The Guardian has built a slide-show listing 50 movies they claim are “strong Oscar contenders.” While a dozen or so are undeniably in the running for a Best Picture nomination, the best that can be said for most others named here is that they’re, um… eligible. In the dog days of August we can always doggedly gather the shiniest objects for lists of hopefuls like this. The trick now is trying to stay excited as we come to the realization that the usual suspects beginning to carve out their slots are about all we’re going to get.
There are plenty of films here with great pedigrees that will surely blow us away, but many of these “strong contenders” will be failures. We can hold onto hopes for late-breaking surprises, but there’s no need for delusional optimism either. At this stage, wishing for Oscar redemption is a bit like praying for rain in Oklahoma.
Notably absent from The Guardian’s grab bag? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2. Really? They have hopes for The Thing, but not Harry Potter? This lapse of logic sent me in search of other movies left off the list — if not for serious consideration, at least for a nod of acknowledgement.
Attack The Block
A Better Life
Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark
I Saw the Devil
Take This Waltz
Not that any of those additions have a reasonable shot at a BP nomination (though we’re hearing good things about A Better Life), but if The Guardian can list little darlings like The Debt and Tyrannosaur, I think we’re entitled to be proud of our own genre and indie favorites.
Guaranteed, at least one of this year’s Best Picture nominees is going to look anemic next to Attack the Block. (Ask me in January and I’ll tell you which one.) The absence of 13 Assassins and Mysteries of Lisbon from the Guardian’s list only serves to remind us how blinkered Oscar talk can be. So it doesn’t matter to me if those movies rank low in this poll. I can’t make a list of the year’s best films in good conscience that doesn’t include them.
No doubt I’m forgetting a few important titles. Because I always do; you readers help fill in the gaps; that’s part of the process.
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