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15 Deserving movies that will be overlooked at this year's Oscars

Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM Central

by Tim Briscoe

For members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the year begins in October, September at the earliest. Release a movie earlier in the year and the nominators will probably forget it.

Does that mean nothing commendable was released in theaters prior to October? Hardly.

Nominations for this year's Academy Awards will be announced on the morning of Jan. 22. Rather than predicting the nominees like we've done before, we thought we'd highlight the films most likely to get a bum deal with little to no attention. Not because they weren't deserving but because they were released at the worst possible time of the year for the Academy members.

Across the Universe

What are the chances this delightful musical gets nominated for Best Picture? Slim to none, unfortunately. Especially in a year with lots of great dramas at year's end. It might sneak a lesser nom.

Amazing Grace

This powerful film really deserves nods for Best Picture and Best Director but it'll probably get shut out. What a shame.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Andrew Dominik deserves recognition as director of this film as does Casey Affleck for his role. Affleck might get a sort-of cumulative nomination for his work here and Gone Baby Gone.

Away From Her

Julie Christie could very well get a Best Actress nod for her performance as an Alzheimer's victim. But why not Best Director or Best Screenplay for first-time filmmaker Sarah Polley?

Breach

This movie has gotten some well-deserved attention on DVD but that probably won't be enough to give it a nomination -- either for its screenplay or for another excellent job by Chris Cooper.

Eastern Promises

Viggo Mortensen and director David Cronenberg deliver another critical hit after 2005's A History of Violence. Neither were nominated for that film and they most assuredly deserve it here again.

In the Valley of Elah

For some reason political films have been box office poison this year. Regardless, this is a fine film that deserves more attention from the Academy than the Tommy Lee Jones and writer-director Paul Haggis nominations it'll probably receive.

The Lookout

No one seems to be talking about this movie in the Oscar race this year. It should be up for screenplay and possibly even for the underrated Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

A Mighty Heart

Because of her celebrity status, Angelina Jolie might get a Best Actress nomination for her performance as Daniel Pearl's wife. She definitely should get one for this forgotten film.

The Namesake

Another early release that won't get a fair shot at Oscar glory. It really begs attention in Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay cats. Maybe even more so an acting nod for Irrfan Khan. Number of Oscar nominations it'll get: zero.

Once

The people who see this romantic musical can't help campaigning for it. It'll assuredly get attention in the Best Song category but it needs to be up for Best Picture as well.

Rescue Dawn

Christian Bale and writer-director Werner Herzog really should demand attention for this unrecognized achievement. I'm guessing they won't get anything at this year's awards.

Waitress

Late director Adrienne Shelly will probably get a token nom in the screenplay category but the movie should be up there for Best Picture as well.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

This movie is perhaps the biggest of these dark horse picks. Director Ken Loach and lead actor Cillian Murphy would be the best choices for recognition in this Irish war story.

Year of the Dog

C'mon, Academy! Give Mike White some recognition for his brilliant writing. Molly Shannon is a great long shot in the actress category as well.

Zodiac

The last film in our list alphabetically and perhaps the worst victim of poor timing. Director David Fincher really needs a nomination for magnificently recreating San Francisco in the '60s and '70s. A Best Picture nod would be worthy as well.

One last, bonus consideration: Ratatouille is a gimme in the Animated Film category but why not Best Picture as well? Critics as well as the general public loved it. It's a great achievement in filmmaking and doesn't deserve to be pigeon-holed in just the cartoon list.

So, Academy members, the time is not too late! Your ballots were mailed the day after Christmas and are due back by the 12th. The power is in your hands. Take this virtual time machine and recognize the great films from earlier in 2007. It is your duty to prevent these oversights from happening.