There's no higher honor in the film industry than being nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Although given how questionable the Academy's judgment is sometimes, we're not sure why that's still the case. Here's a look back at the strangest Academy Award nominees of all time, whether they didn't deserve the recognition or, like "The Fugitive," just fall well outside the norm.
'Doctor Doolittle' (1967)
With scrappy upstarts like "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Graduate" earning Best Picture noms, 1968 is the year New Hollywood came to play at the Oscars. Which made it all the more weird to see groundbreaking films like those competing against the likes of "Doctor Doolittle," an expensive flop that no one actually seemed to like that much in the first place.
'Hello, Dolly!' (1969)
While it has some of the biggest names in the musical world -- Barbra Streisand, Gene Kelly, Louis Armstrong -- "Hello, Dolly!" is widely regarded as a mediocre adaptation of a much better stage musical. We're not sure how that was enough to earn it a Best Picture nomination, especially alongside the likes of "Midnight Cowboy."
While it was certainly a big hit at the time, there's nothing about "Airport" that suggests it's Best Picture material. Heck, the film is more noteworthy for inspiring the '70s disaster movie craze and the vastly more memorable spoof movie "Airplane!" than it is for its actual quality.
Historically, the Academy tends to turn its nose up at comedies. Perhaps the Vietnam War commentary was enough to offset that. Whatever the case, it's strange to think that this movie got nominated when it's now generally regarded as a rough prototype for the far more popular TV series.
'The Towering Inferno' (1974)
It's tough to imagine a disaster movie scoring a Best Picture nomination today, but they were handing them out like candy back in the '70s. In this case, we assume the attractive combo of stars Steve McQueen and Paul Newman had soemthign to do with it. Still, it's crazy to think of this film being nominated in the same year as all-time greats like "The Godfather, Part II" and "Chinatown."
'The Godfather, Part III' (1990)
We have to assume this one landed a nomination on pedigree alone. Even the most ardent "The Godfather, Part III" supporters will agree that the film falls well short of its predecessors. It certainly didn't stack up well to fellow gangster movie nominee "Goodfellas."
'Scent of a Woman' (1992)
"Scent of a Woman" will always be remembered as the movie that finally earned Al Pacino his overdue Best Actor Oscar. Were it not for that, we imagine this movie would have been completely forgotten by time. Pacino's performance certainly... stands out, but it's hardly the stuff of cinematic legend like his work in "The Godfather" or "Serpico." And the movie doesn't actually have much else going for it.
'The Fugitive' (1993)
It's not that we necessarily feel "The Fugitive" didn't deserve to be nominated. It was definitely among the better films of 1993. It's just such an odd choice considering how rarely the Academy recognizes suspense thrillers nowadays, especially ones that are both crowd-pleasing blockbusters and damn good films.
We wouldn't dare suggest that this plucky, sheep-herding pig didn't deserve to have his movie nominated for Best Picture. But like "The Fugitive," it's such a strange choice given the types of films the Academy usually focuses on. It's too bad the 1998 sequel wasn't similarly recognized.
'The Full Monty' (1997)
Before "Magic Mike" was proving that male stripper movies could both titillate and rake in the glowing reviews, there was "The Full Monty." It was surprising to see this quirky comedy get a Best Picture nod, though it certainly deserved the recognition. Too bad it had to go up against the awards juggernaut that was "Titanic."
There was a period where being distributed by Miramax was basically a free pass towards an Oscar nomination. And as you'd expect, not all of these films necessarily deserved that level of acclaim. Take "Chocolat," a film as enjoyable but nutritionally empty as the food it's name for.
'District 9' (2009)
The Academy has never been particularly fond of genre films in general and science fiction in particular, so "District 9" fans were pretty surprised to see the film included among that year's nominees. No doubt the film's apartheid allegory won over voters more than the impressive creature designs and special effects.
'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close' (2011)
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" was among the most critically polarizing films of 2011, with some praising it as a heartfelt family drama and others accusing it of being an emotionally manipulative film that flaunted its 9/11 elements. Given that divide, it's surprising that the film landed enough votes to land on the Best Picture list. Not that it managed to put up much of a fight against the likes of "The Artist" and "Hugo."
'Les Miserables' (2012)
It might have been a big deal at the time, but in hindsight it's difficult to understand why "Les Miserables" was such a major force at the 2013 Academy Awards. It's a reminder that the Academy still has a weakness for lavish musicals, even musicals that fail to live up to the high standard of the stage versions.