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