the other movies of its day.
3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Ignored by critics at the time of its release due to its content (it involves pod people), the movie is now looked back upon by many experts as one of the best of 1956.
4. Planet of the Apes (1968)
A true classic with one of the most memorable twists in cinema, this movie deserves more credit. Thanks to the new movie series, a whole new generation is starting to uncover the brilliance of this 1968 gem.
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Widely cited as one of the greatest films ever made while also revolutionizing the industry with its special effects, it’s simply mind-blowing that the Oscars didn’t recognize it with their top prize (Oliver! won Best Picture in 1968. I know, crazy).
6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
A thinking man’s sci-fi film, it honestly seems like this movie would at least earn a nomination if it were released today.
7. Alien (1979)
In addition to being a sci-fi film, Alien also had the fact that it was a horror movie going against it. Regardless of how you classify it, though, it’s a terrific film.
8. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Why did Star Wars earn a nomination, but not its vastly superior sequel? It remains one of life’s greatest mysteries.
9. Blade Runner (1982)
A high-concept science fiction noir film, you’d think the Academy would have been all over this brilliant work, but no.
10. Ghostbusters (1984)
It’s a comedy, sure (and one of the greatest ever), but I don’t know a single person who would rather watch Amadeus, which won the top prize the year Ghostbusters would have been eligible.
11. Back to the Future (1985)
Yes, another mid-’80s comedy sci-fi. What can I say? Like Ghostbusters, this film may not be your typical Oscar bait, but it has stood the test of time and is remembered as one of the best films of its era.
12. Brazil (1985)
This movie has a cult following, and deservedly so: It’s one of the most unique and inventive movies you’re likely to come across.
13. Aliens (1986)
That rare sequel that improves upon its predecessor, this one did manage to pick up seven Oscar noms, but none in the top category, which is a shame.
14. Total Recall (1990)
A film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger that should be up for an Oscar? Believe it. While it won an Oscar for its amazing special effects, it was deserving of more recognition for its smart and complex story.
15. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Yes, it’s another Arnold movie, and yes, it’s another sequel directed by James Cameron, but it’s also pretty much a perfect film.
16. Jurassic Park (1993)
Not only was this one of the best movies of 1993, it was one of the greatest and most memorable films of the entire decade.
17. The Matrix (1999)
The special effects get all the attention, and rightfully so, but The Matrix also features a complicated narrative about our world being a computer simulation, an idea that has recently picked up steam among scientists.
18. Minority Report (2002)
Masterful pacing, compelling ethical questions, a brilliant story that keeps you guessing, and maybe the most accurate depiction of future tech ever in a film, this Steven Spielberg film is a massively underrated gem.
19. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
This movie seems to be remembered more fondly with each passing year, and it’s arguably the most daring film on this list when it comes to its examination of the human condition.
20. Children of Men (2006)
This dystopian film received little attention when it was first released, but it’s now regarded as one of the best examples of the genre.
21. Interstellar (2014)
While some critics derided this film for being too complex and overreaching, it’s an absolute masterclass in storytelling, and unlike anything in film that came before it.
22. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
In a decade or so, this criminally-underwatched actioner will be looked back upon as one of the best examples of science fiction ever. Count on it.
23. Ex Machina (2015)
This psychological thriller earned a couple Oscar nominations, and landed a surprise win for its subtle special effects, but the film as a whole deserved more recognition for setting the bar for how good an indie sci-fi film can be.
24. The Force Awakens
Is it a perfect movie? No, but the biggest and most influential film of 2015 was considered a lock for a Best Picture nomination last year, and the fact that it didn’t earn one is considered one the biggest snubs in Oscar history.