Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2011

Welcome to a returning weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. The Forgotten Five was 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. Since I started this feature back in 2010, I’ll now be filling in the past two years.

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.

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 2011

Coriolanus was the directorial debut for two-time Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes. Though Kenneth Branagh has successfully drawn Oscar nominations from Shakespeare adaptations, this modern-day take on a famous play with the original dialogue preserved didn’t earn any Oscar traction, despite buzz for Vanessa Redgrave’s mother.

Melancholia was a visually astounding apocalyptic tale from director Lars Von Trier, who previous films “Breaking the Waves” and “Dancer in the Dark” earned Oscar attention. His unconventional film may have turned some off, but not as much as the anti-Semitic remarks he made at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011, which likely dashed his chances altogether.

Martha Marcy May Marlene was highly buzzed-about in anticipation of its release, and Elizabeth Olsen seemed set for a Best Actress nomination after plenty of critics awards. The film faltered and got ignored, probably since the somewhat similar (and superior) “Winter’s Bone” had been released the year before and voters weren’t in the mood for another depressing and dark drama.

Shame probably intrigued as many people as it turned off with its NC-17 rating. Director Steve McQueen reteamed with actor Michael Fassbender after his first film, “Hunger,” to create a truly unique and compelling adult drama. Fassbender got a Golden Globe nomination, but that’s as far as this arthouse indie went.

Take Shelter gave Michael Shannon, who earned a surprising Best Supporting Actor nomination in 2008 for “Revolutionary Road,” an excellent showcase for his talents in a strong, well-made psychological thriller. The film may have peaked too early, released at the end of September, since it was completely forgotten by Oscar time.

Take a look at past editions of the Forgotten Five, and other Wednesday Oscar Retrospective series.

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