Filmmaking is a very difficult art to award. However, the Academy has been handing Oscars out for generations, attempting to standardize an art form with a glamorous show focused on gowns and scandals. Ambiguous job titles and complicated categories (how many people know the difference between sound mixing and sound editing) make it difficult for people to understand what they are really voting for. Often times, it is the flashiest achievement that is rewarded, like actors who win because they play the most interesting character. Some of the most impressive cinematic feats are very subtle and go unnoticed by an audience purposefully. And even if voters understand the complex art form, film is still very subjective. As a result, many films go under appreciated, especially if they don’t win awards. Here are three films that did not receive the recognition they deserved this awards season:
Based on the book by Michael Lewis about the 2008 financial crash, this incredibly innovative film was arguably the best film of the year. Writer and director Adam McKay did the impossible, successfully creating a gripping and entertaining film revolving around subprime mortgage loans and CDOs. The acting was exceptional and the awkward camera helped tell the story very effectively. While The Big Short did win Best Adapted Screenplay, its masterful interpretation of the crisis, full of emotion as well as enjoyable exposition, deserved more attention.
Just like director Denis Villeneuve’s other film Prisoners, Sicario received very few nominations because of its early release date. Sicario, a captivating thriller about Mexican drug cartels, was not only told masterfully but also technically impressive. It featured some of the most incredible sound design and score I have heard in recent years as well as astonishing cinematography by the amazing Roger Deakins. This film, like The Big Short, tackles a very important issue but instead creates a story that had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Sicario should have absolutely been at least nominated for best picture.
The Martian is based on the realist sci-fi book by Andy Weir about an astronaut trapped on Mars. The film is not only an incredible space epic, but also very humorous, especially Matt Damon. Director Ridley Scott makes the most of the excellent script that incorporates several genres into one (action, thriller, comedy). While the film was nominated for a diverse range of awards, The Martian did not take home anything.