Quentin Tarantino Once Felt ‘Forrest Gump’ Being a ‘Hollywood Movie’ Cost ‘Pulp Fiction’ an Oscar

Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to the Oscars having won a couple of awards himself. He’s seen how the ceremony operates enough times to theorize how the Academy voters truly pick their winners.

Using this theory, Tarantino once explained how Forrest Gump was able to beat Pulp Fiction for best picture.

Quentin Tarantino doesn’t know if he’ll ever win a Best Director award after losing for ‘Pulp Fiction’

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino | Jonas Walzberg/Getty Images

Tarantino’s screenwriting abilities have always been acknowledged by the academy. The esteemed filmmaker is currently sitting on two Best Original Screenplay Oscars for his work in Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained. He’s also been nominated several times for a Best Director award, but so far hasn’t picked up a win.

Tarantino believed that Pulp Fiction might have been his best shot at winning the prize.

“Look, I don’t know if I will ever win a Best Director award, because I think the closest I ever came to having a movie that would have a sweep, was probably Pulp Fiction. I don’t know if I’m ever going to do a movie that’s going to have this big sweep that goes through all the awards,” he once told The Guardian.

Quentin Tarantino felt ‘Forrest Gump’ being a Hollywood movie cost ‘Pulp Fiction its Best Picture Oscar

Tarantino has always felt that the Oscars followed a certain pattern when choosing their best picture winners. The Hateful Eight director believed the Academy preferred the type of film that endeared itself to Hollywood’s tastes. But Tarantino felt Sam Mendes’ 1999 hit, American Beauty, helped break a long-held Oscars tradition with its own Best Picture win.

“Here is a fact, or an observation, or something I’ve just noticed about the Oscars: when American Beauty won Best Picture, that was the beginning of a new day. The underdog movie, the cool movie, finally won,” Tarantino once said in an interview with the New York Times. “Before that — and this is a generalization, but I think a true one — you’d have the favorite, the more Hollywood movie, and you’d have the cooler movie. You know, the critical darling.”

Tarantino further explained his belief that the cooler movies usually won the categories for screenplays. Meanwhile, the more Hollywood films would go on to pick up the awards for Best Picture and Best Director. He used his own loss to illustrate his point.

“My year, the year Pulp Fiction won screenplay, Forrest Gump won Best Picture,” he said.

Quentin Tarantino felt he was robbed when he didn’t win a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for ‘Inglourious Basterds

If there was ever a time Tarantino was sure he’d leave the Oscars ceremony with an award, it was Inglourious Basterds. The filmmaker was up for a Best Director and Best Picture award as well, but losing out for Screenplay bothered him the most.

“In the case of Inglorious Basterds, we had a shot [at Best Picture], but we all knew Kathryn Bigelow was going to win for The Hurt Locker. It just kinda was the way it was,” Tarantino once told Cinemablend. “Now, in that instance, I was totally pissed that I lost Original Screenplay to [The Hurt Locker writer and producer] Mark Boal. And I like Mark, and we were actually doing a lot of s***-talking with each other through the entire process. I just think my script was better, all right? That’s where I felt I got robbed.”

This also interfered with Tarantino’s plan to win the most Original Screenplay Awards.

“I want to have more original-screenplay Oscars than anybody who’s ever lived! So much, I want to have so many that—four is enough. And do it within ten films, all right, so that when I die, they rename the original-screenplay Oscar ‘the Quentin.’ And everybody’s down with that,” Tarantino once told GQ.

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