First on my list of unappreciated films this season is, of course, (500) Days of Summer. I know, it's a romantic comedy. It didn't have amazing box office numbers. It's stars aren't the most bankable in the biz. But I don't care! (500) Days of Summer was my absolute favorite movie last year. Despite all the previously mentioned things working against it, there is one thing that everyone can agree on. (500) Days of Summer is good! Really good! I believe that should have gotten nods for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. I don't think Mark Webb was ever in the running for Best Director, so I'm not at all steamed about that. I am steamed at the other ones though! I know it was a long shot to hope that it would get noticed in the Best Picture race, but, come on. Can't a guy dream? Same goes for both acting categories, even though the performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are far superior then most of the nominated ones. If there was any category that (500) Days had a legitimate shot at getting noticed in, it was Best Original Screenplay! I thought for sure it would get nominated here, but, like I said before, the Academy has a habit of disassociating themselves with the movie I deem to be the best of the year. I'm sorry if I'm not as mainstream as the average Academy voter!
The other, big, glaring omission is even more surprising to me then (500) Days of Summer. Where the Wild Things Are is based off a beloved and classic piece of literature, is directed by Spike Jonze, tells an amazing story with great acting to boot. It's a bonafide art house picture! It's simply spectacular, but, it goes unnoticed. Why? It didn't make money! It was a critical darling and one of the best reviewed films of last year, but, since the Academy is more concerned about their telecast then honoring achievements in cinema this year, it is snubbed. Not only should Where the Wild Things Are have gotten nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, but it would have been a strong contender for some technical awards. Just witness the seamless blending of puppets and CGI, and you'll see what I'm talking about. This is the type of movie the Academy always goes for, small, intimate, thought provoking, and all around excellent. Instead the went with The Blind Side. Ughhh...
There are a few other gripes I have, but won't go into too much detail about. I think Neill Blomkamp should have warranted considerable consideration for Best Director for District 9, but, it's a freshmen effort, not counting Alive in Joburg, so that was mostly vain hope. I think The Blind Side got two nominations too many! Public Enemies got no play as well, even though both Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard deserved to get noticed. Cottilard especially this year, since she, along with her wonderful work in Enemies, was the only actor to maintain any dignity in Nine.
I don't know. Maybe I'm making too big a deal out of this. I know that not winning an Oscar isn't going to make these films any less good! It's just a shame that they won't be featured during the telecast, and, as such, probably won't reach the wider audience that should experience them. It's a shame, but, hey. Maybe the retrospective video they play will highlight at least some of these.
On another, less fiery note, my write up of the Oscar minutes will be featured on The LAMB following the telecast, so... that's cool!