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13 Awesome 2018 Movies That Deserve Best Picture (But Won’t Get Nominated)

 

 

In recent years the Academy has attempted to shake off accusations that it’s stuffy and out-of-touch with what average moviegoers – as opposed to critics or cineastes – are watching at the movies.

Though this year’s Oscar race is likely to see the populist likes of A Star is Born and perhaps even Black Panther nominated for Best Picture, the voting body is once again set to sleep on a huge number of the year’s best and most unique movies.

They can’t all be nominated, of course, but with the Best Picture race being so typically focused on marketing and campaign momentum rather than sheer quality, it’s infuriating that these hugely acclaimed and successful films aren’t going to make a dent with the Academy.

If they truly want to stop people calling them snotty and elitist, what better way than to throw some love in the direction of these movies?

13. Annihilation

Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88% (7.8/10 average score)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller is without question one of the year’s most thought-provoking and artistically uncompromising films.

With a terrific Natalie Portman leading a similarly superb, mostly female cast, Annihilation is delicately balanced between abject horror, existential food-for-thought and perhaps the most jaw-dropping third act of any film released in 2018.

It’s exactly the sort of intelligent genre offering the Academy needs to be rewarding.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: For starters, the Academy hates sci-fi, and if Blade Runner 2049 couldn’t get nominated last year, then the similarly challenging Annihilation doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Above all else it’s probably too “out there” for more down-the-line Oscar voters, and the fact that it tanked at the North American box office does it no favours at all.

12. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Paramount

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% (8.3/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Critics and fans alike have been enthusiastically dubbing the sixth Mission: Impossible the best action movie since Mad Max: Fury Road – which was itself a Best Picture nominee – and it’s incredibly hard to argue with that assessment.

Reaching a previously unimaginable peak for Tom Cruise, Fallout’s knowingly absurd narrative is anchored by a killer ensemble – especially Henry Cavill’s August Walker – and the year’s most thrillingly kinetic batch of action sequences.

Watching Cruise pilot a helicopter for real during one of Fallout’s hairier set-pieces is cinema in its most purely visceral, adrenaline-pumping form, effectively confirming that Cruise is basically a modern day Buster Keaton.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: This is as simple as many Academy voters just being unable or unwilling to vote for a Mission: Impossible movie.

If the Best Popular Film category had been added to next year’s Oscars as originally planned, then this would be a strong contender, but as it stands, there’s too much sneering disdain against its desire to be a movie first and a film second.

11. Tully

Focus Features

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86% (7.7/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: A soaring comeback for on-the-skids director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air), Tully is a compassionate, empathetic slice-of-life dramedy topped by a similarly Oscar-worthy performance from Charlize Theron as a wildly overworked mother.

A deeply feminist film albeit one which benefits from reining-in writer Diablo Cody’s usual self-satisfied snark, the film’s honest depiction of modern motherhood is intensely affecting and has an unexpectedly universal quality to it.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: For starters, it might be a little too “small” and self-contained for some tastes, and though the Academy has started to diversify itself as of late, there are still many old, male members who won’t bring themselves to vote for a movie they apparently can’t relate to.

Probably the biggest obstacle, however, is the movie’s divisive plot twist, which while certainly unnecessary for the story being told, is at least shot through with conviction by all involved.

10. Isle Of Dogs

Fox Searchlight

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89% (8.0/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Wes Anderson’s latest oddball animation is one of the year’s most charming films, a deliciously bizarre sci-fi dramedy with a unique setting and an array of loveable characters, brought to life by Anderson’s usual cabal of committed performers.

And it’s got Tilda Swinton playing a psychic pug. What more could you possibly want, honestly?

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: Though Anderson has an impressive six Oscar nominations to his name, only a single one has been for Best Picture (for The Grand Budapest Hotel).

The Academy clearly likes to keep him a bridesmaid, and even ignoring their prejudice against accepting animated films in the Best Picture field – a stop-motion film in particular has never made the cut before – the movie didn’t linger around long in the collective consciousness due to its meagre box office performance.

