Once again the Academy Awards have ignored and mistreated some great movies that have been released over the last year. Here is a list of 10 outstanding movies that didn’t received any single Oscar nomination this year.
Directed by Panos Cosmatos, “Mandy” is a psychedelic story of blood and violence. Being a lumberjack, Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) lives in a secluded house in a rather magical forest with his wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). The couple lives a simple and quiet life. Everything seems to be in the right place, until a religious cult with violent tendencies (named “The Children of the New Dawn”) spots on Mandy’s beauty.
The cult led by Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache), not only attacks the couple with mystical powers and mythical weapons, but also starts a demonic ritual offering Mandy as a sacrifice. Being unable to protect Mandy, Red sets out a pursuit of this demonic cult in order to revenge them.
“Mandy” is probably a tribute to cult horror movies of the 70s and 80s. Not only it has so many references to horror classics such as “The Last House on the Left”, “Mad Max” or “Hellraiser”, but also a sensational cinematography that creates a nightmarish world of complete mayhem. It is an art-house horror movie with unique colours, exceptional visual effects and gruesome scenes of extreme violence.
Moreover, “Mandy” seems like a surreal depiction of a mad world, where there is no hope of salvation. A post-apocalyptic tale of insanity and chaos. In addition Nicolas Cage’s performance is absolutely mesmerizing creating an outrageous character.
Although “Mandy” looks like a b-rated movie, it should have been Oscar nominated for visual effects or costume design. It is an instant cult classic, a hallucinating experience that will haunt you for a long time.
Being one of the scariest horror movies of the last decade, “Hereditary” was criminally snubbed by the Academy. The film follows the unconventional story of Annie’s family and the way they are dealing with the mysterious recently death of Annie’s mentally unstable mother. Annie (Toni Collette) is incapable of sharing the same feelings as the rest of the family, until she finds the truth behind her mother’s death. Then the family has to deal not only with a series of tragic, misfortunate and quite unusual events, but also with supernatural threats.
Directed by Ari Aster, “Hereditary” looks a lot like Ben Wheatley’s unsettling masterpiece “Kill List”. Both films are odd, uncomfortable horror stories of mystery and pain with unexpected plot twists and unique performances. The film is also a homage to 70s horror flicks such as Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” and Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” creating a creepy atmosphere with not many jump scares scenes, but scenes of real horror.
On the other hand Toni Collette delivers an unforgettable performance of a hysterical and paranoid character that is probably the best of her acting career. This great performance could have been nominated for the best actress award. There is also an extra outstanding performance by the young Milly Shapiro.
Despite the fact that “Hereditary” is a nightmarish tale of pure horror, it has failed to receive any Oscars nomination. It should have been nominated for the best actress award (Toni Collette) and film or sound editing.
Overall “Hereditary” is a suspenseful horror flick that doesn’t follow the traditional way of modern cinema offering a unique cinematic experience.
8. Leave No Trace
“Leave No Trace” follows the touching story of Will (Ben Foster), a war veteran, who lives with his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) a nomadic life. They are living off the grid in a beautiful natural park near Portland, where they spend most of their time finding food or chopping wood. They lead a quiet and peaceful life until they are located and taken in for questioning by the local authorities. Then they have to face a radical change in their lives as they are forced to live in a local community.
The film depicts the effect of war on mental health and loneliness of modern life. To be more specific, Will has been probably exposed to a traumatic event and as a result he has developed a mental disorder (PTSD). Although he has to deal with his own demons and fears, he is capable of bringing up his daughter. Therefore, Tom is an educated and polite young girl in spite of her age.
The director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) creates a haunting tale with great dialogues and mesmerizing performances. Despite her age, Thomasin McKenzie delivers an outstanding performance that should have been nominated for the supporting actress award. In addition, Ben Foster is outstanding creating a mentally disordered character that struggles with life.
To sum up, “Leave No Trace” is a moving story that could have been nominated for either best picture, best leading actor or best supporting actress. It is definitely one of the biggest snubs of the Oscars.
7. The Guilty
“The Guilty” is a Danish film that tells the story of Asger (Jakob Cedergren), a police officer, who has been assigned to the emergency phone center due to an ongoing internal investigation about a past case. There he receives a strange phone call from a frightened woman, who has been apparently kidnapped. But, there is something odd and hidden in this case.
Although this suspenseful thriller was shot in one location (two rooms) in only two weeks, it creates a tense and powerful atmosphere. This claustrophobic film told only through a series of phone conversation, not only creates a realistic story but also builds up to a climax. A lot like Steven Knight’s “Locke”, “The Guilty” is a low budget ingenious and enthralling character study.
Moreover, amazing performance by Jakob Cedergren, the plot twists and the visually outstanding cinematography create a unique and unforgettable police drama.
The movie should have been nominated for either best foreign film or best leading actor. “The Guilty” is probably one of the most thrilling stories of the last decade, that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Directed by Matteo Garrone, “Dogman” is a hidden gem of the Italian cinema. The film follows the story of a humble dog carer Marcello (Marcello Fonte) who has to take revenge from Simone (Edoardo Pesce), a violent criminal who is bullying the whole neighborhood. It is a tense drama about a gentle guy who can’t stand anymore being bullied or terrorized and decides to put an end to this tragic story.
Matteo Garrone, who has also directed “Gomorrah”, delivers another powerful story about human despair and morality. The film depicts the low life of a desperate man who has nothing to lose or fear. He is ready to do anything in order to protect his family and save his life. Not only it is a modern tale of revenge and salvation, but also a touching story about human relationships.
Despite the fact that this deep drama with a marvellous performance by Marcello Garrone won the “Palm Dog” award and the best actor award in Cannes, it has been neglected by the Oscars.
“Dogman” is a moving story that will definitely shock you and stay with you for a long time.