Sometimes greatness in movies miss the boat with the Academy Awards. Or rather, those that vote. Be it a highly acclaimed documentary, an iconic Italian classic from the sixties, a much loved road movie, an accomplished actress seemingly stuck in the up-and-coming zone, or even a fuck you screenplay from a renowned fuck you writer. However you spin it, here are five more examples of how tastes are all so varied.
Documentary Feature — Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley) 2012 — Robin Write
Credit where credit is due, Sarah Polley stepped out of her acting shoes and threw herself into the director’s chair. With a couple of accomplished fiction features under her directorial belt, Polley turned wide-eyed to documentary with Stories We Tell, turning the camera directly on herself, or rather the deeply personal revelation that her and family encountered regarding her biological father. Not only is this an expertly well-made film, gripping and intriguing always, it also boasts the achievement of compelling its audience on such an emotive subject without Polley making it all about herself nor tugging at any heart strings. The story tells itself, and Polley turns every single page.
Foreign Language Film — La Dolce Vita 1960 — Steve Schweighofer
It must have been very encouraging when Fellini received his first Oscar nomination as Best Director for La Dolce Vita; after all, it was only his eighth film, hot on the heels of La Strada and Nights of Cabiria, both of which had already won the Foreign Language Film category. Knowing that, was Italy simply being generous to other international filmmakers, preventing Fellini from completely dominating the category by selecting another film for submission that year instead? Sarcasm aside, whatever the political or business reasoning was behind these decisions, what we are left with is yet another milestone film left out of the race and a great black hole swirling over the list of Foreign Language Film nominees. That La Dolce Vita was a work superior to all entries in both the Foreign Language Film and Best Picture categories that year, it leaves one just a tad dumbstruck when we look back on it.
Picture — Thelma & Louise 1991 — Robin Write
Director Ridley Scott, both actresses Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, as well as the film’s editor and cinematography grabbed nominations for this – and it won its only Oscar for Callie Khouri and her original screenplay. So why did it fail to make Best Picture? Did the love for Beauty and the Beast squeeze it out? It’s a real shame, as some would argue it was the best movie of that year – it certainly wasn’t The Prince Of Tides (which is partly why Barbara Streisand is not on this list for her failure to be nominated as Director).
Leading Actress — Rebecca Hall (Christine) 2016 — Matt St. Clair
The 2016 Best Actress race was chock full of prolific snubs; Amy Adams for being the heart and soul of Arrival, Annette Bening for her most holistic work to date in 20th Century Women, Emily Blunt for salvaging greatness out of the dreadful The Girl In The Train, and even Taraji P. Henson was unable to ride the wave of Hidden Figures. But one performance that was the most tragically overlooked was Rebecca Hall in Christine. As the late anchorwoman Christine Chubbuck who shot herself on live television, Hall owns every single frame in which she appears even when the movie becomes hard to watch. Hall’s portrayal of a woman who had a fierceful passion for her life’s work while fighting her mental illness is heart wrenching and tragic without ever being judgmental of the woman she is portraying. Christine Chubbuck was a woman who wanted to be appreciated and for people to understand her pain. If only more ,people were listening.
Adapted Screenplay — David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross) 1992 — Robin Write
Again based on his own play, David Mamet could have lost out on a nomination here (even with the Writer’s Guild support) because of his cruel characters and their potty mouths. But I would like to think that is not the case. Rather it was just simply that they found the screenplays for Howards End, Enchanted April, and A River Runs Through It much more clean-cut, wholesome adaptations at the time. I have to quote the movie when I say Fuck you to that. Mamet’s screenplay (and the movie itself) is full to the brim with big shot and mean dialogue that is nothing but brilliant.
So what omissions have had you in fits of tears? Comment below.