Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2002

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 2002:

Antwone Fisher was the directorial debut for Denzel Washington, who won his second acting Oscar one year earlier for “Training Day.” It was a moving film based on a true story that garnered praise and nomination from the Black Reel Awards and the Image Awards, earning accolades mostly for lead actor Derek Luke, but no Oscar nods.

Igby Goes Down was a dysfunctional family dramedy similar to the previous year’s Oscar-nominated “The Royal Tenenbaums,” with a star-studded cast that included Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman. In addition to a special NBR award, it earned awards for Sarandon’s performance as well as star Kieran Culkin.

Punch-Drunk Love did the seemingly impossible and generated Oscar buzz for comedian Adam Sandler, who only ended up getting as far as a Golden Globe nomination. Director P.T. Anderson’s previous two films (“Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights”) earned multiple Oscar nods, and it would be his next (“There Will Be Blood”) that would finally be nommed for Best Picture.

Secretary, from yet another Steven whose last name ended in “berg” (this time Shainberg), was lauded at the Sundance Film Festival for its originality. It launched the career of future Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, but just as many people were liked turned off by its subject matter as those who loved it.

25th Hour was a powerhouse post-9/11 ensemble drama led by two-time Oscar nominee Edward Norton that mysteriously didn’t fare well with awards. Norton had a few other roles that year that may have divided voters’ attention, but more relevantly, director Spike Lee has never helmed a Best Picture nominee, despite earning a screenplay nod for “Do the Right Thing.”

Take a look at past editions of the Forgotten Five, and get ready for an all-new Oscar Retrospective series starting next Wednesday!

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