Wind River

Weekend Roundtable: 2018 Oscar Snubs

Oscar season finally ends this Sunday. As the Hollywood elite declare which movies they think were the best of 2017, let’s look at a few the Oscars ignored this year.

Luke Hickman

I loved five movies in 2017 that were completely ignored by the Academy.

A Ghost Story‘ – I haven’t loved any of director David Lowery’s other films, but I’m absolutely obsessed with the simplicity and beauty of ‘A Ghost Story’. In terms of awards, I believe it should have been nominated in as many categories at was eligible. Lowery wrote and directed an indie masterpiece. Rooney Mara delivered an excellent supporting performance as a loving wife and grief-stricken widow. The cinematography, sound and scoring make the film absolutely delightful and riveting. I couldn’t be prouder of my fellow critics in the Utah Film Critics Association who saw it for what it was and gave it top honors as the best film of 2017. Part of me can’t help but wonder if industry politics and leading actor Casey Affleck’s past kept it from being recognized.

Wind River‘ – When I caught Taylor Sheridan’s excellent thriller at its Sundance debut, I said, “Meet your first Best Picture nominee of 2017.” The cinematography, acting, writing and directing were top notch. But as the grimy reputation of producer Harvey Weinstein came to light last year, the film seemed to be swept beneath the rug. Along with it went any chance of awards talk. If you haven’t seen the Jeremy Renner/Elizabeth Olsen film, check it out.

mother!‘ – Darren Aronofsky’s movies tend to be an acquired taste. All too often, such films are overlooked because viewers can’t see beyond their own opinions. The awards season is when we celebrate the industry for breaking rules and accomplishing feats that have never been achieved. ‘mother!’ is one of the most creative, edgy and original films I’ve ever seen, so of course it was entirely overlooked.

Your Name‘ – There have only been a few occasions where I’ve felt that a movie deserved both Best Animated Feature and Best Picture nominations. ‘Your Name’. is one of them. If you haven’t seen the Japanese film, check it out ASAP.

Tatiana Maslany, ‘Stronger‘ – For years, Maslany was ignored by the Emmys for her unmatched performance as multiple characters in TV’s ‘Orphan Black’. This year, she was snubbed by the Academy for her brilliant performance in David Gordon Green’s ‘Stronger’. Not only did she make my nominees list, but she was my #1 pick for supporting actress.

Brian Hoss

Naturally, many of the movies I liked aren’t on the Academy’s radar and don’t have an Oscar campaign, but after writing down every 2017 movie I saw, and then running through the nominations, I’m left with ‘Wind River‘ as a snub among my personal favorites. There may be very obvious reason for that in terms of the “Weinstein Effect,” but setting that aside, when I consider that movies like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Baby Driver’ racked up multiple nominations, I’m still left with ‘Wind River’ as a large snub.

Shannon Nutt

For me, one of the best performances of 2017 was Patrick Stewart in ‘Logan‘. He took a character he’d been playing for years and gave him a graceful, moving exit… but not one that wasn’t full of suffering and regret. Come to think of it, Michael Keaton was pretty darn good in another superhero movie that came out last year too. It’s a shame that the Academy has a history of being dismissive to the genre (Heath Ledger’ s posthumous Oscar notwithstanding).

M. Enois Duarte

Hate it or love it, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘ comes with the most beautiful and occasionally visually mesmerizing photography of all the movies in the franchise. Several moments throughout the film’s 152-minute runtime could serve as a desktop background, a screensaver or could even be made into posters. My personal favorite is the jaw-dropping image of Luke facing a line of AT-ATs at sundown, but that’s just the director Rian Johnson and his long-time DP collaborator Steve Yedlin at their most creative. Yedlin’s cinematography is exceptional for the entire film, and I think the man deserves to be recognized with at least a nomination. ‘The Last Jedi’ has four nominations, all of which are arguably typical and perhaps even expected, but the Academy dropped the ball by not appreciating the beauty of the camerawork on display.

Josh Zyber

I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts that ‘The Florida Project‘ was the best film I saw last year. Although I’m pleased to see that Willem Dafoe received a very deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor (which he’s unlikely to win, sadly), I would’ve liked to see the movie also recognized in the Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress categories. Playing a well-meaning but irresponsible mother unfit for parenthood, Bria Vinaite was quite a find. As a non-professional actress, it’s questionable whether she’ll ever act again (and if she does, if she’ll ever find a role that suits her talents so well), but she’s heartbreaking in this movie without ever begging for easy sentiment.

Your Turn

What movies do you feel got snubbed by this year’s Oscars?


  1. Bolo

    Was it too obvious to mention James Franco? Or is that not the type of snub you’re looking for here?

    I’ll say that despite many nominations, including recognizing Lesley Manville for her acting work, I’m surprised nobody’s talking about Vicky Krieps in ‘Phantom Thread’. She held her own against Daniel Day Lewis and seems like the type of starlet the industry would be grooming to be the next Alicia Vikander.

    Although not a surprise, it’s a pity Andy Serkis doesn’t get recognition for his excellent work. I’m assuming this is the final time he will be playing Caesar in the ‘Planet of the Apes’ series, and I would argue that the films working hinged entirely on his performance and the top notch effects to render him convincingly into ape form. Strangely, people seem to dismiss mocap performances as just “effects” and not acting, whereas I think they might actually be more challenging for the actor.

  2. The Lost City of Z was robbed in every possible category. ROBBED, I TELLS YA! It was such a grand and beautifully made production, with career best work from many of the performers and lots of emotion. Not to mention that breathtaking final shot.

    Also nice shout out to Your Name and Wind River, Hickamann: Great movies all around, with the former being my personal favorite from last year.

    • I feel like ‘The Lost City of Z’ was poorly received because was steeped in idealized vision of the white European explorer venturing out into the savage jungle. Yet, that is why it was so good, conveying what that European fantasy was. Reading up on the true stories (and lies) of the explorer on which this is based on (I don’t recall is name off hand) adds to the movie, by showing how (in contrast) how romanticized it all was at the time.

  3. William Henley

    Agree with Logan, not just in terms of Best Picture, but also Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress.

    There are a few other movies I might agree with (like Florida Project), but I haven’t seen them yet.

    • William Henley

      Finally started The Florida Project last night (i usually watch movies over a couple of viewings, as I find it difficult to find time to watch an entire movie at once). Interesting movie so far – not at all what I expected. It’s different, to say the least. This movie is either the most brilliant movie I have ever seen, or the worst example of a student film I have ever seen. I am honestly unsure how to react to it, as it is just so different from anything I have seen. I literally have conflicting emotion to it – on the one hand, I love it, on the other, I despise it. I do love the color pallet of the film, though, it is warm and vibrantly saturated, which contrasts greatly with the environment they are living in, yet it follows the personality of the children.

      It’s just a very interesting, and different, movie, and it is tough to decide what to make of it. Like there seems to be a story going on in the background, but you are only vaguely aware of it as you are watching it through the kid’s eyes, and they are the focal of the movie, just going around, hanging out, acting like kids. It’s an interesting take, and while I have seen movies told from a kid’s perspective before, I don’t think I have ever seen anything where the kids were so detached from the story. It’s just weird, but also completely brilliant.

  4. Total agreement on Your Name. Beautiful movie. Also agree that mother! should’ve landed Aronofsky in the best Director category. The complete chaos of that movie is insane. Can’t figure out what it is people love about Florida Project-Dafoe is great but the rest of the movie is a dud for me. Reminded me a lot of Larry Clark’s Kids, which I also thought was terrible.
    Dan Laustsen and Evan Schiff did great work on John Wick 2. Not sure who I would knock off for Cinematography (cough*Darkest Hour*cough) and Editing (ahem*Billboards).

  5. Bryan William Bloom

    Wind River was the best film of the year by far. The film is beautifully acted and photographed and the script could not have been better. There are scenes in the film where the dialogue is mesmerizing. The director has a deeply poetic understanding of nature and our place in it. This incredible film should have stood apart from politics but it didn’t. That is disgraceful.

  6. gene

    The Last Jedi deserved to be snubbed. I have no clue why anyone felt there was anything good in any category that relates to this disaster. You want fantastic photography in a sci fi/super hero flick, Wonder Woman fits the bill. It was visually stunning. I thought it was a bad year for movies and the awards should either be postponed or handed out on the radio like the old days. I for will not be watching for lack of interest on my part. I am sorry I did not see Wind River and thanks to all for stirring my interest. I will make sure I see it soon.

  7. Well, concidering that THE BOSS BABY was nominated for Best Animated Feature, I’d say that all these movies were snubbed:

    The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales
    Birdboy: The Forgotten Children
    Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie
    Cars 3
    Cinderella the Cat
    Despicable Me 3
    Ethel & Ernest
    The Girl without Hands
    In This Corner of the World
    The Lego Batman Movie
    The Lego Ninjago Movie
    Mary and the Witch’s Flower
    Moomins and the Winter Wonderland
    My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea
    Napping Princess
    A Silent Voice
    Smurfs: The Lost Village
    The Star
    Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale
    Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming

  8. James

    I’m bewildered that so many smart people love Taylor Sheridan’s (Wind River) writing and filmmaking so much. I thought both Hell or High Water and Wind River were full of contrived dialogue bucking so hard for Cormac McCarthy (and missing cringingly) that it almost seem like a spoof.

    I did like Sicario, but I’m almost afraid to go back and watch it again, afraid maybe I missed the same aftertaste in the dialogue.

    Definitely agree with Luke that A Ghost Story is the only great Lowerey, but that it really is great.

    I need to watch Florida Project soon.

    Gene, you thought Wonder Woman was visually stunning? I thought it was much more of a real world than most of the DCEU, but still pretty green-screeny.

  9. “(…) leading actor Casey Affleck’s past kept it from being recognized.” Probably not, because his past was well-known last year when he did win ‘Best Actor’ (cf. Brie Larson’s reaction).

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