Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2013

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 ten years of the Oscars, dating back to the first ceremony I watched and closely followed. With the 2013 Oscar season wrapped, it’s time to take a look back at 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 2013

Blue is the Warmest Color had its detractors, those who ignored it outright because of its sexual content or criticized it because of the sexual content they did see in it. It did win a tremendous number of foreign film prizes, plus its Cannes trophy, and not being eligible for Best Foreign Film might have made it popular enough to break through in the top race. I was almost crazy enough to predict that it would be nominated, but Adèle Exarchupoulos not being recognized proved too damning.

The Butler was a major Oscar contender from the moment it was announced, and I still can’t quite comprehended why it fizzled. SAG voters loved it, Golden Globe voters shut it out, and Oscar voters sided with the latter. It may have been too schmaltzy and sentimental, despite the allure of giving the once-nominated Oprah an Oscar win.

Enough Said had some buzz thanks to a well-received turn from TV actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and an endearing final performance from another TV actor, the late James Gandolfini. Nicole Holofcener was all poised for her big Oscar breakthrough in the Best Original Screenplay race, but this film faded from memory and couldn’t muster any of its three likeliest nominations or one for the top prize.

Fruitvale Station was a smash hit at Sundance and should have been guaranteed gold at the Oscars thanks to its pickup by Weinstein. Something didn’t translate into awards seasons, however, and Michael B. Jordan found himself far from in the running for a Best Actor bid. The film might have had a shot if it had more precursor love, but unfortunately no one seemed ready to recognize this incredible film.

Rush was an epic sports movie from Ron Howard, who won an Oscar for helming “A Beautiful Mind” and helmed two other Best Picture nominees. Why this one didn’t catch is a mystery, though it seems that the film went over much better in Europe than it did in the United States. A Best Motion Picture – Drama nod from the Golden Globes and precursor nominations for Daniel Bruhl amounted to zero technical Oscar nominations and no other mentions of any kind.

Do you agree with these choices? What films do you think came closest before being ignored completely?

No comments: