For nearly 100 years now, the annual Academy Awards have been honoring the biggest names in the entertainment industry across various categories. Not only are directors and actors acknowledged for their hard work and creativity, but the ceremony also pays tribute to those making movie magic behind the scenes. Each award typically has multiple nominees, and while it’s nice to hear the winners give their heartfelt speeches, critics can’t help but draw attention to the Oscar snubs and robberies that take place virtually every year.

At the recent 2024 show it was Oppenheimer that wowed voters, amassing an impressive 13 nominations. Meanwhile, Barbie made headlines as Ryan Gosling got his flowers from the Academy while director Greta Gerwig and lead actress Margot Robbie were pushed to the side. Black creatives are all too familiar with similar struggles, and there’s been many instances where their work wasn’t granted the accolades it deserved. Keep reading to reflect on some of the most noteworthy Oscar snubs in Black history, and let us know who we might’ve missed in the comments.

Sounder (1972)

IMDb: 7.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

In her long-spanning career, the only Oscar nomination Ciciley Tyson received was for Best Actress in 1972’s Sounder, directed by Martin Ritt. The New Yorker ultimately lost out to Liza Minnelli, whose performance in Cabaret won over the Academy at 1973’s ceremony. Thankfully Tyson was recognized for her talent before her passing in 2021; a few years before, she became the first Black woman to take home an honorary Academy Award. In her acceptance speech, The Help actress called the moment “the culmination of all those years of have and have-not.”

The Color Purple (1985)

IMDb: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Steven Spielberg’s original telling of The Color Purple from 1985 was nominated for eleven Academy Awards but sadly failed to win any of them. Whoopi Goldberg’s leading performance put her in the Best Actress category, while Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey both got their flowers for their supporting roles in the powerful film. Interestingly the 2023 remake of The Color Purple was snubbed entirely, though it did sweep at the 2024 NAACP Image Awards.

What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)

IMDb: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Before her death, Tina Turner was fortunate enough to see some of her life story played out on the big screen by Angela Bassett. Brian Gibson directed the powerhouse entertainer in 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do with It, in which she channeled the Queen of Rock opposite Laurence Fishburn. Both leads found themselves in the Best Actor/Actress category in 1994, but Fishburne lost to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and Holly Hunter beat out Bassett with The Piano.

More recently, Bassett went viral after her disappointed reaction to losing Best Supporting Actress at the 2023 Oscars was captured on camera. The 65-year-old beautifully played the emotional role of T’Challa’s mother in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but Jamie Lee Curtis was chosen over her for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

IMDb: 9.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Forrest Gump was an impactful movie, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean film buffs haven’t questioned if it deserved to win Best Picture at the 1995 Oscars. Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, the heartfelt crime thriller tells the story of a wrongfully convicted White man who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a Black inmate over 19 years. Frank Darabont’s movie got seven nods from the Academy, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Freeman though Tom Hanks was the champion in the latter category.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

IMDb: 8.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

The 90s was a big time for noteworthy Oscar snubs, particularly for Quentin Tarantino. In 1994, he unleashed the star-studded Pulp Fiction on the world, which was honored by the Academy in seven different categories the following year. The only one the filmmaker won was Best Screenplay; the others his cult classic was nominated for include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (John Travolta), Best Supporting Actor (Samuel L. Jackson), Best Supporting Actress (Uma Thurman) and Best Film Editing. To this day movie lovers are saddened by Jackson’s loss to Martin Landau in Ed Wood.

Jackie Brown (1997)

IMDb: 7.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

On the topic of Tarantino’s epic filmography, 1997’s Jackie Brown is another of his releases that was overlooked by Oscar voters. Jackson also appeared in the femme fatale flick, but unfortunately didn’t even get a nod for his work. Some were expecting his co-star Pam Grier to be recognized among the Best Actresses at the 1995 ceremony, but instead, it was White women like Kate Winslet, Helena Bonham Carter, Judi Dench and category winner Helen Hunt who were deemed Academy Award worthy.

Selma (2014)

IMDb: 7.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

In more recent Oscar snub history, we have the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, Selma. Black female director Ava DuVernay made her community proud with her nod for Best Picture in 2015, but there was a strong negative reaction to David Oyelowo not being named as a contender for Best Actor. Up against the likes of American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Whiplash and Birdman (winner), Selma didn’t win, though John Legend and Common were champions in the Best Original Song category for “Glory.”

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

IMDb: 7.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

When Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation failed to generate any buzz at the 2016 Oscars, Black movie lovers were quick to express their outrage. In particular, they were hoping to see Abraham Attah and Idris Elba get some flowers for their captivating performances in the Netflix Original. As CNN notes, this was the last ceremony where no film with an all-Black cast had ever been nominated for the prestigious Best Picture prize; Moonlight was able to break this streak by winning over the Academy in 2017.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

IMDb: 7.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Spike Lee is among the most well-known Black directors in the industry, but still, it wasn’t until 2018’s BlacKkKlansman that he won an Oscar. Granted, the 67-year-old did take home an honorary trophy in 2016, though some argue his first accolade from the Academy should’ve come in 1990 for Do the Right Thing. BlacKkKlansman appeared in three categories at the 2019 award show, though it only won Best Adapted Screenplay. Best Director was given to Alfonso Cuarón and Best Picture to Green Book, which is at least another powerful story about racism in America.

Us (2019)

IMDb: 6.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%

Jordan Peele’s chilling horror film, Get Out, was impressive enough to win Best Original Screenplay at the 2018 Oscars, as well as nods for Best Director and Best Picture. Surprisingly, 2019’s Us didn’t have the same impact at the ceremony in 2020. As Entertainment Weekly puts it, this is because “it is unambiguously a genre movie, and it is a film about Black characters by a Black director.” The aforementioned success of Moonlight and other BIPOC stories among Academy voters convinced some that it would remain a tradition for years to come, but the lack of recognition for leading lady Lupita Nyong’o and her castmates proved otherwise.

One Night in Miami… (2020)

IMDb: 7.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

Regina King has been paying her dues as an actress since 1985, but it wasn’t until the 2019 Academy Awards that she was recognized as Best Supporting Actress in If Beale Street Could Talk. After spending so much time in front of the camera, she stepped behind the scenes to direct Amazon Studios’ One Night in Miami… in 2020.

The Western Drama takes us back in time to 1964 when Cassius Clay joined Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcolm X to talk about their roles as successful Black men during the civil rights movement. Despite being nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Leslie Odom Jr.), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song, King and her crew went home empty-handed.

The Woman King (2022)

IMDb: 6.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

Viola Davis already joined the Oscar winners club in 2016, nabbing the trophy for Best Supporting Actress in Fences. Before that, she received two nods, one in 2008 for Doubt and another in 2011 thanks to The Help. More recently, she was recognized for her unforgettable work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Ahead of 2022’s show, there was major shock when Davis’ performance in The Woman King failed to land her at least another nod. Halle Berry remains to only Black female entertainer to have a Best Actress Oscar in her collection, proving that the Academy has some serious work to do if it wants to send out a stronger message of diversity and inclusion.