9. A Quiet Place

Platinum Dunes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% (8.2/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: If you can accept the rather silly set-up to John Krasinski’s new gimmick thriller, this is one of 2018’s most stomach-knottingly taut genre efforts, and one which despite its general lack of spoken dialogue, doesn’t skimp on character development or emotional engagement.

Jam-packed with bravura suspense sequences and entrancing visuals alongside a killer quartet of central performances, A Quiet Place commits to its grimly bleak premise and doesn’t let up for 90 minutes.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: Though the movie was a box office smash and many have suggested it could be “this year’s Get Out”, A Quiet Place lacks the same incisive, socially righteous gut-punch and is therefore likely to be dismissed by some voters as a well-executed genre piece and nothing more.

8. Blindspotting

Lionsgate

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93% (8.0/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: An extremely impressive directorial debut for Carlos López Estrada, this black comic drama has been riding a wave of buzz ever since its Sundance premiere back in January.

Thanks to crackerjack performances from Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal – who both co-wrote the movie – it easily lives up to the hype.

A tough yet often hilarious examination of race, class and the criminal justice system in modern America, Blindspotting may not get many points for subtlety, but thanks to the powerhouse conviction of its terrifically-matched leads and its ferociously indignant tone, this is most certainly a movie the world needs right now.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: With not even $5 million in box office receipts worldwide, this one needs to rely strongly on screener mailouts to reach awards voters, and thus far it doesn’t appear that Lionsgate has made much of an effort, if one at all, to push a campaign for the movie.

The June release date probably didn’t help it, and while Blindspotting might’ve performed better by releasing later in the year, there’s curiously little buzz about one of the best-reviewed films of the year which should’ve also benefited from its overt social justice bent.

7. Mandy

XYZ Films

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% (7.7/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Because what other movie this year saw Nicolas Cage hoofing an impossibly huge amount of cocaine while battling an acid-tripping biker cult with a giant axe he forged himself?

Without a lick of irony, Mandy has artistry and entertainment value that any eventual Best Picture nominee should be jealous of.

At face value it may be a trashy exploitation film, but thanks to Panos Cosmatos’ patient direction, one of Cage’s all-time best performances and a searing musical score from the late, great Jóhann Jóhannsson, Mandy is a revenge film par excellence.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: Now, it would be delusional to think that Mandy had any sort of realistic shot at landing even a single Oscar nomination for anything, though that doesn’t mean the Academy will be right to exclude it.

Yes, it’s too artsy, slow and weird – not to mention gory and ridiculous – which are all descriptors set to ensure a decent portion of the voting body won’t even bother watching it. Their loss.

6. Incredibles 2

Pixar

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94% (7.9/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Living up to 15-year-old expectations isn’t easy, but Brad Bird did a splendid job making Incredibles 2 the year’s most visually stunning, whip-smart and straight-up charming animated film.

And honestly, if you don’t think the Jack-Jack/Raccoon fight is legitimately one of the year’s best scenes of any genre, there’s no helping you. While it seemed like Pixar had lost their magic for a little while there, this confirms they’re still as stridently committed to artful entertainment as ever.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: If the decidedly more-acclaimed Coco missed out on a Best Picture nomination for Pixar last year, Incredibles 2’s odds are inherently going to be a little shaky.

That’s not to forget that the Academy really doesn’t like nominating superhero movies outside of crafts categories, and given the strong possibility that Black Panther will sneak in the Best Picture field, there’s no way in hell two films from the genre will get to share the spotlight.

Above all else, there’s the opinion among some that Incredibles 2 was a great sequel but didn’t quite recapture the fresh brilliance of the original, nor make sufficient enough commentary about how the superhero landscape has changed since 2004. To each their own.

5. Eighth Grade

A24

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99% (8.9/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: If there was an Oscar for “Best use of Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’ in a movie”, Bo Burnham’s painfully authentic high school drama Eighth Grade would win it hands down.

