The Oscars are coming; the Oscars are coming! And just like every year, there are those few films that are overlooked by the Academy that make us scratch our heads. However, 2012 deserves a little bit of a pass, as it was one of the strongest years for film that I can remember.
Argo may be running away with the Oscar for Best Picture, especially with its DGA win on Saturday night, but the race is still a crapshoot as the voting results don’t have to be in until February 8th. Lincoln may rise up and surprise (or not surprise) by winning big. Underdog Silver Linings Playbook may surprise and score the upset, as might foreign film heavyweight Amour. Or what the hell, the Academy may vote Zero Dark Thirty as the winner in spite of the controversy it has generated and make a statement that Hollywood can make whatever films they want under the First Amendment. The point is, the possibilities are endless this year, and that’s awesome.
But there have still been films, some really good ones that were overlooked in many categories. Some are obvious, some more obscure, but all deserving. I will omit any films that received nominations in any of the major categories (actor/actress, picture, director, etc.) which unfortunately leaves out the very deserving and criminally overlooked The Sessions (Best Actress-Helen Hunt), The Master (Best Actor/Supporting Actor- Joaquin Phoenix/Phillip Seymour Hoffman), The Impossible (Best Actress-Naomi Watts), and Flight (Best Actor-Denzel Washington).
So let’s get started!
10. 10 Years
Nominations deserved: Best Original Song – “Never Had,” Best Original Screenplay
Chances are you have never seen, or even heard of this film until now. If you fall into this category…. watch it as soon as you can. It is not a masterpiece, or even a great film, but it is a solid little indie gem. It follows a group of high school buddies (Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Oscar Isaacs, Chris Pratt) as they attend the 10-year reunion of their high school graduating class.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, a wannabe American Reunion even, but it is not and it deserves some recognition for it. It could have easily gone down the same road as American Reunion with grown men behaving badly, gross-out gags, and thirty-year-olds partying with girls half their age, which is not a bad thing being that American Reunion had some financial success; but 10 Years opts to go the more mature route. It really focuses on the characters and their relationships, taking the time out to allow us (the audience) to get to know these characters and really make a connection and an emotional investment in them. Because 10 Years really grounds itself in the characters and the (not so good) choices of their youth and the consequences of said choices, it lends a sense of realism to the film that the talented cast and filmmaker really capture.
To prevent any spoilers, “Never Had” reveals a pretty big plot point, so I won’t explain what the song means, but it is an earnest, sweet, and delightful song that can be heard on top-40 radio stations around the world and deserved a nomination. It was actually written and performed by an actor that’s in the film, strictly for the film and his character (if you watch the film, you’ll understand why). The script never losing sight of where the story is grounded and refusing to fall into pitfalls of the genre deserves some recognition for that.
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