Sunday, 4 March 2018

Most Snubbed: 7 Movies I Thought Deserved Oscars (2018 Edition)

Well, this is turning out to be quite an interesting Oscars. There are so many nominations that are genuine surprises that it's hard to really say the Academy got much of it wrong. Firstly, there are the multiple nominations for 'Get Out'. Horror, almost never gets nominated, and a horror movie with a predominantly black cast, by a first time director, with liberal white people as the villains? This is like the time Eminem rapped "You think I give a damn about a Grammy" and then won a Grammy for it.

Still, no matter how much they got right, (like finally giving Guillermo Del Toro a best director nomination, and recognizing a female director in Greta Gerwig) they were a few things I thought they didn't get right. 7 to be exact.

At this point, it's pointless to expect a motion capture performance to be acknowledged by the Academy. The technology is mostly used in films that don't exactly scream 'Oscar-worthy'. That said, for the last decade, Andy Serkis has made it impossible to ignore his work with the character Caesar. He plays the role with such immense gravitas and that is no different than in 'War for the Planet of the Apes'.

For a final performance, it's perfect. 

'The Big Sick' is one of the best films to come out last year. It's been praised for being a story that needed to be told, and in such an endearing, and at times heartbreaking way. I don't think any of it works without the fantastic work of Zoe Kazan. Although this is the story of her co-star Kumail Nanjiani meeting his wife, Zoe Kazan is the one that makes you fall in love. She's charming when she needs to be and makes the movie's relationship feel familiar, for the good and the bad.

If you didn't fall in love with her you're inhuman. 

Look, I know, okay? I know. There were a lot of great performances this year. Plenty that went without nominations. I could've given this to Ray Romano for 'The Big Sick', Josh Gad for 'Marshall', or any of the stellar supporting cast in 'The Post'. Instead, I'm giving it to LilRel Howery, who had the hardest job of all in the most iconic film of 2017. He made a film about the harsh realities of racism, easier to understand with his very human and natural performance. Maybe it's his role inherently that does that, and there's not much to LilRel's performance. That's a valid argument. But my counter-argument is his pitch-perfect delivery, and expression when he declares he is TS-mothafuckin-A.

He handles shit. 

I like comic book movies as much as the next guy, but I'd hardly be the one to rally for their inclusion in the Academy Awards. I'm very content with leaving them as the spectacles they are. Still, I will champion a film that does its best to break the mold. No film, not even Nolan's 'The Dark Knight', came closer to that than 'Logan'. It's only fitting that the heart of that film, played by Dafne Keen, should be recognized. She gave us a character that was convincing in every strong emotion she was faced with. Add that to her age, and the fact that she spends most of the film completely silent, and you have a winner in my book.

Say different. I dare you.

Edgar Wright seemingly can do no wrong, yet he seems unable to be recognized for it. His movies are unlike any other, and that's true with 'Baby Driver' as well, which delivers some of the best-directed car sequences of the last decade. Beyond that, 'Baby Driver' is a film that has such an incredible use of a soundtrack, as Wright applies his hyper-visual directing style to match up with his well-curated list of songs. It's the most effective direction of music since 'Birdman'.

"You're welcome" - Edgar Wright (presumably)

If you weren't already aware, this list is not for the uninitiated. Here at, we tend to do off-kilter things, like suggest you should check 'Transformers: The Last Knight' out on cable, because why should we be the only ones to suffer? Well one movie that made up for some of the misery that was 2017, was 'The Lego Batman'. A film that took Batman, a character that's been a part of film history for decades and gave him his best treatment yet, all while knocking him down several pegs. It's a great script and finds a tremendous balance between references, humour, and genuinely moving character work. In a damn Lego movie.

I like to think of 2017 as the year that genre films came to play. Tired of being set aside as kids films, mindless action, and the bottom of the barrel. Logan, Get Out, The Shape of Water, The Big Sick, all these are genres that are thought not deserving of the lifetime praise that you earn when you get nominated for an Oscar. I can think of no greater achievement in that regard that 'Blade Runner 2049'. This was a movie that was entire, unapologetically, sci-fi. It was harsh, dark, and sublimely beautiful. I gushed about this film when it came out, and thought for sure that by now I'd be soured on it. Yet, it remains my favourite film of 2017. It's almost 3 hours long, but I could watch it again and again.

I expected this to be one of the worst of the year. How I love being wrong. 
I had a hard time building this list once again this year, which is a sign that the awards seem to be getting better at the selection. That makes this piece less fun to write, but it's better for the industry as a whole. Sure, I don't expect some of the surprising nominations to win. Gary Oldman will almost certainly win for Churchill despite recent allegations of abuse, and I don't see Jordan Peele taking away the Best Director Award. However, something about this year makes me feel like there's a turning of the tide. Maybe that's naive, but hey, a guy can dream.


Alison Irvine said...

I was with you up to the point of Lego Batman!😠 Agree with the rest though...pity popular and action seem to be the kiss of death for awards.