The “Academy Awards” are slowly coming towards us and this is having many film fans decide who will take home the top prize. The nominations have been released and many have completed their ballots as thoroughly as possibly. While many have made their own judgements on the nominations, many have agreed on some of the films that were overlooked by Academy voters. These films were critically acclaimed amongst the press and received positive audience praise, so where is the awards recognition? Here are some of the films that were snubbed by Academy Awards voters.
World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime
If there is one name in the animation world that receives universal acclaim amongst audiences, it is writer/director Don Hertzfeldt. He creates very abstract and existential pieces of art that connect on an emotional level towards moviegoers. This installment in Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow trilogy follows David Prime on a quest of self-discovery and self-worth. It is a beautiful and emotionally draining experience that has themes that only Hertzfeldt can tackle. So where was the Oscar love? Sure, it is very experimental but it also is one of the most gorgeous pieces of animation that many have seen in quite a while and it has a bold and unique story that feels very relevant to the times we live in. A Best Animated Feature nomination or Animation Short nomination would not feel out of place
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
One of the major films that was discussed over the course of last year was Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always. It was a critical darling when it premiered at Sundance in 2020 and still to this day many discuss the film via social media. It follows a young girl who wants to get an abortion and asks her friend to join with her for support. The film is very mature and realistic with its portrayal of the subject matter. Hittman does not Hollywood-ize or glorify anything in this film, it is up to the audience to interpret each scene and what emotions should they feel. While I am not shocked it did not land a Best Picture nomination, a Best Lead Actress for Sidney Flanigan would surely be expected as she carries the entire film’s weight on her shoulders. As well as a Best Director nomination for Eliza Hittman would fit very well.
I would consider Spike Lee’s recent batch of films to be some of the most relevant pieces of filmmaking of our time. Each film he has released tackle universal issues and are well regarded amongst the film community. However, in Lee’s latest he decides to film Talking Head frontman David Byrne’s live Broadway Show titled American Utopia. It was (again) well received critically and many compare this to the previous Jonathan Demme Talking Heads film titled Stop Making Sense. My bafflement comes from how Hamilton received its fair share of awards recognition while this superior filmed musical has not received the love it deserves. A Best Documentary Film nomination would not feel unjustified.
One filmmaker that is unanimously approved by the public is none other than Christopher Nolan. He creates some of the most iconic blockbusters in film history and even has received a fair share of awards come Oscar season. While I am biased towards Nolan’s latest (I think it is his best work to date and my favorite film of 2020) I do understand why it did not gather some of the awards nomination it wanted to. However, the score by Ludwig Göransson is some of the best music composed for a blockbuster film in recent years. It’s VFX and production design were also immaculate here, along with its out of the park cinematography. A nomination for those positives listed would be perfectly suited for Academy voters.
Da 5 Bloods
Like I stated before, Spike Lee is one of our most culturally relevant filmmakers right now. And his latest narrative feature, Da 5 Bloods, proves that statement head-on. With an emotionally charged opening sequence along with themes of family and brotherhood and trauma, and an out of this world performance by Delroy Lindo and Chadwick Boseman. This film has it all and it deserves almost every category in the nomination list. Hell, it’d even win over some of the films actually nominated this year. It is a shame that the Academy did not look hard enough to find an absolute goldmine of a film. Especially with a film that tackles race so well in a year that racial issues were at its highest.