25 January 2014 5:30 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

History hasn't always looked kindly on the Academy Awards, with classics often missing out and groundbreaking moments few and far between. We delve into the Oscars' chequered past – and assess this year's contenders

• Get in shape for the Oscars with Mark Kermode's month-long feast of film here

There are only two things you really need to know about the Academy Awards: that Citizen Kane didn't win the Oscar for best picture, and that Driving Miss Daisy did.

As we approach the 86th Academy Awards, it's worth remembering those two sobering facts, which perfectly encapsulate the inherent foolishness of gong ceremonies in general, and the Oscars in particular. Ask any film fan how seriously you should take the Academy Awards, and chances are they will point you toward the best director category, where the roll call of winners signally omits Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, Stanley Kubrick, Jane Campion, »

- Mark Kermode

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