There’s an unspoken deal between filmmakers and spectators. Filmmakers ask that spectators accept films as make believe and know that in order to get lost in a film world they must agree to some level of suspension of disbelief. Seasoned spectators accept those terms in order to insert themselves into the world created by the filmmakers. However, there are limitations to that deal. Even though an audience is perfectly willing to accept things like a little boy that sees ghosts, or a teenager that can travel to the future in a DeLorean through a wormhole when it hits 88 mph – that doesn’t mean that an audience is willing to overlook parts of the plot that don’t add up. Here are the Oscar-nominated movies with plot holes you can’t un-see.

Yes, there are even plot holes in Academy Award nominated movies. The Matrix is one of the most innovative sci-fi films ever made and its introduction of bullet time technology and a mind-bending plot earned it four Academy Awards, but it’s far from perfect.

It’s easy for a spectator to accept the premise of a dystopian future in which machines hold the bodies of humans captive, while their minds are part of a simulated reality or dream world called the Matrix. But, we can’t ignore the giant plot hole that puts Cypher into the Matrix without the benefit of an operator or with someone there to plug him in. It goes against the narrative rules of the film that have been constructed for the audience, therefore it’s a plot hole that needs to be at the very least brought up for discussion. There are theories out there attempting to explain away this plot hole, but none truly satisfy all the rules previously established by the film.



Isn’t There a Much Easier Way to Save the World?

Photo:  Armageddon/Buena Vista Pictures

Film: Armageddon

Yes, Armageddon is an Oscar-nominated film, in fact, it received four nominations. Ben Affleck himself pointed out one major plot hole that pretty much blows up the whole movie. Affleck asked Michael Bay, “Wouldn’t it be easier to train astronauts to drill than to teach drillers how to be astronauts?” Bay’s response to the actor? “Shut the f*ck up.”

Actors: Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, + more

Released: 1998

Daniel’s Crane Kick Was Illegal

Photo:  The Karate Kid

Film: The Karate Kid

Pat Morita earned an Oscar nod in 1985 for his performance as Mr. Myagi in The Karate Kid. But did you know that the crane kick that Daniel (Ralph Macchio) used to defeat his opponent/arch nemesis Johnny (William Zabka) was actually illegal? Throughout the karate tournament, we hear officials say kicks to the face are against the rules. Daniel should have been disqualified for using the crane kick, instead he won the tournament.

Actors: Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Andrew Shue, Frances Bay, + more

Released: 1984

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

But He Died All Alone

Photo:  Citizen Kane

Film: Citizen Kane

Often cited as the best film ever made, Citizen Kane received nine Academy Award nominations, and won the Oscar for Best Writing. The central question asked by a reporter at the beginning of the film is what Charles Foster Kane’s dying words, “Rosebud,” really meant. The rub is that Kane died all alone; no one was there to hear his dying words.

Actors: Orson Welles, Alan Ladd, Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Arthur O’Connell, + more

Released: 1941

Directed by: Orson Welles

That Liquid Metal Cyborg Shouldn’t Be Able to Travel in Time

Photo:  Terminator 2: Judgment Day

FilmTerminator 2: Judgment Day

T2 is often cited as one of the best sequels ever made, some even contend that it’s a better movie than the 1984 original. In total, it was nominated for six Academy Awards and took home four Oscars. Even still, you can’t ignore this science-based plot hole. The franchise is sure to explain in great detail that only organic material can travel in time (which is why everyone is naked when they time travel to their set destination). So if the T-1000 is composed of liquid metal, then how is it possible that the cyborg is able to travel in time? Liquid metal is obviously not an organic material.

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton, Nikki Cox, Danny Cooksey, + more

Released: 1991

Directed by: James Cameron

What About the Bodies?

