Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2009

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. The Forgotten Five is the first in a series of projects looking back at the past eight years of the Oscars, dating back to the first ceremony I watched and closely followed.

Each year, a number of films are left off of Oscar’s Best Picture list. This year, even with ten nominees, films still didn’t make the cut. What I’m interested in looking at is the Forgotten Five – five films that probably came closest to getting nominated for Best Picture and ended up without a single nomination.

Yesterday’s nominations announcement makes it easy to start with 2009 and work backwards each week. The rules are that the film cannot have earned any Oscar nominations at all. These are the movies that came so close and had buzz but just couldn’t ultimately cut it. If you disagree with my choices or think I missed one, please leave a note in the comments. This is designed to be a fun look back at some of the movies that may have been great (or not) and just missed the mark.

The Forgotten Five of 2009:

500 Days of Summer delighted summer moviegoers with its whimsical and honest look at a relationship and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical. Many expected it to earn nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing in addition to the top award.

The Hangover was a big hit similar in the vein of films like “The 40-Year-Old Virign” and “Knocked Up,” both of which earned WGA nods before going on to be snubbed at the Oscars. But this film managed to get nominated for Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes – and win!

It’s Complicated was popular with older viewers and generally well-liked, and earned a surprise Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay. The biggest problem was bad timing – everyone else was focused on the other Meryl Streep movie and performance that came out in the same year, although that one didn’t do too well with Oscar voters either.

The Road never struck much of an awards chord but popped up frequently in predictions for its production values and Viggo Mortensen’s leading performance. Its weakness was the fact that it had been touted as an Oscar contender in the previous year’s Oscar race, and the long delays didn’t help win over viewers of this bleak film.

Where the Wild Things Are was enormously well-reviewed and seemed like it could break through back in October, but buzz quickly faded. By the time Oscar season kicked into high gear, Spike Jonze was but one of many great directors from the year, and the movie’s score was disqualified, leaving it empty-handed and stranded in its own fantasy world.

Get started on 2008 and come back next Wednesday for a look at the Forgotten Five of that year!

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