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Forrest Gump – 1994
Why it Won: Despite 1992’s Death Becomes Her not winning over audiences, Robert Zemeckis was at the height of his game in 1994, and Forrest Gump is the amalgamation of about thirty different movies that would all be nominees in and of themselves. This is not a film that has aged all that well, and would have spawned a meme outbreak had the Internet been as big then, but it’s a heartwarming and fleeting story that takes on love, war, friendship, loss, bravery, personal acceptance and more. This was the year after Schindler’s List took the prize, and America just needed some life-affirming Tom Hanks to prove to us that simpletons make the world special.

What Should Have Won: Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption, the movie that probably gives TNT about a quarter of its ratings in a given year. Adapted from one of Stephen King’s deft departures from horror, this timeless prison drama featured a career-best performance from Tim Robbins, and told a story that encompasses the very nature of "drama," where innocence is just a dream on the horizon and the repetition of life behind bars is optimal to the chaos of the outside world. And if that seems too "Oscar bait-ish," then what about Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, the movie that made loving movies look even cooler than it ever did? The Academy really ate a Shrimp Royale with Cheese by avoiding both of these superior movies.

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