Photo: Face/Off


John Woo’s sci-fi thriller Face/Off was nominated for a Best Sound Effects Editing Oscar in 1998. An FBI agent (John Travolta) undergoes a face transplant so he can look look like a terrorist (Nic Cage) in order to stop an extortion plot. The bad guy then puts on the FBI agent’s face and a classic game of switcheroo takes place. The gaping plot hole is that the two men have just switched faces, not bodies. It’s hard to believe that the agent’s wife doesn’t realize that her husband has a completely different body.

Actors: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon, Margaret Cho, Thomas Jane, + more

Released: 1997

Directed by: John Woo

They Don’t Have to Leave Earth

Photo: Interstellar


A lot has been made about the plethora of plot holes in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film, which received five Academy Award nominations and won for Best Visual Effects. Here’s a big one that the entire narrative is based on: the earth is supposedly screwed as humans are losing the ability to grow crops because of a plague called Blight. However, it’s shown that food can grow in space stations without issue. So why can’t people just grow their food in a controlled green house set with the same parameters as the space station? That seems like it would be a lot easier than figuring out how to live on another planet.

Actors: Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, + more

Released: 2014

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

How Did the Crew Die?

Photo: The Lost World: Jurassic Park

FilmThe Lost World: Jurassic Park

The second film in the Jurassic Park franchise earned an Oscar nod for Best Effects in 1998. A boat arrives in San Diego and the entire crew has been killed. The rub is that the T. rex is still locked up in the cargo hold when the boat docks. So how the heck did the crew meet their untimely demise?

Actors: Julianne Moore, Steven Spielberg, Camilla Belle, Vince Vaughn, Jeff Goldblum, + more

Released: 1997

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jack Didn’t Have to Die

Photo: Titanic

Film: Titanic

Titanic is tied with two other films (Ben-Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) for having the most Academy Award, taking home 11 statues. Additionally, it currently ranks fourth in world wide box office gross. But a question that still-mourning fans ask about Jack’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) death is whether or not he could have fit on the door alongside Rose (Kate Winslet), instead of freezing to death in the water.

Kate Winslet contends that Jack could have been saved. She admitted in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, “I agree, I think he could have actually fit on that bit of door.” Jack dying at the end of Titanic is definitely a plot hole. But would the movie have had such an emotional unforgettable impact if he had lived?

Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, James Cameron, Bill Paxton, + more

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

Just Move To A Safer Place

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

Film: The Quiet Place

Nominated for sound editing, the John Krasinski-helmed horror pic created intense tension in its simple premise of noise-hating aliens invading Earth, killing off anyone who dares to eat a bag of chips. But it also created a weird plot hole.

The movie establishes a loud, large waterfall as a safe place to talk since the noise is constant and ignored by the aliens. So why not just live near it? Especially if there will be a noisy newborn joining the group soon, why not live in the safe zone?

Actors: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

Released: 2018

Directed by: John Krasinski

Gone Girl

Photo: Gone Girl

FilmGone Girl

Rosamund Pike earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 2015 for her performance as one of the most manipulative, amoral, psychopathic schemers in film history. Amy pins a kidnapping on Desi (Neil Patrick Harris) by choreographing a ruse for his security cameras. The gaping plot hole is that Amy spends weeks at Desi’s house, where she lives quite comfortably. What about that footage? Wouldn’t that contradict her kidnapping story?

Actors: Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Emily Ratajkowski, Rosamund Pike, + more

Released: 2014

Directed by: David Fincher

Where Did All the Ice Come From?

Photo: Edward Scissorhands

FilmEdward Scissorhands

Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands earned an Oscar nod for Best Makeup in 1991. The Fantasy film about a sweet and sensitive man with scissors for hands has one gaping plot hole. Edward (Johnny Depp) gets upset and runs off to the attic where he carves several amazing ice sculptures. One has to wonder, however, how did Edward get all those large, heavy blocks of ice up to the attic?

Actors: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Vincent Price, Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Arkin, + more

Released: 1990

Directed by: Tim Burton

Don’t They Recognize Calvin Klein?

