Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2012

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 2012

Arbitrage was Richard Gere’s return to prominence, an involving thriller that stemmed from a subtle financial crime premise and evolved into much more. The film was named one of the National Board of Review’s top ten independent films and earned Gere a Golden Globe nod, but nothing more materialized save for a promising career for debut feature director Nicholas Jarecki.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the definition of a crowd-pleaser, a jovial story about retirees traveling to India helmed by “Shakespeare in Love” director John Madden and starring Oscar winners Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The two actresses each netted one major awards bid and the film managed a Golden Globe Best Picture nod and a SAG ensemble mention, but that’s as far as it went for this entertaining light fare.

Compliance was probably too small a film ever to merit Oscar consideration in the top category, but supporting actress Ann Dowd was a major contender for a nomination for her portrayal of an all-too-subservient fast food restaurant manager. Its chilling plot and gritty performances were definitely strong, and I’m sure this well-made independent film ended up on more than a few voters’ ballots.

The Dark Knight Rises exemplified why the Oscar Best Picture race was expanded and should have gotten the nod that its predecessor didn’t receive. The tragic shooting at a midnight screening all but negated its chances since voters were hardly eager to endorse a film – my pick for the best of Christopher Nolan’s three Batman movies – that inspired such horrific true-life violence.

Rust and Bone was a French film that did pretty well with the awards circuit, earning Golden Globe nominations for Best Foreign Film and Best Actress for star Marion Cotillard, who won an Oscar for “La Vie en Rose” five years earlier. Not being selected as France’s Oscar submission meant it could have done well in other categories, but ultimately even Cotillard couldn’t manage a nomination for a well-reviewed film that just ended up getting ignored.

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

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