The countdown to the 83rd Academy Awards is on, with the official nomination press conference set for the early hours of tomorrow morning. As is the custom, bloggers and critics have been hypothesizing for weeks now as to which movies and actors will be recognized by the Academy. Everyone seems to agree that ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ ‘The Fighter,’ ‘Black Swan,’ ‘Toy Story 3,’ ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘The Social Network’ will pick up several nominations, including Best Picture. Nods for ‘True Grit,’ ‘127 Hours’ and ‘Inception’ are also on the table. But what about the many standout films and performances that are likely to be overlooked by Oscar this year?
“This year, there just aren’t that many studio projects aside from ‘Inception’ and ‘Toy Story 3’ — there’s no ‘Avatar’ like last year or ‘Wall-E’ from the previous year,” says Lucas Carter, vice president of LA-based production company Intrigue Entertainment and a former VP at The Weinstein Company, where he worked on the Oscar campaigns for ‘The Reader,’ ‘Vicki Cristina Barcelona’ and ‘A Single Man.’ “The surprise could be ‘Winter’s Bone.’ ‘True Grit,’ which was snubbed by the HFPA [Golden Globes], will be nominated, possibly ‘Blue Valentine.'”
“The 10th slot is always up in the air,” Carter continued. “[But] the big titles are ‘Kings Speech,’ ‘Social Network,’ ‘Black Swan,’ ‘Fighter,’ ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ ‘Inception’ and ‘Toy Story 3.'”
A quick look at this year’s Golden Globe nominations — which have historically served as a reliable predictor for the Oscars — would suggest there were no such movies. After all, how dreadful must the other contenders be for a critical (and box office) bomb like ‘The Tourist’ to pick up three nominations? But in reality there were many films and performances that are every bit as worthy of Oscar gold as this year’s predicted nominees, despite the fact that they probably won’t receive any nominations.
Here are eight of them.
‘Harry Brown’: Michael Caine’s role as a badass British vigilante who takes down a gang of local hoodlums was one of the year’s best performances.
‘Mother and Child’: Sure, Annette Bening’s role in ‘The Kids Are Alright’ was great, but her performance in Rodrigo Garcia’s thoughtful (though shamefully underpublicized) drama was positively spectacular.
‘Casino Jack’: Who but Kevin Spacey could make corrupt lobbyist and businessman Jack Abramoff seem lovable?
‘The Ghost Writer’: Both Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan delivered excellent performances in Roman Polanski’s intelligent thriller. If only Kim Catrall had left her dreadful British accent at home, ‘The Ghost Writer’ might be a serious contender for Best Picture.
‘Conviction’: While Hilary Swank is no slouch as the female lead in this under-hyped film, it’s Sam Rockwell, as a man wrongfully convicted of murder, whose performance is truly remarkable.
‘Greenberg’: The only consolation in knowing that neither Ben Stiller nor Greta Gerwig is likely to be nominated for ‘Greenberg’ is the thought of how much Greenberg himself would abhor everything about awards season altogether.
‘Catfish’: With any luck, ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ and ‘Inside Job’ will receive nominations for Best Documentary, and they deserve to. But this low-budget documentary—which has all the complexity and intrigue of a scripted film—would be a welcome, if unlikely, addition to the category.
‘I Love You Philip Morris’: Jim Carrey’s depiction of real-life gay con artist Steven Russell proves the actor has come a long way since ‘Ace Ventura.’ But it seems there may only be room for one nomination for a gay performance, and this year it’s going to lesbians.
(This article was originally published on PopEater.com)