Disclaimer: I haven’t seen every single movie from 2018 yet. So, this list is based on the movies that I have watched.
Every year people say that they don’t care about the Oscars. Experts say that the condition of the Academy is on the decline and it’ll become obsolete within a few years. But the truth of the matter is that we still look up to it because of its history and its ability to bring a lot of unknown gems to the public eye.
In my opinion, this year‘s Oscars was absolutely rubbish. And the reason’s two-part. Firstly, some of my favourite movies weren’t nominated. And secondly, the Academy ended up awarding some of the most popular movies of 2018 (which have already been awarded via hoards of box-office money), thereby muffling the work of many other talented creators.
Now, I can’t do anything about the financial performance of these movies. But I can shine the spotlight on them. So, here are 20 movies that didn’t get any Oscar-love but deserves a ton of attention and appreciation.
1. ‘Hereditary’ (dir. Ari Aster)
A story about a dysfunctional family that talks about the flaws that we inherit from our parents absolutely thrilled me. And on top of that, it had some brilliant performances, scares, direction, set design and editing.
2. ‘Revenge’ (dir. Coralie Fargeat)
Bollywood had destroyed rape-revenge movies. But Fargeat showed that if done well, it can make you bite your nails out of fear (even if you aren’t a nail-biter) while you drool because of the gritty performances and practical effects.
3. ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ (dir. Christopher McQuarrie)
Although I’ve extensively covered what’s good about ‘Fallout‘, here’s me saying again that it’s the best action movie of all time. Everything from the direction to the acting, the stunt work, the editing and the score absolutely slaps!
4. ‘Aquaman’ (dir. James Wan)
I’m not going to sit here and state that Wan’s blockbuster should’ve won the Best Picture award. But it should be lauded for its bombastic action set-pieces, production design, perfect VFX and lip-smacking cinematography.
5. ‘You Were Never Really Here’ (dir. Lynne Ramsay)
After watching so many action movies about assassins over the years, it was refreshing to see it get deconstructed right before my eyes. The highlight of the film is Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) pacifying his mother’s killer as he dies.
6. ‘Paddington 2’ (dir. Paul King)
A cuddly bear goes around London to find a gift for his aunt (while being chased by the talented Hugh Grant), transforms the lives of anyone who comes in touch with his positive aura and pays homage to the great Charlie Chaplin. Need I say more?
7. ‘Unsane’ (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
I am willing to bet the maximum amount of footage on your iPhone (if you have one) is 15 minutes, right? Soderbergh created a feature-length movie, injected it with great set design and showed the horrors of modern-day voyeurism. Also, Claire Foy is mind-blowing in it.
8. ‘Mandy’ (dir. Panos Cosmatos)
Do you want to get high without putting any drugs in your body? Then turn off the lights, put this movie on and take in the psychedelic, rage-filled journey that’s helmed by the enigmatic Nic Cage. I swear you won’t be disappointed.
9. ‘American Animals’ (dir. Bart Layton)
This real-life tale mixes cinematic storytelling with a documentary to give a unique, nerve-wracking, emotional and exciting heist movie. If you’ve ever stolen anything in your life, the cast and crew will remind you about that sickening feeling you had while doing it.
10. ‘Searching’ (dir. Aneesh Chaganty)
If somebody told me that a movie that’s only told through computer and mobile screens is good, I wouldn’t have believed them. But here I am praising this John Cho-starrer that will scare the hell out of you with its revolutionary storytelling method.
11. ‘Sorry To Bother You’ (dir. Boots Riley)
David Fincher told us where we are heading as a society and we didn’t listen to him. So, Boots Riley’s quirky social drama is here to show us the repercussions of accepting consumerism, while telling a cautionary tale about modern-day racism and classism.
12. ‘Eighth Grade’ (dir. Bo Burnham)
Indians might find it a bit difficult to relate to the school-life of Kayla Day (performed impressively by Elsie Fisher) because it’s so posh. However, the awkwardness, goofiness, emotional complexities and style of communication that’s associated with that age-group is captured accurately by debutant director Bo Burnham.
13. ‘Private Life’ (dir. Tamara Jenkins)
You’ve probably seen Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti in numerous big-budget movies. But it’s this small-scale venture that brings out the best in them in terms of acting. And, given the spike in fertility centres around the world, the story itself is incredibly relevant.
14. ‘Tully’ (dir. Jason Reitman)
Saying anything about the movie will be a spoiler. All I can say is that it features a career-defining performance by the gorgeous Charlize Theron and a twist that you’ll not see coming. At least I didn’t.
15. ‘Suspiria’ (dir. Luca Guadagnino)
How can a director make something as soft and warm as ‘Call Me By Your Name’ and follow it up with this nightmarish journey that has feminism, witchcraft, breathtaking dance performances and editing that simulates an otherworldly sexual feeling swirling in it is beyond me. See it to believe it.
16. ‘Soni’ (dir. Ivan Ayr)
The two probable reasons why the Academy didn’t nominate this movie is because they hate Indian movies or they haven’t watched it. Because this dark, atmospheric look into the underbelly of Delhi through the eyes of two female cops is peak Indian cinema.
17. ‘The Old Man & the Gun’ (dir. David Lowery)
I’ve been a fan of Robert Ford since his ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ days. And to see him bow out in such a charming fashion was an absolute treat for my soul. His chemistry with Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek is really endearing as well.
18. ‘Boy Erased’ (dir. Joel Edgerton)
Edgerton’s second directorial venture looks into the hideous world of conversion therapy. It has some stirring performances by Lucas Hedges and the rest of the cast, and moments that will definitely bring you to a full sob.
19. ‘Blindspotting’ (dir. Carlos López Estrada)
This movie has been seared into my mind ever since I’ve watched it. It has humour, eye-opening social commentary and the electric duo of Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. And as if that isn’t enough, Estrada throws in a climax that will shake you to your core.
20. ‘Thunder Road’ (dir. Jim Cummings)
Jim Cummings has directed, written and acted in this movie, and has excelled in every single one of those roles. It’s a completely performance-based story, with some great editing, that shows a police officer come to terms with his mother’s death and redefine himself as a person for the sake of his daughter.
Honourable mentions: ‘First Man’, ‘A Quiet Place’ and ‘Isle of Dogs’. Although these movies have received a little Oscar love, I believe that they should get a lot of praise because ‘First Man’ has more than just good VFX, ‘A Quiet Place’ has more than just good sound editing and ‘Isle of Dogs’ has more than just good animation.
The Oscars are supposed to feature the finest motion picture in terms of filmmaking. And if they refuse to understand that, the best thing that we film-lovers can do is create more awareness about the films that have been overlooked or underappreciated. So, what are your thoughts on this list? And what are the movies from 2018 that you think was deserving of a nom? Let us know in the comments.