Oscar Snubs: Twenty Movies And Performances That The Academy Forgot
After months of award season primping and preening, the Academy Award nominations were finally released Tuesday. Critical darlings like La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight raked in the nominations (deservedly, in all three cases!), but there were plenty of amazing films and performances that were overlooked in the process. We've decided to hand out our own fake Oscars to try to balance the scales.
Best Movie Everyone Seemed To Forget About: Everybody Wants Some!!
No film left me in a better mood after I walked out of the theater than Richard Linklater's latest movie, a decidedly low-key spiritual sequel to his masterpiece, Dazed & Confused. I'd be hard-pressed to name a more likable group of nonthreatening bozos to spend a few hours with.
Best Scene In Another Movie Everyone Seemed To Forget About: Hail Caesar
What if a movie was created by taking all the best small moments in other Coen Brothers films and jamming them together into an oddly-moving story about the satisfaction of a hard day's work in Hollywood (that maybe is a lot more about the Coen Brothers' own approach to their artistry than anything else)? I'm not yet ready to call this one a Coens classic (lord knows they have about ten of them), but it is a film filled with indelible, hilarious, and unforgettable scenes, the best of which is the "would that it were" one with Ralph Fiennes and Alden Ehrenreich, still the funniest thing I've seen in 2017. (Bonus points for Channing Tatum's big number, "No Dames!")
Most Overlooked Performance By A Mustache Or Facial Hair: Aaron Eckhart, Sully
The movie itself was just fine, but everybody loved Eckhart's wooly, oversized 'stache for a reason.
Best Musical Of The Year Not Featuring Emma Stone: Sing Street
It's understandable that La La Land got a nomination for best song, but two?! And has anyone ever heard that Sting song that was nominated? Those two slots could have gone to the likes of the aforementioned "No Dames!", or "I'm So Humble" from Popstar, or even better, any of the tunes from the unfairly overlooked Sing Street.
As my colleague Nell Casey put it, "For a film that's supposed to be about the triumph of the endurance of the creative spirit, La La Land's songs made me feel like I was trying to walk underwater through pools of human tears. By comparison, the jubilant love song "Up" and the raucous call to action "Drive It Like You Stole It" from Sing Street were both the kinds of songs that make you want to leap out of your chair and DO SOMETHING, dammit"
Most Likely To Become A Cult Classic: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
I don't know if I would call it the best mockumentary since Spinal Tap (not when we live in a world in which Best In Show exists), but it is the one movie from 2017 that I think will fit into the Walk Hard category in the future—wholly overlooked in its time, endlessly re-watchable, and eventually, a cult classic.
Most Relevant Movie To 2017: Green Room
I'm generally not a fan of horror movies, but this gory film about what happens when a punk rock band mistakenly gets caught up in some neo-Nazi shenanigans was the most tense and thrilling film I saw this year. Patrick Stewart is a terrifying villain without raising his voice, it has the best last line of any movie in 2016, and the overall moral of the story ("Nazi punks fuck off") is one worth living by.
Most Convincing Argument That Oscar Voters Don't See Every Movie: Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
One of the major snubs of the toughest category (Best Actress) in this year's Oscars, Bening put in one of her greatest performances as the matriarch in Mike Mills' lovely film. My only conclusion is that Oscar voters didn't have time to see the film.
Best Ryan Gosling Performance Of The Year: The Nice Guys
I actually enjoyed La La Land more than a lot of contrarians, but Gosling's best performance came earlier this year in Shane Black's blackhearted detective story. Gosling played a bumbling, buffoonish, alcoholic single dad whose screeches and yelps could drive a dog insane. He completely undercuts his too-cool-for-school persona in the best way possible.
Most Unhinged Performance In A Best Picture Nominee: Ben Foster, Hell Or High Water
Jeff Bridges deservedly got a nomination for his understated performance, but Ben Foster, the jittery heart of the film, deserves some sort of recognition.
