Before you get too worked up about your favorite movie of the year losing the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday night, know that the Academy has a long history of snubbing deserving films.

Blame the politics of Hollywood. Studios launch massive campaigns to lobby for their movies. The political climate can sway voters. And the Academy’s lack of diversity can impact not only who is nominated but who gets the win. The result: A movie deemed a “classic” decades down the road leaves the ceremony without any statues.

In hindsight, some of the Academy’s choices can seem downright absurd. Here are the 12 most controversial best picture Oscar winners of all time, from oldest to newest.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at

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