15 Most Unexpected Oscar Winners

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON February 27th, 2017

15 Most Unexpected Oscar Winners

Even the most coveted prize in the movie industry has a fair share of controversies. Despite being quite predictable over the years, there have been many instances when the results left everyone’s jaw dropped by surprising results. Take a look at the 15 most unexpected Oscar winners who made you scratch your head:


15. Cuba Gooding Jr. Beats Edward Norton

Cuba Gooding Jr Beats Edward Norton

The entire audience was in disbelief when Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role of Cameron Crowe in Jerry Maguire considering the fact that he was the weakest nomination in the bunch while Edward Norton was the critic’s favorite.

Fast forward to both actors’ future projects, Gooding Jr. had several inconsistent successes with no Academy Award nominations while Norton built quite a name for himself and gave two more solid nominated performances.


14. Babe Beats Apollo 13

Babe Beats Apollo 13

A victory that still puzzles people today, Babe beating Apollo 13 for Best Visual Effects is nothing short of a travesty of justice. As it turns out, the Academy feels that showing farm animals talking was better than shooting a space adventure. Speaking of ill-fated decisions, Babe was nominated for Best Picture as well; placed among the likes of Braveheart and Sense and Sensibility.


13. Forrest Gump Beats Pulp Fiction

Forrest Gump Beats Pulp Fiction

By all accounts, Forrest Gump deserved the Oscar for Best Editing and while the movie was a fine one, its win for Best Picture certainly raised eyebrows.

If anything, the victory had a dire consequence as whether the Academy being actually capable of comprehending an awesome movie became a subject of debate since Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction was an easy winner.

Revolutionizing the art of non-linear story telling which continues to inspire film-makers today, Pulp Fiction now holds a legacy of one of the greatest movies ever made yet it only managed to win one Oscar for Best Screenplay among seven nominations.


12. Argo Wins Best Picture

Argo Wins Best Picture

Image Source: radiotimes.com

Without a shadow of a doubt, Argo was the definite superior movie among the eight strong nominations for Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards yet even the thought about it winning seemed unlikely since up-and-coming director Ben Affleck was not even nominated for Best Director Oscar.

With several career inconsistencies and with only two yet positively received feature films directed before Argo, surely the chances of Affleck’s movie were between slim to none (more close to none) but at the end of the day, it won the Oscar for Best Picture as the biggest upset victory of the entire night!

As one of the very rare occurrences of a movie winning the Best Picture Oscar while its director did not even get a nomination, Affleck still ended up getting an Oscar due to being one of Argo’s producers.


11. Marisa Tomei Beats Judy Davis

Marisa Tomei worst oscar winners

Who ever thought about playing a loudmouth girlfriend can land you an Oscar for Best Actress? The Academy certainly does! While all eyes were on Judy Davis at the 65th Academy Awards, it was Marisa Tomei walking out with the Best Supporting Actress while expected winner and 16-year veteran Judy Davis remained speechless.


10. Anthony Hopkins Wins Best Actor

anthony hopkins wins oscar

A captivating story which introduced one of the most iconic serial killers in cinematic history, The Silence of the Lambs is one of the rare movies which have won the “top five” Academy Awards – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay.

Though the movie deserved every single one of the mentioned categories, there was doubt about Anthony Hopkins winning not because he did not act great (he stole the spotlight from co-star Jodie Foster) but because he only appeared for a screen time of hardly 15 minutes. Still, that short amount of time was enough to impress the Academy as Hopkins won the Oscar for Best Actor.


9. Adrian Brody Beats Previous Winners

Adrian Brody Wins Oscar

Image Source: craveonline.com

Winning an Oscar is big deal and the only thing bigger is an actor with no previous nominations beating four other contenders with at least one previous Oscar victory. That is the story of 29-year old Adrien Brody.

The actor became the youngest winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor and beat A-listers Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Caine, Nicolas Cage and even Jack Nicholson. Not doubting his performance nor his chances of winning yet beating four Hollywood legends in one night counts as an upset victory.


8. Rocky Wins Best Picture

Rocky Wins Best Picture

Image Source: imdb.com

Do you believe in miracles? A real-life underdog story, Rocky did not only showcase an amateur boxing giving his professional competition a tough time but also showed struggling star Sylvester Stallone’s passion project becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

No matter how great Rocky was, the race for Best Picture Oscar was a tough one due to the inclusions of Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, Bound for Glory and Network. At the moment of truth, Rocky stood supreme!