Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2004

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 2004:

Fahrenheit 9/11 was submitted by Michael Moore for consideration in the Best Picture category instead of the Best Documentary one in an attempt to follow up on Moore’s win in the latter category in 2002 for “Bowling for Columbine.” The film and the stunt presumably pissed a number of people off and didn’t pan out, though I predicted the film to get in for Best Picture and Best Director.

Garden State was the directorial debut of “Scrubs” actor Zach Braff. Despite turning in a surprisingly mature performance and showcasing the wonderful Natalie Portman, the film didn’t win many awards other than honors for Braff’s debut. His take on life in New Jersey earned a WGA nod for its original screenplay, but didn’t cater to the older block of Oscar voters.

Kill Bill Volume 2 was the second part of Quentin Tarantino’s bloody revenge saga. Uma Thurman earned Golden Globe nominations for both parts, and Bill himself picked up a nod for this part (the late David Carradine). The first one didn’t earn any accolades, but it was possible that the second might earn the duo’s due. It’s likely that the strong amount of violence and excessive swordplay may have diminished its chances.

Mean Girls was a searing send-up of high school life featuring starlet Lindsay Lohan before her days of crazy partying. “Saturday Night Live” stalwart player Tina Fey adapted the screenplay and the film was a critical success. This precursor to “Gossip Girl” didn’t get much farther than a WGA nod for Fey’s script, demonstrating that Oscar voters aren’t known for their sense of humor.

The Notebook made teenage girls across the country swoon. Rising stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were certainly a major part of that, but the presence of veteran actors and past Oscar nominees James Garner, who earned a SAG Award nomination and Gena Rowlands seemed like it might propel the film to a spot on Oscar radar. This great love story just wasn’t destined to win awards.

Get started on 2003 and come back next Wednesday for a look at the Forgotten Five of that year!

No comments: