Movies

Five Snubbed Movies You Can Feel Free To Skip (Plus Five You Shouldn't)

Morgan Freeman in 'Invictus'. i

Not so fast, there, Morgan Freeman. Oscar completists no longer have to see Invictus! Keith Bernstein hide caption

itoggle caption Keith Bernstein
Morgan Freeman in 'Invictus'.

Not so fast, there, Morgan Freeman. Oscar completists no longer have to see Invictus!

Keith Bernstein

As Oscar-watchers sat down yesterday to peruse the brand new plus-sized Best Picture ballot, they got to take in the mix of crowd-pleasers and art movies and unexpected genre inclusions. And then, sooner or later, it dawned on each one of them, and a great cry was unleashed: "I DON'T HAVE TO SEE Invictus!"

Look, for some of us, seeing all 10 Best Picture nominees (as many people, particularly casual movie fans, try to do before the Oscars) was already feeling like a chore. Like homework. And there sat Invictus. Looming.

Sure, there was the possibility it could be great (and yes, it's better to see a movie and know why you didn't like it than not see a movie and just assume you wouldn't), but it just looked preachy and mawkish and self-important and dull and LONG. We've seen Clint Eastwood-directed Oscar-bait before. We know how those movies roll. And if Invictus nabbed a nomination in the top category, Best Picture completists would have been obligated — nay, FORCED! — to see it.

And then came the big ol' snub, as underwhelming but "Oscar-friendly" movies like Invictus (Clint Eastwood! Nelson Mandela! Inspiration!) and Nine (Daniel Day-Lewis! Fellini! Weinstein!) were tossed over for less typical Oscar fare like District 9 (sci-fi!) and Up (animated!) and The Blind Side (Bullock!).

So even if there are still Oscar-nominated movies you don't want to see (a lot of people liked it, but I wouldn't be doing cartwheels over A Serious Man either, not to mention the disinclination you may feel towards The Blind Side), the good news is that so many MORE movies you DIDN'T want to see got snubbed. So rejoice, completists! You're no longer obligated to see the following:

Invictus. Sure, Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon pulled down acting nominations, but neither is a threat to win. And as many an Oscar pundit has pointed out, if you're looking for a movie where racial tensions are smoothed over via success at contact sports, The Blind Side is right there for you.

Four more, and five you should see in spite of their non-Best-Picture status, after the jump.

Nine. The fact that a movie that flopped so hard that Nicole Kidman and Sophia Loren's faces almost moved got four nominations means the bait wasn't completely ignored. But Supporting Actress nominee Penelope Cruz performs a grand total of one song — find it online, make your judgments, and get on with your life. Actually, better yet, find a clip of Fergie belting out "Be Italian." It's the one memorable moment the film offers.

The Hangover. That Golden Globe win for Best Comedy really had some people convinced this would make the Oscar list. But honestly, beyond the huge box-office success that was suddenly en vogue this year, it didn't have a whole lot to it that felt remotely Oscar-y. Zach Galifianakis in his underpants saying re-TARD isn't comedy to an Oscar voter. Fyvush Finkel as a wacky-faced Dybbuk? THAT, dear readers, is comedy to an Oscar voter. Anyway, if this kind of movie was your thing, you'd have seen it already. You haven't, so it's not, and now you won't have to.

The Last Station. Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer are delightful actors. Plummer's Supporting Actor nomination is his first ever, if you can believe that. You can be perfectly happy for them and still feel like you dodged a bullet by not having to brave the old-lady brigade currently holding court at whatever theater is currently showing The Last Station. Instead, do a quick Google image search for a James McAvoy photo, stare at it for a while, and you've pretty much gotten the best the movie has to offer anyway.

The Lovely Bones. Normally, I'd say an interesting failure like this one is worth seeing. Peter Jackson's movie is a strong visual statement, and even people who haven't liked the movie say Saoirse Ronan and Stanley Tucci are very good. The nice thing about this getting the big snub-ola (besides the fact that, ultimately, it fails to create compelling character relationships despite the fact that — SPOILER — that's what "the lovely bones" are supposed to be!) is that even if you're curious to see how it all went wrong, you can do so at your leisure, without needing it for valuable Oscar pool intel.

But enough of this negativity. After all, not only bad movies were snubbed. The year's best movies extend beyond the Best Picture field, every year. So while you've got all that free time not watching Matt Damon score the winning rugby-down (...?) for racial harmony, use it to catch up with:

... the strong performances and beautiful music in Crazy Heart

...or the realistic emotional tangles in The Messenger

...or the absolute feast for the eyes (and a good cry for the soul) in A Single Man

...or the rapid-fire comedic barbs and sharp social satire in In the Loop

...or the dreamy, sometimes scary animated wonderland in Coraline.

If the best thing about the expanded Best Picture field is that more movies will be brought to the attention of the movie-going public, we can hope they seek out and discover some of these as well.

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