List

Sharon and Cecilia's 2021 Oscar Snubs

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

We think these movies were robbed of Academy Award nominations this year.

  • Land

    2021

    Actress Robin Wright's feature directorial debut should have at least been considered for a Best Director nomination, and maybe in a different year, she would have been. For a first outing, Wright's direction is strong and holds the movie together at the right pace and tone. She doesn't force anything unnecessary and gives the story line its space to evolve and grow. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • MLK/FBI

    2021

    In my opinion, this is one of the best documentaries of the year, though it was left off the list of nominations (it was included on the Oscar shortlist, but not the final five). This film does an excellent job of capturing the level of pressure and scrutiny MLK was under by the government, led by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. As the popularity of King's message and platform grew, Hoover and his minions only intensified their efforts. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • The Mauritanian

    2021

    The Mauritanian is a strong, powerful movie featuring a great performance by Jodie Foster. She won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress but was snubbed for the Oscar. Why? Another phenomenal performance is by Tahar Rahim, a French actor of Algerian descent who steals the show (sometimes even from Foster!) as Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the real-life Mauritanian held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for 14 years without being charged with a crime. The fact that it's also a taut, well-paced legal drama makes it a very strong film indeed! Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • Ammonite

    2021

    A very tender, yet imperfect love story between two women, based on the life of fossil hunter Mary Anning in 1840's England. I found the characters captivating, especially the emotionally stunted Anning, played brilliantly by Kate Winslet, who I feel should have been nominated for Best Actress. The cinematography is also stunning, with the English coast as the perfect tumultuous setting for this passionate romance. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • Supernova

    2021

    It's not often a film comes around about the power of male relationships. This film explores the intensity of the love two men can feel toward each other without being sensationalized or graphic. With two fantastic performances by Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, I felt both should have been nominated for what was a realistic, though tragic tale filled with memories, regrets, and deep-seated intimacy. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • The Gentlemen

    2020

    The Gentlemen is my wild card snub. I watched this film hesitantly, since I'm not the biggest fan of Guy Richie, who wrote and directed the movie. I ended up loving everything about it, especially Hugh Grant's performance. Grant, who had won both a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for his breakout performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral, has never been nominated for an Oscar. Starting in 2017, he takes Paddington 2 from just another good sequel to comedy gold for all ages. After a couple of head-turning roles in TV series, he's back on the big screen in this film, playing a quirky con man who has most of the best lines in the movie. Will someone please nominate this man for an Oscar?! Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • The Assistant

    2020

    Though I had issues with the movie on the whole, I thought Julia Garner's performance as a wannabe whistleblower at a NYC studio was fantastic. This post-Harvey Weinstein tale perfectly captures the trepidation she feels and the brick walls she encounters. The way Garner's subtle performance expresses her entire emotional range through her eyes and facial expression is some stunning acting. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always

    2020

    Eliza Hittman wrote and directed this movie that focuses on a teenage girl who, finding herself unexpectedly pregnant, travels with her best friend from rural Pennsylvania to New York City to get an abortion. Hittman allows the story to unfold in a realistic, sensitive way. Her actors show vulnerability and honesty throughout. Earning a lot of critical acclaim as well as seven Independent Spirit nominations, and a breakout film in several areas, especially Sidney Flanigan in the lead role, this did not find its Oscar legs. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • First Cow

    2020

    First Cow has been a critical darling since premiering at the Telluride Film Festival, and I’m somewhat surprised that it didn’t get any Oscar noms. Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt’s contemplative western drama received Independent Spirit nominations for Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Supporting Male and Gotham Award nominations for Best Feature, Best Actor, Best Breakthrough Actor, and Best Screenplay. Set in 1820 Oregon, the story centers on the friendship between a chef and a Chinese immigrant who concoct a unique business venture to make enough money to achieve their version of the American dream. And yes, a cow is pivotal to the plot’s success--just not Oscar success. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Palm Springs

    2020

    Comedies often do not get a lot of Oscar love. This rom-com sci-fi time-warp mash-up is clever and refreshing. The actors are clearly having a blast with their roles, reliving the worst wedding reception ever. I did too, watching them navigate one unexpected plot twist after another. It got overlooked in the category for original screenplay at the very least. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Miss Juneteenth

    2020

    Filmmaker Channing Godfrey Peoples and her cast earned a lot of critical acclaim for this indie film centering on a mother/daughter relationship and the local Miss Juneteenth pageant. Nicole Beharie won the Gotham Award for Best Actress and also got an Independent Spirit Award nom. Beharie absolutely turns in an Oscar-worthy performance. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • The Little Things

    2021

    Jared Leto received a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe nomination as well as a Screen Actors Guild nom for his role as a suspected serial killer in this neo-noir crime thriller. Playing against Denzel Washington and Rami Malek, the two police detectives who become reluctant partners to investigate the case, Leto is quietly terrifying and 100% believable. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • A Thousand Cuts

    2021

    From filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz, this is a compelling documentary with a strong message about the importance of free press. Much of the doc follows Maria Ressa, a Filipino-American journalist and CEO of the online news website Rappler, as she combats fake news and faces criminal charges from the Filipino government related to her work as a journalist. It tied with the Oscar-nominated Time for the Gotham Award for Best Documentary. I was surprised that it did not make the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary. Recommended by Sharon.

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