Every year, controversy over the Oscars ensues. How did Chadwick Boseman not win after the ceremony was shaped around him? No best score win for Nicholas Britell? Green Book won best what now? These little debates will surely continue, but there are also films that get zero Oscar plaudits. Sure, they may garner a BAFTA or Independent Spirit Award win, but when it comes to the big one, they are completely snubbed.
Despite their quality, and there was certainly quality this year, these films received no Oscar nominations. And even with their buzz and critical acclaim, on Oscar night these films will somehow come up empty-handed.
This film was all about one person: Jennifer Hudson. The woman hand-picked by the Queen of Soul herself, Hudson was the only person this film could have picked to play Aretha Franklin. And she gives a dynamite performance, even if the film itself fell a little flat.
This movie is a classic biopic, so it has to be structured around its star. Hudson shows again why she is one of the biggest stars out there and why she was made for this part. Even though the film itself is static and conventional, documenting her rise from her from a child in her father’s church to being one of the most famous singers of all time, the story is made more believable and elevated because of Hudson’s incredible performance from her.
Mike Mills‘first feature since 20th Century Women and joaquin phoenixit’s since joker, these two are the perfect combination for a quiet meditation on life itself. The story revolves around Phoenix’s Johnny, a radio journalist tasked with taking care of his sister’s from him (Gaby Hoffman) are Jesse, Woody Norman, to show him what life outside of Los Angeles looks like.
Just by watching the trailer, you can tell that this film is going to be a tear-jerker. Phoenix is so good at capturing those raw emotions, which is why he is one of the most sought after actors working today. Especially because the Academy has always loved Mike Mills movies and especially the performances within them, it is surprising that Phoenix didn’t walk away with at least a nomination here.
Can a movie really be made about a Twitter thread? The apparent answer is yes, yes it can. In Janice Bravo‘s wild ride, a stripper named Zola heads to Florida in a road trip movie you have to see to believe. This movie perfectly encapsulates not only The Sunshine State but America itself: it can be scary, it can be chaotic, but at times it can be beautiful to watch.
Bravo and Jeremy O Harris‘s screenplay is both fierce and funny, as is taylor paige‘s turn at the titular Zola. This film did relatively well at the Independent Spirit Awards, but the Academy was clearly not interested in something that didn’t feel like a “normal” Oscars film.
Speaking of electrifying, Nicolas Cage‘s turn in Pig was one of the most welcome sights this year. Showing off his acting chops to the fullest, Cage grounds his character from him Rob and shows us all that he is still capable of greatness. A simple-at-first-sight film about a man searching for his truffle pig, Cage shows the distances we will go when desperation kicks in.
Cage’s complex performance and pure torment over losing his source of income speak to how powerful this actor can still be. Regarded sometimes as a caricature of himself, Cage can silence all those haters with this performance, one that screams “Remember me?”
rebecca hall‘s directorial debut, passing didn’t have as much impact as it originally intended. A story about two long-lost friends (Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga) and their unexpected reunion is a fascinating character study. In its quiet moments, their relationship’s ambiguity shines strongest and the film captures their own worlds beautifully.
The strongest case for a nomination here has to go to Negga, who quietly delivers a tour-de-force performance as Clare, a woman trying to pass as white and married to a white man, John (Alexander Skarsgard) completely unaware of her truth . Negga is always brilliant, but here she is exceptional, making the audience confused about how to feel as she navigates a world that should be unfamiliar to her but is slowly becoming her accepted reality.
The response to Sean Baker‘s Red Rocket is eerily similar to that of the incredible The Florida Project. With critical acclaim but little to show for it, Baker deserves recognition for finding the beauty in the banal. Using a few professionals and then placing them with non-actors, Baker creates worlds that are so believable that most of the performances are Oscar-worthy.
However, this is especially true this year with the star-turn of Simon Rex. Like his character, he is a former adult entertainer whose career was spiraling towards the bottom. Rex’s electrifying performance was probably not picked due to the fact that his character, Mikey, is extremely unlikeable and, at times, queasy. Oscar voters usually go for a complex character but not one that you feel disgusted over as the film goes on. Still, Rex deserved more from this performance, as does Baker, who is yet to get a nomination himself.
The Green Knight
This remarkable film is one of David Lowery‘s finest (bar the incredible A Ghost Story). A fantasy retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an Arthurian legend, this film is packed with magical moments and performances. Dev Patel stars as Gawain, a knight trying to find his purpose and cement any sort of legacy. By challenging the elusive Green Knight, a fantastical beast that looks more tree than man, Gawain does just that. But at what cost?
By building one of the most incredible worlds you will see on film, Lowery cements his place as a must-see director, while Patel delivers a performance both powerful and vulnerable. Both of these artists were certainly snubbed, and daniel hart for his score, which captures the beauty and terror of this world that has been laid out before us.
Quiet and devastating, celine sciamma‘s follow-up to the brilliant Portrait of a Lady on Fire was not even chosen by France to be their represented film for this year’s Oscar (that went to Titan). A beautiful short story about a child, her family de ella, and how loss can affect you, all with a magical realist twist, Petite Maman packed in a great deal of emotion for 72 minutes.
Although eligible, this film did not receive the hype like other films, especially because it hasn’t even been released in the United States yet. However, josephine and Gabrielle Sanz‘s magnetic performances as well as Sciamma’s always strong direction and writing deserved more credit than it got.
Remember the names emma seligman and Rachel Sennottbecause the two stars of shiva baby (the former being the writer/director and the latter being the lead actor) are two to look out for in the future. Fresh off the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirits, this film follows Danielle as she is forced to navigate two worlds and relationships in the worst possible setting: a shiva. With wry writ and sharp direction, this film is both hilarious and, at times, genuinely thrilling as Danielle must react to her worlds crumbling around her.
With a film such as this, one that had such a small budget and relative unknowns, it is almost understandable that the Oscar voters forgot about such a film. However, Sennott’s anxiety-ridden performance and Seligman’s sharp writing and direction should have garnered at least one nomination between the two of them.
The French Dispatch
One of the best films of the year, The French Dispatch was wes anderson at his finest. This film was in reality three shorts, threaded together through Bill Murray‘s soon-to-be-defunct newspaper. A love letter to journalists and the work they put in, The French Dispatch has every aspect that makes an Anderson film shine: beautiful production, witty writing, unique performances, and symmetrical directing.
With a star-studded cast and exceptional production design, score, and costumes, not to mention a genuinely original script, it is a shock that this film was not nominated for anything at this year’s Oscars. Especially when you see how Oscar voters usually love Anderson’s work, they will surely look back dumbfounded when they realize that this film has been overlooked.
NEXT:11 Great Directors Who Have Never Received An Oscar Nomination
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