Awards season is here. This is the time where websites and critics start sharing their favorite movies of the year prior. With so many great films coming out every year, it has always been difficult to narrow down the best of the best.
While we love critically acclaimed dramas like Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma or the charming and moving Shoplifters by Hirokazu kore-eda, or commercial successes such as A Quiet Place and Black Panther, there are certain films that seem to slip under the radar of audience’s to-watch list, therefore these movies, as incredible as they are, aren’t given the recognition they truly deserve.
Here are 10 great films that should be given recognition this award season and the award/s they should receive.
1. The Sisters Brothers – Directed by Jacques Audiard
Should be recognized for: acting, cinematography, score, and adapted screenplay
Director Jacques Audiard’s first English- language film is a one of a kind western action drama that packages itself with wit and sensibility giving it a unique form from traditional western films. Charlie and Eli Sisters are an infamous duo of assassins chasing after a gold prospector in 1850s Oregon.
The movie stars John C. Reily and Joaquin Phoenix as the Sisters Brothers, and Riz Ahmed and Jake Gyllenhall who became their unlikely friends.
The movie delivers a slow yet steady storytelling, the kind you’d expect from westerns- gun, brothels, and whisky, giving it a moody and authentic vibe all throughout.
From its outstanding performances, to the use of gun flashes in the dark, and its captivating composition, The Sisters Brothers is one of the best western movies in the past decade even none-western movie fans will be left enchanted.
2. Outlaw King – Directed by David Mackenzie
Should be recognized for: costume and production design
This fact-based period drama released on Netflix is about the untold life of the legendary Robert the Bruce who must go through incredible lengths to defeat a much larger occupying English army for the throne. Robert is played magnificently by Chris Pine. This movie reunites Pine and director David Mackenzie after their Best Picture nomination for Hell or High Water.
Though in some cases, with such a grand historical event to base it from, the movie felt like it was crammed all within two hours. But the outstanding battle scenes will give you Game of Thrones vibe that is enough to excite and entertain audiences.
Outlaw King is every bit a cinematic masterpiece with its gorgeous set pieces, breathtaking cinematography, and great costume design giving it an epic scope that deserves to be experienced on the big screen.
3. Apostle – Directed by Gareth Evans
Should be recognized for: score
Another masterpiece released on Netflix, Apostle is set in 1905 about a man on a mission to save his sister from a religious and sinister cult located on an isolated island. It deals with a man’s corruption about religion and the creepy use of Celtic and Earth mythology is one of the most interesting elements of the film.
Director Gareth Evans is known for his epic action film series The Raid and made an interesting move by directing an unexpected horror film. As with his other works, Apostle gives you blood, gore, and some action sequences very true to Evans. But what stands out more is its use of composition by Aria Prayogi and Fajar Yuskemal who also worked with Evans for his other projects. The score blends perfectly with the moody atmosphere and rhythmic tone of the film.
The movie is down-right creepy and may not be for everyone, but for fans of films like The VVitch, Wickerman, and the like, Apostle is definitely a must-see.
4. A Prayer Before Dawn – Directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
Should be recognized for: acting, best picture
A Prayer Before Dawn is the incredible true story of English boxer Billy Moore who was incarcerated in Thailand’s most notorious prison. He must fight his way through Muay Thai tournaments to earn his freedom. It stars Joe Cole in may be his best career performance yet. He gives a performance worthy of a Best Actor nomination. The film is ferocious, visceral, and brutal.
A Prayer Before Dawn is unlike any other biopic. It takes strength, dedication, and determination to sit through some of its graphic scenes. The film is slow, painful, and realistic and its lack of Thai subtitles will immediately give you an isolating feeling, making you experience what goes on inside Billy’s head. Is it a bold statement to declare it worthy of Best Picture? Perhaps. But it will remain as one of the most intense film about survival and freedom ever made.
5. American Animals – Directed by Bart Layton
Should be recognized for: original screenplay
This American heist film is based on true events about a library heist that happened in Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky in 2004. The movie stars Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, and Jared Abrahamson.
Bart Layton who also wrote the film, managed to create a brand new vision for a genre audiences are far too familiar with.
The reason that this movie is a stand-out is the way the story was told in a none-linear fashion that blends seamlessly with its fiction narrative. The idea of a commentary from the real people involved in the heist is a smart move to tie it back with the dramatization of the actors.
The film is quite irregular but has a unique flair to it that helped elevate and differentiate itself from other films like it.