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(2015 EDITION)

A Most Violent Year poster Selma poster Dawn of the Planet of the Apes poster


Written by Matthew Pejkovic

The Academy Awards are soon upon us, and when it comes to the good old Oscar snub 2015 has proven to be in a class of its own.

Here are Matt’s Movie Reviews picks of the 5 best films of 2014 unfairly snubbed by the Oscars...




A Most Violent Year image

J.C. Chandor has never gotten a fair shake from the Academy. Outside a screenwriting nomination for his debut Margin Call, Chandor’s excellent work has unfairly been looked over. Last year’s masterful All is Lost got no love, and now Chandor’s latest A Most Violent Year follows suit.

Despite boasting excellent performances from Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, dense cinematography by Bradford Young, and Chandor himself at his impeccably crafted, thought provoking best as screenwriter and director, A Most Violent Year received the grand total of zero Oscar nominations, proving that when it comes to assessing the best films of the year the Academy are woefully incompetent.






Calvary image

Deservingly heralded as one of the great films of 2014, Calvary not only (incredibly) struck out with the BAFTA’s but also found the Academy to be equally inept in its core responsibility to rewarding the best movies of the year. Calvary is indeed just that.

Written and directed by talented Irish filmmaker John Michael McDonagh, Calvary tackles the controversial issue of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church with a forthright yet never overbearing manner. Brendan Gleeson’s performance as a good priest straddled with the monstrous sins of other clergy is a potent mix of rogue charm, pitch black comedic timing and devastatingly potent drama. That neither Gleeson’s performance nor McDonagh’s screenplay (the year’s best) received Oscar nominations is a travesty.





Dawn of the Planet of the Apes poster

Every few years the Academy wises up to the fact that big VFX blockbusters are also amongst the year’s best. Where many were expecting Interstellar to be the token Oscar pick from the class of 2014, without a doubt the best big-budget behemoth was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which – much like Avatar and Inception before it – is a revolutionary step in VFX cinema that masterfully weaved big visuals with thought provoking narrative.

While there was no way the Academy would consider the excellent motion capture performances from Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell (and woe to them for not doing so), deserving of a nomination is director Matt Reeves who delivered an astounding, ground breaking achievement that elevated the sci-fi blockbuster to new heights.






The Drop image

Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island…all came from the mind of acclaimed crime writer Dennis Lehane. So it only makes sense that Lehane’s first crack at writing a screenplay (based on his own short-story) would feature the same gritty, morally complex, urban crime dramatics that he’s known for.

Yet combined with the steady hand of burgeoning filmmaker Michael R. Roskam and an excellent cast (Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace) turning in high quality performances, and The Drop becomes the best Lehane inspired work yet, deserving not only of a best adapted screenplay nomination, but also a supporting actor nod to Matthias Schoenarts, whose turn as an intimidating, unpredictable and dangerous hood the latest high quality performance from this next Brando incarnate.






Selma image

Yes, Selma did receive a best picture nomination from the Academy. Yet the absence of nominations for director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo is shocking to the point of gobsmacking absurdity. Not many (if any) features have been made about Martin Luther King Jr. He is such a revered and sacred figure that the risk of dropping the ball might have been too risky for some. Yet DuVernay took on the challenge and delivered a masterful film, focusing on the Selma to Montgomery right to vote marches of 1965 and how the events of that time cemented King’s legacy.

Equally brave was English actor David Oyelowo, who took on the challenge of portraying one of the most admired Americans – nay – human beings of the 21st century and delivered a brilliant, powerful performance that will be immortalised in the history of cinema. That the Academy couldn’t recognise its greatness will leave another blemish on its reputation.  





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