In recent years, critically acclaimed films like Shame and Blue is the Warmest Color had their dreams of Oscars glory shot down due to their racy rating.
The real difference between an R-rated and an NC-17 rated film? Sex. In fact, the term “NC-17” was first created in 1990 as an artistic alternative to the X rating, long associated with pornography. So, if a movie has a drawn-out intercourse scene or shows full nudity, the MPAA will brand it with the NC-17 — usually condemning the film to box office suicide.
Here's a history of the three movies in all of Oscars history that have scored noms despite their X ratings — and the one movie whose Oscar dreams were almost dashed by the MPAA.