The Academy has a weird history when it comes to nominations altogether. Awful snubs at times and sometimes unexpected surprises but one thing is certain that the academy will never recognize all the films.
In years past, “Uncut Gems,” “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” and “The Farewell” were all locked out of the Oscars conversation. Now that the Best Picture race has tightened around “Belfast,” “Coda,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley,” “The Power of the Dog,” and “West Side Story,” we can’t help but look back at other films that deserved to be recognized at the movies’ big night.
So ahead of the 94th Academy Awards to be held on 27th March, we have selected a bunch of films that were entirely ignored by the Academy.
The Last Duel
Neither of Ridley Scott’s Oscar hopefuls this year fared well on Oscars morning — “House of Gucci” settled for a Makeup and Hairstyling nod, while his medieval “Rashomon”-like epic “The Last Duel” scored nada. There was a fervid fanbase for Jodie Comer as the center of a battle between toxic men — played by Adam Driver and Matt Damon — but it wasn’t enough to slay the day. Intellectual clarity isn’t something that is Hollywood’s forte neither is the Academy willing to change that narrative.
Writer-director Julia Ducournau was stunned at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival with Palme d’Or winner “Titane,” about a woman (Agathe Rousselle) whose attraction to metal cars leads to a horrific adventure. Despite the film’s critical buzz and Ducournau’s BAFTA nomination, “Titane” couldn’t speed past the finish line to wow Academy members after becoming the official submission for France. Academy will forever stick with its simplicity which the American public will be able to understand.
Nicolas Cage portrays a troubled truffle hunter who sets out to find his kidnapped pig. Writer-director Michael Sarnoski was recognized at the Directors’ Guild Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in First-Time Feature Film, plus “Pig” is nominated for Best Feature at the Gotham Awards. However, Cage’s quiet, solemn lead performance has not been given its fair due on the awards circuit. Give this man the recognition for what he has accomplished after a long time, I mean it’s outstanding that he still has got what it takes.
Meta psychological drama “Nine Days” centers on a reclusive man, played by Winston Duke, who conducts a series of interviews with human souls to determine who deserves to be born. Writer-director Edson Oda’s first feature landed a Film Independent Spirit Award, plus Sundance Film Festival’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Cast members Benedict Wong and Zazie Beetz have additionally been recognized for their turns in the mind-bending film. Huh, full of phony televangelists, what else do you expect of the Academy.
“Memoria” premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and was selected as the Colombian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. Tilda Swinton plays a Scottish expatriate now living in Colombia who starts hearing a mysterious sound that follows only her. “In his own precise, abstract manner, [filmmaker] Apichatpong [Weerasethakul] has made an ecological disaster movie about the danger involved in ignoring the natural state of things and the people who respect it,” IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote.
A grieving mother (Noomi Rapace) had a little “lamb” as a surrogate child in Valdimar Jóhannsson’s baffling directorial feature debut. The head-scratching film no doubt sparked a critical debate, with IndieWire’s Eric Kohn summarizing: “Even as his debut derives from recent ‘elevated horror’ efforts, it funnels them into a concept that eventually works on its own terms; it’s both a complex metaphor as well as one helluva sight gag. If the starting point is, ‘What the fuck is this?’ The answer is obvious: It’s ‘Lamb ‘.
The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” endearingly saluted the field of journalism through the ultimate aesthetically pleasing collection of vignettes. Set in a fictional French town, the fantastical “French Dispatch” stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray, among other A-listers in the ensemble cast. Come for the beloved actors, stay for the exquisite cinematography, and remember it as Anderson’s latest display of mastering the frame. Didn’t expect the academy to mess this one up at least.
Clifton Collins Jr. is Jackson Silva, an aging jockey who starts to question his life’s purpose while reflecting on his sports legacy. The film debuted at 2021 Sundance, with IndieWire’s Ryan Lattanzio applauding lead star and executive producer Collins’ emotive performance, calling the role a “deeply loved one, not only in terms of what appears to be the actor’s all-in plunge into what actually goes into horse-racing but also because of the sadness Jackson constantly seems to emanate.”
Written and directed by Mia Hansen-Løve, “Bergman Island” is as much an ode to the legacy of Ingmar Bergman as it is a screenshot of a failing marriage. Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth star as a married set of filmmakers who start to question their union amid temptations while on a working vacation. Knowing that Bergman was a director who inspired a generation of Hollywood filmmakers, this indeed deserves some form of attention but the Academy thinks otherwise.
The Tender Bar
George Clooney directs Ben Affleck in the adaptation of J.R. Moehringer’s memoir about a bar-owning uncle who becomes a father figure to a young boy. The 1970s-set family drama “paints an attractive, Spielbergian picture of all-American 1970s domestic clutter, combined with a Scorsese-ish vision of countless talkative relatives bustling between the kitchen and the dinner table, another snub which certainly wasn’t expected.