The 2018 Oscars are only a few days away, and as the countdown begins, it bring with it the realisation that the Oscars aren’t all that glorious after all. It is a far from a perfect establishment which invites its many ‘members’ to vote for their favourite films, and awards the most popular films. One should remember that a lot of money is spent by studios to build a short-term populace during the awards season, parties are organised and films along with actors are lobbied. It’s not a perfect system, a lot of awards are also given based on ‘sentiments’. Not quite as shamelessly as our random gutka Filmfare awards though.
Although Oscars still have some credibility left, they’ve pretty much always failed to honour all the great films of the year. This year’s no different, however what with 2017 being a good year for films. There were many, many ‘enjoyable movies’ and then there were those exceptional ones. Some of the latter however, found no mention in the awards season. Here are 15 such films:
1. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Yorgos Lanthimos shocked and awed the world with his first two films – Dogtooth and The Lobster. Both films had a bizarre sense of humour, and a genre-defying narrative. That’s why the his latest film starring Colin Farell and Nicole Kidman was definitely eagerly anticipated, and it did not disappoint. It’s a film you’ll have difficulty articulating yourself about.
2. Last Flag Flying
Richard Linklater’s latest has a first-rate cast in the form of Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne. Turns out all three veteran actors are battle-scarred Vietnam veterans, who are driving down for the funeral of one of the character’s sons. It follows the three men, as they battle demons from the past, laugh about the good times and make peace with their life.
The Boston bombing heightened the post-9/11 paranoia once again, but emerged out of it… a hero. Jeff Bauman lost his legs, helped identify one of the suspects, and dealt with the overwhelming celebrity after he became the symbol of ‘Boston Stronger’. The film based on this true story stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany in the lead roles.
4. The Sense of An Ending
Ritesh ‘The Lunchbox’ Batra’s second film was equally well-observed. Starring Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling and Emily Mortimer, the film follows the life of an elderly divorcee, whose life changes after he receives a letter from the estate of the recently-deceased mother of his ex girlfriend from college.
Kathryn Bigelow’s recreation of the riots from 1967, is not only timely, but also a difficult film to finish. Reflecting the racial bigotry of the Trump era, Detroit lands most of its punches and bloodies its audience with it.
Anne Hathway starred in one of the year’s most underrated films, that mashed genres like the monster movie, with a comedy and a queasy coming-of-age tale. The film directed by Nacho Vigalondo turned out to be a box office disaster, but you absolutely cannot miss it.
7. The Lost City of Z
One of the finest films of 2017, got unfairly forgotten at the awards ceremonies. Directed by James Gray and starring Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson, the film follows a bunch of British explorers doggedly pursuing a a mythical city.
8. It Comes At Night
Repeat after me – I. Should. Watch. Anything. With. Joel Edgerton. In. It.
9. The Beguiled
Sofia Coppolla’s film is another adaptation of the book of the same name by Thomas Cullinan. Starring Colin Farrell, Kirtsen Dunst, Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning – the film won Best Director at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where it also competed for the Palm D’Or.
10. A Ghost Story
Releasing straight in the aftermath of Casey Affleck’s much-debated Oscar win last year, this film had to face the wrath of bad press that doggedly follows its lead actor. In spite of the stellar reviews that David Lowery’s movie got, it quickly got lost and expectedly didn’t win a single nomination.
11. Lady Macbeth
Based on the short story, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov, the film follows the journey of a young woman stifled by her loveless marriage to an elderly man.
12. Girls Trip
The African-American women of Hollywood did their own twist on the Hangover franchise, and boy do they make the most of it. The film starring Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Regina Hall, follows four friends who reconnect on a trip to a music festival set in New Orleans.
13. Good Time
One of the most bizarre films of the year starred Robert Pattinson playing a bank robber on the run with his disabled brother and his volatile girlfriend. Sporting blonde hair and a weird tan, Pattinson aced his (possibly) most unglamorous look of all time.
The other tennis film of the year apart from Battle of the Sexes, it featured the splendid rivalry of John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg that was essayed brilliantly by Shia Lebeouf and Sverrir Gudnasson respectively. The movie is an absolute treat for fans of sports movies, as it asks difficult questions about the making of a champion and whether the ends justify the means?
15. American Made
The duo behind the extremely enjoyable Edge of Tomorrow, bring the same energy to their latest film about a rogue commercial pilot who starts working for Pablo Escobar only for some ‘thrill’ to his otherwise boring life. Tom Cruise gave what is possibly his best performance in years, and it manages to fit in a lot of politics underneath all that humour.
Oscar-nominated movies ko chhodo aur yeh dekho. Yeh nahi dekha toh kya dekha?