Sunday, 28 February 2016

Most Snubbed: 7 Movies I Thought Deserved Oscars

The Oscars are tonight, or last night, or last year. Whenever you're reading this, the Oscars happened. No matter what the outcome, it can't be denied that like every year, there are some things in it that just don't belong. This year however, I'm writing a post about it, because why am I gonna be studying when I could obsess over movies I have no stake in. To keep things simple, I'll put my picks for a just few of the categories because to be honest, I'm not really sure how to judge sound mixing. And I'm not sure I want to. Even though that year that Harry Potter lost to 'The Iron Lady' for best make up still stings.

This is not something I was expecting. In the last few years Johnny Depp had become a parody of himself who couldn't even be saved by his relationship with long time director/partner Tim Burton. He had played zany character after zany character, each more annoying than the last. Enter 'Black Mass' where Johnny Depp shows you just how good he can be, and becoming a character that's just as freaky, but in a way that disturbs, not delights.

Watch the movie and you'll understand why this picture still creeps me out. Original review here

Emily Blunt is a superstar. What I mean by that is, she's the kind of actor that immediately gives the film an air of credibility about it. She also has such versatility that she pretty much appeals to anyone for a myriad of roles. Her performance as Kate Macer, a character who was essentially Ethan Hawke in Training Day except under way worse conditions, was not only chilling for the more broader moments, but it had a subtlety to it that requires real acting chops. It's a wonder that she hasn't actually been nominated before this.

She really makes a good movie great. Original review here

It's difficult to actually pick one out of the group from 'Straight Outta Compton', simply because I'm not exactly sure how to discern a lead from a support in this ensemble cast. Because the narrative follows Corey Hawkins' Dr. Dre the most, I give this one to Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E as a supporting actor. The reason Mitchell gets the award over O'Shea Jackson Jr. who might as well have been young time travelling Ice Cube, is because Mitchell gave the most heart in his performance, as the script takes his character through the toughest moments in this raw, hard hitting biopic.

Jason Mitchell really stands out as Eazy-E. Easily. (Joke credit: Nicanor Charles Gordon) Original review here

The Rocky franchise is known for many things, but one thing that it couldn't have done without is the character of Adrian. Adrian was Rocky's rock and he couldn't be the champ without her. So it's a testament to Thompson's performance that the relationship between Bianca and Adonis far outweighs that of Rocky and Adrian. Tessa's character is well developed and has more than enough for her own narrative, but aside from that Tessa's performance is so immersive that she steals every scene she's in.

I don't care for spin offs, but a series about a hearing impaired musician from the mean streets of philly? I'd watch that in a heartbeat. Original review here

It's no secret that I'm an avid fan of 'The Walk'. I thought it was a once in a lifetime theatre experience when Philippe first steps out onto that wire between the twin towers. I of course, owe that moment to Robert Zemeckis, and his creative team who was able to utilise 3D technology in the most immersive fashion since Avatar. Not only is it a visual spectacle, but it's a script that is hopeful, inspirational, filled with whimsy, whilst still maintaining a sense of maturity about it. It is the most Spielberg movie to come out this year, and that's a year in which Spielberg got behind the camera.

The opening scene in 'Flight' is topped by the closing scene in 'The Walk'. Original review here

Full disclosure, you can switch out this category with the one immediately above it. Since both McQuarrie and Zemeckis worked on the screenplay for their respective films it seems only fair to say their jobs were pretty similar. 'Rogue Nation' deserves the mention however, because just as 'The Walk' had that one once in a lifetime moment, this movie had several that were very close to that point. You can easily pick any out, but the opera house scene will forever remain in my memory, as an extremely inventive scene, that took an immense amount of precise skill to pull off.

The development of this shot alone is simply mesmerizing. Original review here 

Okay so this is a bit of a cheat considering that Fury Road is actually nominated for best picture, but I didn't say the Academy was completely wrong. Just mostly. It seems there are some things so good that not even the group that rejected 'Straight Outta Compton' could deny. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' is in fact one of those things. It's a movie I've watched several times since it's release and one that I think I will find myself regularly revisiting. It speaks to the baser parts of me that enjoy Ultrons and Hulks but also the high brow parts that enjoy performances with little to no dialogue. It does things that seem obvious yet at the same time inventive. It is truly the best picture of 2015, a year that was so very competitive.

Looking at the picture makes you want to rewatch it doesn't it. Original review here

That competition of course meant this list was not an easy one to curate. There were a number of films I thought fit for different categories. I thought 'Straight Outta Compton' would've worked for any one of these categories, except those involving actresses, and my soft spot for 'The Walk' almost made me give it the best picture, the best director, and every award involving a behind the scenes creative decision. I thought 'Southpaw' was a film with some questionable story beats but with top notch acting and even 'Star Wars' deserved some academy love.

Then of course there were so many movies I didn't get to see, like 'Spotlight', 'The Hateful Eight', 'Concussion', 'Slow West'. Movies that may very well replace some of my picks on this list. What I'm saying is, I recognize the utility in the Academy Awards. Many times I've looked to the winners or nominees of years past as a barometer from which to make a quality selection. However, if consistently running this blog has taught me anything it's that, yeah it's good to have a place to go, to know what's worth your time, but sometimes a movie is so good and gets little to no praise by the Academy. A movie isn't bad because they didn't pick it, it just...wasn't asked to the dance. You never know, it might be the prettiest person who wasn't even at the ball.

Thanks for reading and if you want to hear the predictions for movies that were ACTUALLY nominated, you can listen to Take 4 talk about that here. Be sure to check us next Sunday as we recap the Oscar ceremony and see if we were even close to right.
Also, here's a podcast about the movies that the Oscars apparently is gonna be ignoring from now on:


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