By my count, there are 41 movies vying for an Oscar on February 27th. This includes all of the award categories such as best picture, best editing, best documentary, best makeup, etc., but does not include short film nominees. (Sorry, I didn’t see any of those.) I’ve listed all 41 of the nominated films at the end of this article. There are many good films on that list, but I wanted to recognize a few of my favorite movies from 2010 that were NOT nominated for an Academy Award.
1. “Let Me In” didn’t do so well in its theatrical release, which is a shame, because it’s so good. Purists will prefer the 2008 Swedish version, “Let the Right One In,” based on the novel of the same name (so did I). But “Let Me In” director Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield”) deftly pays homage to and also slightly updates the creepy child vampire tale. I loved the re-setting of the newer film to early 1980’s New Mexico. Great score too.
2. “The Ghost Writer” is a delicious mystery directed by Roman Polanski. As I watched this film, I got Hitchcock goose bumps all over. It involves a ghost-writer (Ewan McGregor) hired to write the memoirs of a politician (Pierce Brosnan), but along the way, the writer stumbles upon some dangerous secrets. Good acting. Good writing. Good score. Good suspense. Please make more movies like this, someone.
3. “Shutter Island” had a couple of corny moments, but overall it’s a fantastic thriller-chiller with a devastating ending. The movie’s adult theme may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a treat to see master filmmaker Martin Scorsese direct this twisted story. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo play 1950’s U.S. marshalls investigating the disappearance of a patient at a hospital for the criminally insane.
4. “Never Let Me Go.” Maybe you’re noticing a theme among my favorite films. I admit I like suspenseful, surreal, futuristic or dark movies. In this case, also add “intelligent” as a descriptor. “Never Let Me Go” follows a group of young people raised in isolation–for some very questionable medical purposes. It’s a slightly creepy but also quiet film that plays a little bit like an episode of Masterpiece on PBS. Its young, attractive and talented cast (including Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley) gives this movie heart, no pun intended.
5. “The Book of Eli.” Okay, I know. It’s a cheesy B-movie. But I don’t care. I loved it. I’m a sucker for violent, stylishly shot postapocalyptic road trip movies. There’s good action, nice art direction, a desperate Mad Max vibe; plus Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman are good in just about anything.
Here’s the alphabetical list of 41 feature-length movies nominated for a 2010 Oscar on Oscar night:
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Exit Through the Gift Shop”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“I Am Love”
“In a Better World”
“Iron Man 2”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The King’s Speech”
“Outside the Law”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3”
“The Way Back”