Best Acting By An Inanimate Object
I don't want to get into too many details, lest I spoil one of the most devastating parts of an emotionally-draining film, but suffice to say, the gurney in Manchester By The Sea steals this category and then some. You'll know it when you see it.
Most Convincing Mean Person: Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship
Beckinsale seems to produce her best work with director Whit Stillman (give or take the classic Serendipity), and her performance as the conniving Lady Susan in this period piece was right up there. "Facts are such horrid things" could be the slogan of 2016, as well.
What The Hell Were The Oscar People Thinking Snub Of The Year: Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures
Another of the snubs in that ultra-competitive Best Actress category. Octavia Spencer was able to squeak out a Best Supporting Actress nomination, but the ferocious Henson deserved a nod. If her not campaigning for the film is what cost her, that just speaks to the arcane Academy system.
Most Eclectic Accent In A Comic Book Movie: Benedict Cumberbatch, Dr. Strange
This film, as with almost every Marvel movie, was just about as great as a comic book movie can be these days (this sounds like damning with faint praise, but I mean that very sincerely as someone who can't stand the DC universe movies and thinks Fox have totally dropped the ball on their X-Men ones). Cumberbatch fit the role as the arrogant, cynical and funny Stephen Strange well, but his (ostensibly) American accent was all over the place, adding a layer of linguistic mysticism that I still can't wrap my head around. Did he really lapse into a southern accent in the final confrontation with Dormammu...and was it purposeful?!?
Best Performance By Ryan Reynolds In A Passion Project Aimed At 13-Year-Old Boys: Deadpool, Deadpool
Good for you Ryan Reynolds. You certainly deserve the Oscar Season Participation Trophy For Most Enthusiastic Campaigner.
Best Angry Pizza Eating: Huma Abedin, Weiner
The directors of this documentary (Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg) stumbled into some fortuitous luck when Anthony Weiner's mayoral comeback attempt ended up sexting itself into oblivion (and ending any chance of a political resurgence for Weiner). But the best moments in the film belong to the quietly-suffering Abedin, Weiner' loyal and private wife (and Hillary Clinton's right hand woman)—hell hath no fury like a scorned woman angrily eating pizza.
Best Dancing To A Rolling Stones Song: Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash
Another luminary who makes everything he's in better by just being himself. Fiennes even was able to steal this movie from the great Tilda Swinton. That should tell you everything you need to know.
Best Movie That Got Overlooked Because The Director Released Two Amazing Films This Year: Midnight Special
Ruth Negga scored a deserved Best Actress nomination for Loving, director Jeff Nichols' second movie of the year. But his first one, the overlooked Midnight Special, was the Steven Spielberg movie Spielberg won't make anymore, a propulsive story about protective fathers on the run from the government, anchored by one of those great Michael Shannon performances (see below).
Amy Adams Award For Actor Who Deserves An Oscar Nomination For Almost Every Role She Has Been In: Amy Adams
Amy Adams almost single-handedly carried Best Picture nominee Arrival, the simple-but-effective story of how aliens traveled to Earth to meet Amy Adams. She was equally cool and enchanting in Nocturnal Animals, and she was the...least bad part of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and that movie was complete garbage. She deserves an extra nomination just for that!
Michael Shannon Award For Actor Who Is Consistently Good In Everything He Is In: Michael Shannon, Everything
Did you know that Shannon was in 10 movies made or released in 2016? Did you know that one of them was directed by Werner Herzog? Have you even heard of Poor Boy? I've seen maybe five of them, and I already know that he was the best part of every single one, because that is what he does for a living. I do recommend checking out Elvis & Nixon, which is a passable film with one of the all-time great Shannon performances.
Best Performance By An Evil Goat: Black Phillip, The Witch
This movie was on the festival circuit in 2015 but didn't get a wide release until 2016. I still find myself asking random strangers whether they want to live deliciously.