The 10 Most Abhorrent Oscar Snubs of the Past 20 Years

This year’s Oscars were disappointing in many ways, and 90 percent of those ways revolve around the fact that Carol was left out in the cold like a forgotten animal. But there have been worse casualties in the Academy’s history. The following ten films are the most offensive and egregious snubs the Academy has ever committed.

10. Billboard Dad (1998)


When Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen didn’t get so much as a nod for their gripping, emotional roles as two daughters determined to find their widower father a suitable lover in Billboard Dad, it made me want to take out a billboard saying, “What gives, Academy?” It’s a travesty that these two talented and prolific actors haven’t gotten any love from the Oscars for the duration of their entire career, enduring snub after snub. The most disgusting thing about the Academy is that Amélie (2001) completely stole the plot of Billboard Dad and made off with five Oscar nominations. Really, Jean-Pierre Jeunet? A young woman who has to track a romantic interest down in elaborate, public ways and also has a dad? Are we to believe that’s a coincidence?

9. Passport to Paris (1999)

More like "who would you rather give an Oscar to"

More like “who would you rather give an Oscar to”

In their electric debut as both actors and executive producers (here in the business, we call that a double threat), Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen once again delivered high-caliber performances as Melanie and Allyson Porter, two girls who spend their spring break living with their estranged grandfather in Paris. Because their names had been disguised so cleverly, I suspect that the Academy simply thought these were two other less important actresses until it was too late and the ballots had already been cast.

It’s not fair. Setting a movie in France pretty much guarantees you an Oscar. I know this because I have seen a Jean-Luc Godard film, and the Academy would love to give that guy an Oscar more than anything even though he keeps saying no. I’m pretty sure they only created the foreign language category so they could try to give him an Oscar. French people get everything. The only reason anyone voted for The Artist is because there was a French guy in it. If Passport to Paris had been made in 2013, I am 100 percent sure it would have won Best Picture. When Mary-Kate and Ashley found out they didn’t receive a nomination for Passport to Paris they probably felt exactly like Antoine in François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows because he, too, is misunderstood.

8. Switching Goals (1999)

This should be an Oscar

This should be an Oscar

Switching Goals was perhaps their most overtly feminist work, so it’s no surprise those old farts at the Academy couldn’t handle it. Mary-Kate and Ashley play Emma, a “girly girl who enjoys fashion and make-up” and Sam, “a star soccer player and a Tomboy.” According to Wikipedia, the two sisters switch soccer teams because… they don’t like their own soccer teams. Which is a metaphor. I don’t know for what, but Adaptation is basically about the same idea and was made three years later. I find it a little convenient that Switching Goals didn’t get a single nod while Adaptation, the same movie but starring a WHITE MALE actor, got four nominations. He’s not even really a set of twins. Wake up, sheeple.

7. Our Lips Are Sealed (2000)


You probably know this one because this film is the sole reason that The Go-Gos wrote their pop hit “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Well I’ll tell you what, my lips weren’t sealed because my jaw was hanging wide open at the sheer outrage and astonishment I felt when Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s crime drama Our Lips Are Sealed received no nomination for Best Picture in 2000. But it’s okay: you know what else never got a Best Picture nod? The Bad and the Beautiful, Scarface, and Reservoir Dogs. The Academy just can’t handle crime dramas. It’s only been sixteen years since the film’s release so I’m hopeful for an eventual Criterion Collection release, no thanks to Big Oscar.

6. Winning London (2001)


Winning London is a spiritual sequel to Passport to Paris but it probably should’ve been called Not Even Nominated London because it didn’t win anything despite the writers’ efforts to hint at a nomination in the title. Sometimes the important movies get forgotten, and that’s okay, but this felt like an egregious oversight. I mean, Gladiator won Best Picture that year despite the scene where Joaquin Phoenix says, “This vexes me, I’m terribly vexed” so I smell something foul.

5. The Challenge (2003)



Okay, Our Lips Are Sealed and Passport to Paris getting snubs? No big deal. But The Challenge? In which Mary-Kate and Ashley play twins-turned-enemies who are forced to work together in a reality show competition because a nefarious TV executive thinks they’ll bring in ratings? A metanarrative meditation on the very nature of the entertainment industry? It’s like the fucking Birdman of Mary-Kate and Ashley movies. What, suddenly it’s the 21st century and movies that aren’t shot in one take aren’t as impressive now?

