Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2008

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.

Each week, I’ll be working backwards one 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 2008:

Burn After Reading helmers Joel and Ethan Coen picked up directing trophies and the top prize for “No Country for Old Men.” While it was only their second Best Picture nomination (after 1996’s “Fargo”), their follow-up picture was likely going to make a stir. It earned a Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical nod at the Golden Globes and a WGA mention, but the Coens had to wait another year before returning with Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay nominations with “A Serious Man.”

Gran Torino burst right out of the gate with a National Board of Review win for Best Actor Clint Eastwood. It failed to pick up much traction after that, receiving a nomination for Best Song at the Golden Globes and not much else from precursors. Eastwood lost out on a slot in favor of never-nominated actor Richard Jenkins, and this film got jilted in favor of Clint’s other film, “Changeling,” which earned three nods, including Best Actress.

Mamma Mia, the adaptation of the Abba stage musical, wasn’t taken seriously by many, and for good reason. Still, it managed to earn Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical and the best thing it had going for it besides the music: Meryl Streep. Without any original songs and generally unfavorable reviews, it had to settle for a wildly impressive worldwide box office take.

Synecdoche, New York came from Oscar-winning scribe Charlie Kaufman, who had penned “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Adaptation,” and “Being John Malkovich,” three films which went over exceptionally well with Oscar voters, and was buzzworthy because it was his directorial debut. His solo effort may just have been too weird for people to come around to, and despite positive reception, it was overshadowed by other contenders.

It’s hard to pick a fifth film, but consider W, the bizarre comedy-drama that didn’t really know what it was. Oliver Stone directed three Best Picture nominees between 1986 and 1991 – “Platoon,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” and “JFK.” His attempt to adapt the current-at-the-time administration was just as controversial as ever, but most simply weren’t sure what to make of the not-quite parody that wasn’t as incising as expected.

Get started on 2007 and come back next Wednesday for a look at the Forgotten Five of that year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been searching everywhere for this! Thank God I found it on Yahoo.