Bolstered by a wonderful performance from young Elsie Fisher in the lead role, the movie is a perfectly balanced plunge into the darkness of anxiety, wrapped around a spot-on satire of contemporary high school.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen it already, it’s 93 minutes long. You have time.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: Despite being the year’s most passionately-praised Sundance indie, Eighth Grade will likely have to settle for maybe-winning Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards, because the film’s microscopic scale and lack of name actors mean many voters won’t even bother watching their screener.

4. Leave No Trace

Bleecker Street

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100% (8.5/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Writer-director Debra Granik’s follow-up to her Best Picture-nominated Winter’s Bone is one of the year’s most emotionally raw and subtly affecting dramas.

Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin McKenzie are stunning as a father and daughter living off-the-grid, and behind only Paddington 2, it has the most reviews of any movie to score 100% on Rotten Tomatoes to date.

Tenaciously acted and deeply affecting despite its lack of melodramatic grandstanding, Leave No Trace is a wonderfully low-key instant classic.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: Again, this is another movie that’s just not obvious enough for the Academy. Rather than signpost emotional touchstones and have characters slobber all over themselves as they reel off overwrought monologues, most everything here is internalised and left for the viewer to parse themselves.

Like Eighth Grade, it did at least scoop some Spirit Award nods.

3. Hereditary

A24

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89% (8.2/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Ari Aster delivers one of the most bracing and impressive directorial debuts in years with this nerve-wracking and intensely upsetting horror film.

Toni Collette gives an Oscar-worthy performance for the ages as a grieving mother struggling to protect her family from supernatural forces, in a near-perfect blend of slow-burn deliberation, grounded character drama and delirious rollercoaster ride finale.

Taking familiar elements and making them feel invigoratingly fresh, Hereditary is a stone-cold horror masterpiece.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: Horror is always a bit of a tough sell with the Academy but it’s not a totally lost cause either. However, Hereditary’s “D+” CinemaScore is perfect proof of how divisive it was among the general public, and Oscar voters likely won’t fare much different.

At present Collette will be lucky to sneak a Best Actress nomination, while the rest of the movie sadly doesn’t have a hope in hell of landing anything.

2. The Tale

Untitled Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99% (9.0/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: Jennifer Fox’s emotionally devastating dramatisation of her own experiences of childhood sexual abuse is not for the faint of stomach, but it is one of 2018’s most impactful and unforgettable cinematic experiences.

Laura Dern gives an awards-worthy performance as an adult Fox recounting her upbringing and coming to terms with how it informs her present-day relationships. Jason Ritter also gives a sublimely unsettling turn as her primary abuser, in what’s unquestionably the finest work of his career.

If there can ever be such a thing, The Tale is surely the “definitive” movie on the subject.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: In fairness, The Tale not scoring any Oscar love actually makes sense, even if it’s still extremely frustrating.

After its barnstorming Sundance premiere, the film was sold to HBO, who decided to air it exclusively on their TV network rather than give it a brief theatrical release in order to make it eligible for the Oscars.

It’s as simple as that, sadly, and though the film scored two Emmy nods and three Independent Spirit nominations, it deserves so, so much more.

1. Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel Studios

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84% (7.5/10)

Why It Deserves Best Picture: The third Avengers film may be the “worst” reviewed film on this list, but it’s also a movie that more often than not lives up to an impossible amount of hype.

Not only managing to cram literally dozens of superheroes into its 2.5 hours while maintaining a coherent narrative and even training the focus on the villain himself, Infinity War is in its own way a not-so-minor miracle.

The action sequences are electric, the performances superb, the drama palpable and the ending instantly iconic. It’s a killer example of intelligent blockbuster filmmaking which doesn’t sacrifice thoughtfulness for bombast. Hopefully Avengers 4 will follow suit.

Why It Won’t Get Nominated: It’s a “silly” superhero movie in which the world’s finest battle a giant, purple CGI monster. The Academy couldn’t bring themselves to nominate The Dark Knight so they’re sure as hell not going to give this one anything beyond crafts nominations.

Do these awesome movies deserve Best Picture nominations? Got any other suggestions for probable snubs? Shout them out in the comments!

 

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