Would they ever admit it?
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Best Actor - 71st Academy Awards
Nominees: Roberto Benigni ("Life is Beautiful"), Tom Hanks ("Saving Private Ryan"), Ian McKellen ("Gods and Monsters"), Nick Nolte ("Affliction"), Edward Norton ("American History X")
Who won: Roberto Benigni
Who should have: Ian McKellen or Nick Nolte
Why: Benigni's win - and subsequent climbing over chairs to get to the stage - is one of the Academy's most cringe-worthy mistakes over the past 20 years. Miramax (under Harvey Weinstein's leadership) ran a hardcore campaign where Benigni campaigned all over Hollywood trying to win votes and it worked. Meanwhile the already legendary McKellen and Nolte gave two of the best cinematic performances of their careers only to see the a comedian take it all. 14 years later both are still Oscar-less.
- Gregory Ellwood