By Teachers, For Teachers
This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards.The nine Best Picture nominees included a few obvious choices—Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty were gimmees—but somehow the Academy couldn’t find room for every deserving film released in 2012.
Well, you know that at TeachHUB we love to mark corrections. To help us out, we contacted blogger and film critic Eric Hartline from The Warning Sign blog. Read on as we make our case for five films that deserve an Oscar nod every bit as much as Les Miserables or Argo.
Science fiction can be a tough sell to Academy voters, but Rian Johnson’s Looper isn’t a typical science fiction film. Johnson assembles a first-rate cast (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt) to tell the story of an assassin who discovers his next target is himself. While time-travel action might draw in the crowds, this film has much more to offer. Gordon-Levitt turns in an intense, detailed performance, internalizing his costar’s distinctive mannerisms without doing a schlocky impersonation. Emily Blunt plays the mother of a troubled child, and her role is never reduced to that of a martyr, or a reward for the hero. Perhaps most importantly, the command of tone and atmosphere that made Johnson’s first film, Brick, such a success is front and center. -Stephen
Few films from last year were as charming as The Intouchables. Based on a true story, this French comedy/drama brought together the unlikely pairing of a quadriplegic aristocrat and a young man from the projects who was hired to be his caretaker. It's a story that is perhaps predictable, but that doesn't make it any less heartwarming. Omar Sy's performance as the caretaker is joyous, infectious and infinitely charismatic, leading to one of the most likable characters in recent memory. Inspirational and uplifting, this is a film that will leave you with a smile on your face. -Eric
It’s hard to imagine making a James Bond movie worthy of an Academy Award nomination—or at least it was before they turned the franchise over to Sam Mendes, who already took home one Best Picture Oscar for 1999’s American Beauty. Skyfall isn’t simply another parade of action set-pieces and beautiful people—though it has both. Instead, it delves more than any other Bond film into the infamous spy’s troubled past, as well as the troubling past of his employer, the enigmatic M. Daniel Craig as Bond and Dame Judi Dench as M both make the most of their roles, and personally I’m never disappointed to see Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, or Ralph Fiennes on screen. After near-universal critical praise and over a billion dollars in international ticket sales, it seems like only the Academy doesn’t know a superb action movie when it sees one. -Stephen
New films from director Paul Thomas Anderson don't come around very often, so when they do, they are met with a great deal of anticipation. His latest, The Master, does not disappoint. Anchored by phenomenal performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman (both of whom received much-deserved Oscar nods), the film tells the story of a World War II veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who becomes enamored with a religious cult known as "The Cause" (considered by many to be a less-than-subtle jab at Scientology). Most will be talking about the performances for years to come, but this is an audio/visual treat as well. Jonny Greenwood's score is equal parts unsettling and dreamy, while the 70mm cinematography is nothing short of breathtaking. -Eric
Director Wes Anderson's eccentric style isn't for everyone, but Moonrise Kingdom is easily his most accessible film to date. A colorful world with wild and memorable fashion pieces sets the stage for a quirky tale of young love that only Anderson could deliver. The ensemble cast is full of big names—Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Bruce Willis, to name a few—but it's the two children at the center of the stage that steal the show (Jared Gilman and Kara Hawyard). Light, vibrant and fun, Moonrise Kingdom manages to be a perfect blend of style and substance. -Eric
So that’s our two cents. What was the best movie you saw this year? Which films got snubbed? Which didn’t deserve the nominations they got? Tell us what you think in the comments!