Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Forgotten Five of 2014

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 2014 Oscar season wrapped, it’s time to take a look back at the past year.

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 2014

Big Eyes earned a Best Actress trophy for Amy Adams and seemed like a potential contender for Best Original Song, at the very least. Three of director Tim Burton’s previous four films earned Oscar nominations in a few categories, and this, which may well be his most normal film to date, had a shot at being recognized before it landed with decidedly little fanfare.

Fury had the makings of an Oscar movie with an epic war story and Brad Pitt in the lead role. Pitt appeared in and produced the 2013 Best Picture Winner, “12 Years a Slave” and starred in five Best Picture nominees in the past decade, including another World War II-set blockbuster, “Inglourious Basterds.” Something about this particular story didn’t land with voters, and it got shut out.

The Homesman didn’t enthrall me at all, but it seemed like it was a dark horse Oscar contender headed straight for a few major upsets. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and Tommy Lee Jones’ second time behind the camera didn’t give Hilary Swank her third chance to win an Oscar for a truly miserable role.

A Most Violent Year was one of my favorite films of the year, and was doomed to be ignored like “Children of Men” due to its incredibly late release date. An NBR win for Best Picture was the only major spot this film peaked, and only supporting actress Jessica Chastain seemed set for an Oscar nod after Oscar Isaac and the film’s cinematography, screenplay, direction, and music were ignored repeatedly. In the end, this film didn’t score a single nomination.

Snowpiercer was a stretch from the start, but strong reviews and an impressive precursor presence suggested that the film’s technical elements and supporting actress Tilda Swinton might break into the race, and the film could even pull off a place on the top list if it had enough support. Apparently, this had to settle for being a cult film and couldn’t achieve widespread recognition from the Oscar voting body.

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

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