4. Holiday in the Sun (2001)


To be honest, it seems like for the latter decade of the Olsens’ career they were doing a lot of extravagant traveling to exotic locales and then kind of making movies there half-heartedly. Paris, then London, sure. Rome, I get it. But The Bahamas? Now I know you’re just trying to get a vacation out of this. Nevertheless, Alexander Payne got a nomination for The Descendants, which is also a movie about a bunch of white people exoticizing the fuck out of a tropical locale, so is it that outrageous that Our Girls get some ounce of recognition for their efforts to pander to the Academy?

3. Getting There: Sweet 16 and Licensed to Drive (2002)

Not even a Costume Design nomination?

Not even a Costume Design nomination?

When I die and my body is incinerated to ash and thrown into a vase and given to my family to scatter across the Pacific Coast’s succulent bluffs, the wind will carry my dust off into the horizon and it will whisper, “How did Crash win an Oscar but Getting There: Sweet 16 and Licensed to Drive didn’t even get a nomination even though it also was about driving?” I keep my mouth shut every time some white bro tells me his favorite movie is Crash but I know it’s just a sad knockoff of this gem. At least Getting There can pass as a feminist film.

2. When in Rome (2002)


I hope we don’t miss the red carpet!

When in Rome signifies the decline of the Olsen Empire, much like how the Roman Empire also declined. A mere 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s not too surprising that When in Rome didn’t get any nominations, but it still hurts, much like Caligula hurt as he watched Rome burn. It’s hard to watch this movie and not appreciate its mise-en-scene — wide sweeping shots of the city’s ancient glory, crowds of actors coordinated to move together perfectly in sync. Not to mention the infamous chariot race scene. If only they’d made When in Rome in 2001 rather than 2002 so that it could’ve competed against Gladiator for Best Picture. That’s the price you pay for thinking too far ahead, flying too close to the sun.

1. New York Minute (2004)


New York Minute was the last great film that the Olsens would ever do. In retrospect, had we known, we probably would’ve treated it the same way we treated James Dean’s Giant. Since a posthumous Oscar is out of the question, the only hope we have left is a Lifetime Achievement Oscar. While we know in our hearts of hearts that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen deserve an Oscar nomination, we must remain patient. The Academy recognized Leo solely because everyone told them they were supposed to. Perhaps they’ll recognize our starlets one day too. Perhaps the Academy isn’t as cold as I think they are; perhaps they won’t make Mary-Kate and Ashley sleep outside in the dog house tonight.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Olga is a Staff Writer at Autostraddle. Her work has also appeared in McSweeney's, Splitsider, Paste, and Reductress. You can find her yelling into the void on Twitter.

olgalexell has written 3 articles for us.


  1. First of all, all of these are masterpieces. But I have a bone to pick with Billboard Dad. Remember in the end during the big swim meet and that punk kid refuses to compete because HE GOT A NEW TATTOO and everybody just nods their heads and shrugs. He is 12!? And his mom is obviously the most responsible person. Anyway, this haunts me to this day.

    • Admittedly, Billboard Dad is one I haven’t watched recently, but I did watch selected scenes in the last few weeks after I found out Troian Bellisario was in it, but what I took from the scene in question is that he is pretending to have a tattoo so that Emily could have her turn in the spotlight.

  2. Autostraddle really is my #1 news source for articles like this. Thank you for keeping it relevant. Personally, Our Lips Are Sealed is still my fav MK&A movie as an old pal of mine was one of the extras and was told to “talk more Australian”.

  3. Passport to Paris really is incredible. Thank you for this article. I’ve been shouting this out for years.

  4. Thank you for your tireless research and campaigning. I loved Switching Goals, and subsequently, feminism.

  5. This has brought back many conflicting feelings from being an 8 year old with a twin sister I felt very different to (HINT: YOU ARE A MASSIVE GAY) which have evolved into my more adult feelings of having a very feminine twin who I feel compared to with respect to gender expectations and presentation.


  6. Although it’s older than 20 years old, “It Takes Two” should be on top of every worthwile list. Truly the Olsen’s masterpiece, it made me discover Sloppy Joe burgers, something that I still cherish to this day.

    • I was just about to pledge my allegiance to “It Takes Two”! I still watch it if I come across it on cable. I masterpiece, for sure.

      i have an oddly vivid memory of kirstie allie’s character making one of them spit out their gum and it came out completely square, like a starburst…that was what struck me the most about It Takes Two (granted I was like 7 last time I saw it).

      truly a masterpiece.

  7. Where is the lie? There is no lie. I cannot choose my favorite masterpiece. Similiarly, this seems life a safe space to admit that I don’t really care for Weezer, but I will always love their Best Original Song snub for “Island In The Sun,” for the film “Holiday in the Sun”

  8. I will never forget my friend constantly asking me where Ashley was because “That one is Mary, and that one is Kate”… ?

  9. Cutting edge journalism as always! MK and A were (and ARE) such a big part of my life- my family still quotes It Takes Two on a regular basis

    • It Takes Two is very important because it asks us to take a leap of faith and believe in identical strangers while also reminding us how good sloppy Joe’s are

      Also it has a scene with Kirstie Alley and one of the Olsen twins that’s weirdly reminiscent of a scene in Ghost

  10. This is my very favorite day-after-Oscars thinkpiece, so I thank you.

    And now I have 10 cinematic masterpieces to watch!


    They played tiny sleuths who, while being neglected by their orca trainer parents and allowed to run around unsupervised at sea world, witnessed a MURDER

    Which they then had the moxy and macarena dancing skills to SOLVE

    And discover that it was actually an elaborate Hoax set up by the local Creepy Mime to keep their young, as of yet emotionally untraumatized minds occupied

    Clearly the best supporting actor nod would go to the man playing the aforementioned Nightmare Fuel Clown I mean Mime

  12. Fun Fact: I admittedly wasn’t much of a MK + A movie fan as a pre-teen/ teenager. I didn’t understand their full glory until much later. BUT, my debate team in high school used to watch- and love- “Winning London” at team sleepovers as a bonding ritual. (Nerds, I know. We were needs.)

    One year, when our annual re-watch was over, we were flipping through cable and stumbled upon the premiere of “The L Word”. Some got bored, but a group of us watched with hushed, baited breath- not moving from the tv until the whole episode was over. And just like that, I saw Better Porter have sex with Tina Kinard and my like changed in an instant.

    The Olsen Twins: A small branch that lead to the root of my gayness.

  13. The omission of “How the West Was Fun” from this list is personally offensive to me.

    But, y’know, other than that, this is quite perfect.

  14. I think the When in Rome write up is the greatest thing I’ve ever read. And you’re so right, New York Minute is the best (and not just because it’s the only one I’ve actually seen).

    • Addition…i’ve ever read while having a not so great time at work. Thank you for brightening my day for a bit, Olga :)

    • Addition…i’ve ever read while having a not so great time at work. Thank you for making me laugh, Olga :)

    • Okay but here are the top five most abhorrent snubs of this list:

      -Seventeen Again (2000) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
      -The Hot Chick (2002) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
      -Twitches (2005) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
      -Twitches Too (2007) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
      -Double Wedding (2010) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry

      • Urgh, I meant to post that as a new comment when the picture didn’t post. Can I just delete this thread and start over?

  15. Okay but here are the top five most abhorrent snubs of this list:

    -Seventeen Again (2000) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
    -The Hot Chick (2002) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
    -Twitches (2005) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
    -Twitches Too (2007) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry
    -Double Wedding (2010) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry

  16. Recently ive been obsessively looking at mary kate and ashley on google images to try and duplicate their wardrobe from thrift store finds, so it is hilarious to me that of course they are featured on Autostraddle because you guys are inside my brain. They are my all time faves. Ive seen ALLL the movies. It takes two is definitely my fav. And now they are still the coolest chicks ever. Wish one had turned out to be gay, that would have been ultimate coolness.

  17. Apparently I stopped watching Mary Kate and Ashley films in 2001-2002, as I’ve seen all of their films up until that point and then 0 after that. I also LOVED their detective series and whatever that one film they made that was just music videos. True fact: I still get “pulling an all nighter” and “brother for sale” stuck in my head sometimes.

  18. Perhaps one of the few great stories of my life is that my cousin Sally played Carrie the baby-sitter on Two of a Kind and got us an autographed photo of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

    I will also note here, because it is one of the few places where I can do it without being totally out of context, that there is a scene in Two of a Kind where Carrie lists all the terrible men her friend Nancy has dated but it’s the names of her brothers, also my cousins.

Comments are closed.