It’s November and that means that we have now officially entered Oscar season. For the next two months, movies specifically designed to win awards will be released in theaters across America. Movies like Fair Game, The King’s Speech, True Grit, For Colored Girls, Another Year, and 127 Hours will be presented for “your consideration,” as they always put it in the Oscar ads. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to seeing quite a few of those films. Fair Game looks like its going to be a bit of a pain (seriously, Sean Penn, it’s great you were right about Iraq and all but get over yourself) and For Colored Girls seems like it’ll be one of those films that people are scared to admit disliking. However, The King’s Speech looks like it might be a funny and sweet little movie and 127 Hours looks like it might be the film that proves that James Franco is a major hottie who could use and abuse me in any way he…uhmm, sorry, where was I? Oh yeah — Oscar season!
The unfortunate thing about Oscar season is that often it seems that movies that were released before the end of the year are either totally forgotten or only given a few sympathy nods. So, here’s my personal list of a few contenders that, though released pre-Oscar season, I think are just as deserving of consideration as Fair Game.
1) Best Picture — Exit Through The Gift Shop
People either love this film or they hate it. I love it. I think it’s a great mindfuck and, as of now, it’s my favorite film of 2010. In a perfect world, it would not only be the first documentary to be nominated for best picture but the first one to win as well. Unfortunately, the Mainstream hates having its mind fucked. Which is why I say — Grindhouse Victory for Exit Through The Gift Shop!
2) Best Picture — Animal Kingdom
This grim yet compelling Australian crime thriller plays like an unromanticized version of The Town, which is probably why it will be no where to be seen once the nominations are announced. Animal Kingdom also features award worthy work from actors Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce, and director David Michod.
3) Best Picture — Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Yes, it crashed and burned at the box office and it’s been the victim of an anti-Michael Cera backlash but Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was one of the best and most original films of the summer. If the best movies succeed by creating their own unique worlds, then Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World deserves to be recognized as one of the best.
4) Best Picture — Never Let Me Go
Mark Romanek’s low-key but affecting adaption of Kazou Ishiguro’s award-winning novel takes a familiar Sci-Fi plot — clones are raised in seclusion so that their organs can eventually be harvested — and turns it into a haunting meditation on life, death, love, and fate. Carey Mulligan, who deserved the Oscar last year for An Education, holds the film together with quiet strength while Kiera Knightley and Andrew Garfield make the most of the more showy supporting roles.
5) Best Actor — Patrick Fabian, The Last Exorcism
Yes, Fabian will never be nominated because The Last Exorcism was a box office flop, a horror film, and it had an ending that generated a lot of negative word of mouth. However, I believe that Fabian gave the best performance of the year (so far) in this film. One reason why that over-the-top ending upset so many viewers was because Fabian had kept the film so grounded in reality that the sudden appearance of the supernatural almost felt like a betrayal. Incidentally, I think that Fabian’s performance was meant to be an homage to former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner. (And yes, I realize that’s like the 100th time I’ve casually mentioned Marjoe Gortner on this site. It doesn’t mean anything. Or does it?)
6) Best Actress — Noomi Rapace, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Mainstream has pretty much already declared Annette Bening to be the winner for her work in The Kids Are All Right but the Grindhouse knows that 2010 was the year of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
7) Best Actress — Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank
Fish Tank probably played too early in the year to be properly remembered by the Academy but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the best films of the year. Playing an angry but naive British teen, Katie Jarvis gives a fearlessly vulnerable performance. Just consider the harrowing scene where, after kidnapping her older lover’s daughter, she realizes what a mistake she’s made.
8 ) Best Supporting Actor — John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
While I hope Winter’s Bone, at the very least, receives nominations for best picture, best actress for Jennifer Lawrence, and a best director nod for Debra Granik, I fear that John Hawkes will be forgotten. That’s a shame because Hawkes, arguably, gives the strongest performance in the film. As Lawrence’s drug addicted uncle, Hawkes is both scary and heroic. If Lawrence represents hope for the future, Hawkes epitomizes the doom of the present.
9) Best Supporting Actress — Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass
If Moretz is nominated, it’ll probably be for her performance in Let Me In. However, good as she was in that film, I think her performance in Kick-Ass is even better. Playing the controversial character of Hit-Girl, Moretz was the film’s foul-mouthed, borderline-psychotic heart.
10) Best Cinematography — Twelve
Yes, Twelve is a dire film that manages to turn a good book into a silly melodrama but the movie is gorgeous to look at.
11) Best Original Score — Machete
As performed by the band Chingon (which features the film’s director, Robert Rodriguez, on guitar), Machete’s score was much like the film itself: over-the-top, shameless, and a lot of fun. In much the same way that Hans Zimmer’s score made you believe in the world of Inception, Machete’s score literally forces the viewer into the proper Grindhouse mindset.
12) Best Original Song — “Pimps Don’t Cry” from The Other Guys
Oh, why not?
13) Best Feature-Length Documentary — Best Worst Movie
A charming documentary about the making of that infamous film, Troll 2, Best Worst Movie is also a look at how a movie can be so amazingly bad that it eventually becomes a beloved classic.
14) Best Animated Feature — A Town Called Panic
This surreal, French, stop-motion film only played for a week down here in Dallas and I nearly didn’t get to see it. I’m glad I did because, seriously, this movie — oh my God. The best description I’ve heard of it comes from Empire Magazine where it was referred to as being “Toy Story on absinthe.” Of course, since apparently California can’t even handle legalized weed, it’s probably hoping too much that they’ll be willing to drink the absinthe.
As just a sidenote, isn’t the poster for A Town Called Panic just adorable? I swear, just looking at it makes me feel happy.