Photo: Back to the Future
Film: Back to the Future

Back to the Future was the highest grossing movie in 1985, received three Oscar nominations, and won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing. Of course, it’s easy to pick apart a time travel movie and a complete dissection would lead to one massive plot hole after another. But there is one gaping hole that must be addressed. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back in time, accidentally prevents his parents from meeting, and then must make sure they fall in love at the Enchanted Under the Sea Dance. During his stay in 1955, Marty becomes friends with both his mom and dad. The question that must be asked is how it’s possible that neither his mother or father recognize their son to be the Calvin Klein they met when they were in high school?

Actors: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Billy Zane, + more

Released: 1985

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

How Did Cypher Enter the Matrix Without an Operator?

Photo: The Matrix

FilmThe Matrix

The Wachowskis wowed audiences with their innovative bullet-time technology, which helped pave the way for four Academy Award wins in 2000. The Matrix is a complicated mind-bending film that has quite a few head-scratching plot holes. One of them deals with the fact (as it is explained to Neo/the viewer) that in order to enter or leave the Matrix, an operator is needed. However, when Cypher (Joe Pantaliano) schemed (and enjoyed a wonderful rare steak) with Smith to betray Morpheus and the rest of the group, no one dialed him in or out of the Matrix. There have been several attempts to explain this plot hole, but none of the theories truly cover how Cypher plugs himself in, and how he is able to “enjoy” his steak if his brain is merely reading code.

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Gloria Foster, + more

Released: 1999

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Custom Made Armor?

Photo: Iron Man 3
FilmIron Man 3

The third Iron Man installment earned an Oscar nod for Best Visual Effects in 2014. It also features one of the biggest plot holes of recent years. We know that Tony Stark custom makes his Iron Man armor suit so that it only fits to his body. Yet, somehow, several other characters from the movie wind up wearing the armor that is only supposed to fit Stark.

Actors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, + more

Released: 2013

Directed by: Shane Black

There’s No Way Andy Could Reattach the Picture of Raquel Welch

Photo: The Shawshank Rdemption

FilmThe Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption earned seven Academy Award nominations in 1995. Surprisingly, the film didn’t win a single trophy, losing the Best Picture race to Forrest Gump. One nit-picky plot hole of Andy Dufresne’s (Tim Robbins) daring prison escape concerns the picture of Raquel Welch. Over the course of many years, Andy slowly digs a hole in his prison cell and covers up his progress with the picture of Welch. After he climbs into the hole to escape, he somehow pins the picture back up so the prison guards don’t immediately notice his absence.

This seems rather impossible. First, Andy is probably going into the hole head first, and there’s definitely not enough room for him to turn around. Second, even if he could miraculously turn around, it’s highly improbable that he could reattach the poster so perfectly from inside the hole.

Actors: Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins, Clancy Brown, James Whitmore, + more

Released: 1994

Directed by: Frank Darabont

Indiana Jones Should Have Just Stayed Home

Photo: Raiders of the Lost Ark/Paramount Pictures

Film: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Nominated for eight Oscars and winner of four, Steven Spielberg’s ’80s masterpiece took Hollywood by storm and created a screen icon with Indiana Jones. However, all the love in the world isn’t going to erase a massive oversight: Defeating the Germans would have been easier if Indiana Jones didn’t get involved.

Had Jones not gone on the hunt for the Ark of the Covenant, the end of the treasure hunt would have ended exactly the same way with melting Germans. The bad guys would have opened the Ark, the curse would be in full effect, the Germans would be turned into human candles, and the Ark would have remained safe. The end.

However Jones’ involvement did save Marion from the evil intentions of Toht, so there is that.

Actors: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, + more

Released: 1981

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Why Doesn’t E.T. Use His Ability to Levitate?

