The best non-nominated films of 2012

Sophie Epstein

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While the 24 Oscar categories allow the Academy Awards to recognize many aspects of excellence in film, some of the year’s best movies have slipped through the cracks without even one Oscar nomination. Despite the lack of awards hype, these films still deserve spots on audiences’ must-see lists. Here are the best movies of 2012 that won’t be making an appearance at the Academy Awards:

Take This Waltz

In Take This Waltz, Michelle Williams plays a woman married to a happy, nice, boring man, and spends the majority of the movie internally struggling over whether she wants to have an affair with her new neighbor. The movie does not wrap itself up in typical Hollywood fashion, leaving viewers feeling depressed, and this speaks to the film’s power. Williams deserves a Best Actress nomination for her incredible ability to show the audience her character’s most hidden emotions. Some of her best scenes are those in which she has few or no words, where she instead relies on facial expressions and body language to connect with the audience. The script, too, grapples with feelings that are universal (albeit with an unoriginal love triangle) and should have garnered a Best Original Screenplay nomination.

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect was the best movie of 2012. Although the main plotline (a surly, antisocial girl played by Anna Kendrick joins one of her college’s floundering a capella groups) isn’t in itself very captivating, frequent a capella performances and a hilarious supporting cast make the movie worth watching…multiple times. Most of all, it is Rebel Wilson’s portrayal of Fat Amy, an outspoken member of the singing group, that elevates Pitch Perfect to a potential future cult classic. Her quotable punch lines and comedic timing are reason alone to watch the movie. This film deserves nominations in all 24 categories – including Best Documentary Short – but should at least be up for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Wilson.

Bernie

Based on a true story, Bernie takes place in Carthage, a small town in eastern Texas. Jack Black plays Bernie, a sweet, unassuming man beloved by his fellow citizens. But after he befriends the town’s crabbiest old lady, he begins to feel trapped, unable to escape from her grasp. Eventually, Carthage is shaken by the unthinkable. Interspersing the narrative with interviews with some of the real townspeople — not actors — the movie is more hilarious than horrific, and is so bizarre that it verges on satirical. Bernie should have received nominations for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor for Matthew McConaughey, who delivers some of the film’s funniest scenes as a self-congratulatory lawyer.

The Hunger Games

Set in a dystopian world, The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence), a teenaged girl thrown into a game where she must fight to the death with 23 other “tributes.” Based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, the movie could easily have veered into the gruesome, but instead showed only what violence was necessary to stay true to the book. The Hunger Games deserves a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for its ability to live up to the novel’s hype and captivate viewers for the entire movie, even those who already know the ending.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2

Just kidding!