Oscar Snubs 2013: Best Films That Received Zero Nominations


Due to short-sightedness, the Oscars are fallible when it comes to selecting certain films that will eventually prove longevity. Some of their nominees will be forgotten a year later (“Les Miserables,” anyone?), but here I supply a list of films that had ZERO nominations and what they should have been nominated for:

Take This Waltz – The most powerful film of the year was a chick flick?! I had this named #2 on my year’s ten best list. If I were writer-director Sarah Polley, I would be devastated that I wasn’t nominated for anything. I mean, she has to be aware that she’s done something special, right? Of course, this is a grown-up chick flick with brains, and although the marital infidelity picture has been done to death, this one is fresh, perceptive and superior in its emotionally honesty – it has more to do with the paralyzing conscience one has of even occupying thoughts of wanting to cheat. Nominations should have included Best Picture, Best Director Sarah Polley, Best Actress Michelle Williams, Best Original Screenplay by Polley, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score.

Polisse (France) – Accomplishes everything that the American “End of Watch” couldn’t get done right. This Child Protection Unit of the police department is out to rescue young victims from unsafe homes. Writer-director Maiwenn spent several months interviewing and dining real police officers as well as going on ride-alongs. The pay-off is a rich, always lively film that has us concerned with a dozen cases at once. Recognizable people, not the clichéd thugs that populate “Watch.” Best Picture, Best Foreign Film, Best Director Maiwenn, Best Original Screenplay by Maiwenn, Best Film Editing.

Bernie – I never thought it was going to kill it at awards time because of voters’ short attention spans since the film opened in April, but I really thought Jack Black was at least going to be nominated as Texas funeral director Bernie Tiede, the nicest guy ever to commit murder. Richard Linklater, the movie industry’s most undervalued director, deserves kudos for peppering his film with interviews of real town gossips who knew Bernie. Best Picture, Best Director Richard Linklater, Best Actor Jack Black, Best Supporting Actress Shirley MacClaine, Best Original Screenplay by Skip Hollandsworth and Linklater.

Samsara – One of the most visually marvelous documentaries you will ever see. Ron Fricke is a hero of mine, five years he spent shooting in 25 countries, capturing exotic life around the world – the progress, the over-progress and the indigenous. Shot in 70mm, it’s just simply breathtaking. No documentary has ever been nominated for cinematography before, but it’s about time the Academy starts entertaining such gestures for the future. Best Picture, Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score.

Rampart – Of course it wasn’t nominated for anything, it was ineligible. To explain, it was eligible for the 2012 Oscars when it was released, in like, four theaters the last weekend of December 2011 before it was pulled. Then PR decided, after mucking it up, they’d put their marketing work onto something else. The movie was released in a hundred-plus theaters two months later in February, Oscar talk post-mortem. Didn’t matter if Woody Harrelson’s performance is one of the greatest ever put on screen (OK. For a measuring stick, I’ll say it’s one of the 30 or 40 best ever). This isn’t another movie of sociopathic evil. It’s real, this is how it is sociopathic evil. With Harrelson as dirty cop Dave Brown. Best Picture, Best Actor Woody Harrelson, Best Original Screenplay by James Ellroy and Oren Moverman.

The Dark Knight Rises – The inadequate script is the mass-collective gripe. But this isn’t just another ordinary movie, or blockbuster. This is another Christopher Nolan directing job and he doesn’t make mere movies. He makes symphonies. Anyway, the movie has a prescient credibility: this is how a distressed big city will cave in when politics and public utilities get overthrown one day. I’m not insensitive: There’s a reason why nobody would, or could, vote for this. The Aurora, CO tragedy cast too big a spell. There will be a time again when TDKR will be judged on its own isolated merits. Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing.

Arbitrage – A thinking man’s thriller, which at this point means only adults of a certain age will feel the thrills and anxiety. Because somebody doesn’t die by the hand of a gun every ten minutes it might mean “so what” to an average 12-year old viewer. Instead, with Richard Gere in what is perhaps the performance of his career, it’s about a multi-billionaire hedge fund manager covering up a crime of passion as well as a crime of fraud. The guilt is overwhelming, but Gere juggles multiple lies at once. Something men and women of a certain age might comprehend as scary. Best Actor Richard Gere, Best Supporting Actress Susan Sarandon, Best Original Screenplay Nicholas Jarecki.

Magic Mike – Director Steven Soderbergh is always good with his actors (he even lets rising star Channing Tatum improvise his own script), but never has Matthew McConaughey been as entertaining as he is here as the boss of a male strip club. He’s not simply a man of prowess and stage charisma, he’s eerily in charge of his underlings as if he were a pimp. He’s money-smart, savvy, hip – all of that. And he knows how to control others, men and women, and twist their vulnerabilities. He’s a charismatic exploiter. And yes, the strip scenes are stunningly choreographed. Best Supporting Actor Matthew McConaughey, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing.

By the way, my favorite technical category is Best Cinematography. Always has been. Great camerawork and visual dazzle can allow you to see something special and new in ways that haven’t mustered before. If I was in charge of the entire category, I would have substituted some of them and definitely nominated “Samsara” and “The Master.”


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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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    rudolfmenon says,


    Thanks to you i am now aware of Samsara. Its going to rock in HD.


    on March 18, 2013


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