Photo: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

FilmE.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. was nominated for nine Academy Awards and took home four Oscars in 1983. A lot has been made about why E.T. doesn’t just fly back to his home planet. The movie doesn’t really explain the alien’s ability to fly on his own, so we can assume he can’t fly all the back home alone through space safely. However, we do know that E.T. can levitate. So at the very least, we must ask why he doesn’t simply levitate when he’s being chased by the agents at the beginning of the move. It certainly would have made life a lot easier for him.

Actors: Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger, Robert MacNaughton, C. Thomas Howell, + more

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Hello… You’re Dead

Photo: The Sixth Sense

FilmThe Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan shocked the movie world with his never-saw-it-coming twist ending in The Sixth Sense, which was nominated for six Academy Awards. Shyamalan received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, despite the massive plot hole in his modern day ghost story.

If Dr. Crowe (Bruce Willis) is really dead for the duration of the movie, how come he does not realize it? He lives in a house with his wife and he is also in Cole’s house when his mother is around. He doesn’t wonder why no one is talking to him, or why his wife seems to be ignoring him? He doesn’t go to a grocery store or run errands or have any need for any interaction for the entire length of the movie?

Actors: Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, M. Night Shyamalan, + more

Released: 1999

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

The Big Bang?

Photo: Django Unchained/The Weinstein Company/Columbia Pictures

Film: Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s epic Western that won Christoph Waltz an Oscar for best supporting actor. Despite the reception of the movie, there seems to be a bit of an error when dealing with the timeline. And while the director is known to get loosey-goosey with history (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Inglorious Basterds), this seems more like a straightforward error:

The movie is set in 1858, but dynamite wasn’t invented until 1867. Since dynamite is a necessity for the final act, it seems this should have been researched a bit more.

Actors: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, + more

Released: 2012

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Why Does Buzz Freeze?

Photo: Toy Story/Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Film: Toy Story

In 1995, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story was nominated for best writing, best song for Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” and best score. But despite all the accolades, there is still one glaring issue with the story and it has to do with Buzz Lightyear.

In Toy Story, it is made clear that the toys will freeze if there is a person around who can witness their actions. It is a rule of toydom. However, since Buzz does not believe he is a toy, why does he abide by these rules?  Do space rangers have similar rules?

Actors: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, + more

Released: 1995

Directed by: John Lasseter

Not Really the Future

Photo: Minority Report

FilmMinority Report

The entire premise of Steven Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-nominated film can be totally ripped apart. Pre-cogs are supposed to be able to predict the future in order to stop a crime before it happens. But if they are stopping a crime before it happens, how is the crime being committed the future?

Actors: Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow, Paul Wesley, + more

Released: 2002

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Pulp Fiction: What’s In The Case?

Photo: Pulp Ficition
Film: Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1995, with Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary taking home the Oscar for Best Writing, even though there is a pretty massive plot hole in the film.

Hitmen Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) risk their lives in order to retrieve a briefcase for their boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames.) What’s in the case? We never find out. We just know that when it’s opened, a golden glow emits from inside. The Internet is filled with possible theories of what the case contains but Tarantino will never tell. However, the prop is most likely a MacGuffin – a narrative device to get the plot of a film moving forward despite having nothing to do with the actual story.

Actors: John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, + more

Released: 1994

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Did Aladdin Lose His Title?

Photo: Aladdin/Buena Vista Pictures

Film: Aladdin

Aladdin is a timeless animated effort from Disney that won Oscars for both score and song (“A Whole New World”), but there is a still a nagging issue with the story.

At the end of the film, before the Genie is set free, he asks Aladdin if he would like to become a prince again. Again? Did he lose his title? How did his wish become undone? Jafar’s three wishes were to be made Sultan, made a wizard, and made a genie, and since Aladdin’s other wishes were not erased, one has to assume he is still a prince. Right? Apparently not, as the Sultan decides to change the law so Jasmine can marry whomever she wishes.

Actors: Robin Williams, Scott Weinger, Frank Welker, Linda Larkin, Gilbert Gottfried, + more

Released: 1994

Directed by: Ron Clements and John Musker

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