The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, responsible for giving out the Oscars, has often been criticised for being an all-white affair, and the nominations usually don’t tend to prove this reputation wrong. This year too, leading the list of favorites are Damien Chazelle’s larger-than-life musical La La Land, Denis Villeneuve’s edgy science-fiction drama Arrival and Mel Gibson’s war film Hacksaw Ridge among various ‘expected’ others.
As always, drowning in the ocean of big names are a handful of exemplary films that too deserve their moment of glory. We looked beyond the usual suspects and compiled a list of 10 such Oscar-nominated movies that are worth bookmarking for viewing.
- Tanna (Australia, Vanuatu)
The story of Tanna emanates from a familiar fabric—love amidst parental opposition—set against the backdrop of a remove Pacific island and played out by its tribal inhabitants. Australia’s entry to this year’s Best Foreign Language Film category weaves a heartfelt account of lives of people unfamiliar to most, while also being visually stunning.
- The Red Turtle (France, Belgium, Japan)
Animation, for Indian cinegoers, is all about colours and humour. Director Michaël Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle begs to differ. Co-produced by studios from three diverse countries, this dialogue-less feature relies on its superior quality animation and a hauntingly beautiful musical score to bring to you an emotional account of a castaway on a remote tropical island. Nominated for best Animation Feature Film, this one faces tough competition from Zootopia, but is no less worthy of a watch.
- Toni Erdmann (Austria, Germany)
An honest father-daughter drama, Toni Erdmann is one film that satirises the corporate community with extraordinary confidence. Helped by a couple of fantastic performances, this Maron Ade film is Germany’s entry for the Best Foreign Film category.
- Elle (France)
Directed by Paul Verhoeven (known for Basic Instinct and the original RoboCop and Total Recall) and helmed by a very fine Isabelle Huppert, Elle is a gripping tale of a powerful woman’s quest for revenge as she tries to track down her rapist. With an engaging screenplay that oscillates between moments of hilarity and mystery, Elle has earned Huppert a nomination for the Best Actress in a Leading Role.
- Fire at Sea (Italy)
Winner of the Golden Bear at 66th Berlin International Film Festival, Fire At Sea is a documentary about ordinary seaway migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. Its remarkably original writing and frame construction makes it a tough competitor for other films in the Best Documentary (Feature) category.
- A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
Nominated under the Best Foreign Language Film category, A Man Called Ove is about a fatigued old man whose life begins to change post a not-so-brief encounter with his new neighbour. Poignant, hopeful and peppered with light-hearted moments, it also finds a nomination in the Best Makeup category.
- Captain Fantastic (USA)
Bagging Captain Fantastic’s sole nomination is lead actor Viggo Mortensen for his studied performance as the embittered father forced to abandon the protected, somewhat isolated and highly disciplined life he has created for his six children. Having won accolades across renowned film festivals, this arresting family drama is well-recommended for a relaxed afternoon watch at home.
- Loving (USA)
A relevant statement on the 1967 ruling of the United States Supreme Court invalidating interracial marriages, Loving showcases Ruth Negga’s versatility and tremendous screen presence, earning her a well-deserved nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. In view of the present global political scenario, Loving is socially relevant for more reasons than one.
- The Lobster (Ireland, United Kingdom, Greece, France, Netherlands)
Nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category, this absurdist comedy, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English venture, is unlike anything you have seen in the year gone by. In a dystopian near future, protagonist and single man David (Colin Farrel) is confronted with an odd choice: find a partner in 45 days or turn into an animal.
- Lion (United Kingdom, Australia)
Not exactly an underrated film but Lion by Garth Davis is sure to strike a chord with Indian cinema lovers. With nominations across categories including Best Picture, the movie is about a young man’s homecoming from Australia to India as he searches for his lost family. Dev Patel and child artist Sunny Pawar shine in this emotional true story which also stars Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.
May the best contenders win!
Watch the 89th Academy Awards live on Star Movies and Star Movies Select HD on 27th February 2017 at 5:30 am IST.