We all know the Oscars have blind spots — big ones. The #OscarsSoWhite protest showed us one of the most glaring in both the academy and the industry at large. With so few slots, so much campaigning required to get on the radar and such relatively narrow parameters for a film to appeal to the academy in the first place (are you a heroic historical drama about the plight of a righteous man? No? Better luck next time), there are tons of films that don’t even make a dent at the Oscars — not a single nomination.
Just last year, “Beasts of No Nation” rode its strong reviews to bids at the Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice, but it was completely shut out by the academy. So were some of 2015’s other most acclaimed films: “Tangerine,” “It Follows,” “Love and Mercy.”
But in any given year there are a slew of titles that don’t make the cut.
A sinister presence plagues a mother and her son following the death of her husband.
Directed by Jennifer Kent.
Starring Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman.
Nominated for two Critics’ Choice Awards, three Saturn Awards, and winner of Best First Film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
Passengers on a post-apocalyptic train stage a revolt against the wealthy ruling class.
Directed by Bong Joon Ho.
Starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt.
Nominated for three Critics’ Choice Awards, two Satellite Awards, and winner of Best Picture from the Boston Society of Film Critics, but no Oscar nominations.
The true story of an unlikely political alliance between LGBT activists and poor miners in 1980s UK.
Directed by Matthew Warchus.
Starring Dominic West, Paddy Considine and Imelda Staunton.
Winner of three British Independent Film Awards, one BAFTA Award, the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Comedy/Musical Picture at the Golden Globes, but no Oscar nominations.
“Love Is Strange“
Lifelong partners wed after gay marriage becomes legal in New York, but it has unexpected consequences for themselves and their families.
Directed by Ira Sachs.
Starring Alfred Molina, John Lithgow and Marisa Tomei.
Nominated for Best Picture at the Gotham Awards, Indie Spirit Awards and Satellite Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
“Blue is the Warmest Color“
A young woman, Adele, is sexually and emotionally awakened by her tumultuous relationship with another woman.
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche.
Starring Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux.
Nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, two European Film Awards and a winner of two Critics’ Choice Awards, two Los Angeles Film Critics Awards, a Cesar Award and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but no Oscar nominations.
The true story of the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by police in San Francisco in 2008.
Directed by Ryan Coogler.
Starring Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz.
One of AFI’s top 10 films of the year, winner of the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, winner of the Stanley Kramer Award at the PGA Awards, winner of Best First Feature at the Indie Spirit Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, but no Oscar nominations
“Short Term 12“
A supervisor at a group home for troubled teenagers becomes invested in a girl who she believes is the victim of abuse.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
Starring Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr. and Kaitlyn Dever.
Nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award and a winner at the Gotham Awards and Indie Spirit Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
The true story of a beloved mortician and his unorthodox relationship with a wealthy widow.
Directed by Richard Linklater.
Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey.
Nominated for a Golden Globe, three Critics’ Choice Awards, two Gotham Awards and two Independent Spirit Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
“Rust and Bone“
A killer whale trainer loses her legs after a freak accident, then begins a relationship with a single father.
Directed by Jacques Audiard.
Starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Nominated for two Golden Globes, two BAFTAs, two Critics’ Choice Awards, a SAG Award, an Independent Spirit Award and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but no Oscar nominations.
A man plagued by visions builds a shelter to protect his family from an apocalyptic storm.
Directed by Jeff Nichols.
Starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain.
Winner of three awards at the Cannes Film Festival, along with Best Picture bids from the Gotham Awards and Indie Spirit Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
Two sisters’ relationship is further strained when another planet is discovered on a collision course with the Earth.
Directed by Lars von Trier.
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Alexander Skarsgard.
Winner of three European Film Awards and the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Picture. Also nominated for an Indie Spirit Award and Dunst won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, but no Oscar nominations.
A comedy about a 27-year-old’s unexpected cancer diagnosis and his struggle to survive it.
Directed by Jonathan Levine.
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen.
Nominated for two Golden Globes, a Critics’ Choice Award, a Writers Guild Award, and a winner for its screenplay at the Indie Spirit Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin“
A mother has to live with the aftermath of the killing spree her son committed at his high school.
Directed by Lynne Ramsay.
Starring Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller.
Nominated for three BAFTA Awards, a SAG Award, two Critics’ Choice Awards, and a winner at the European Film Awards and British Independent Film Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
“The Ghost Writer”
The title character becomes tangled in intrigue when hired to pen the memoir of a former British prime minister.
Directed by Roman Polanski.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan and Olivia Williams.
Winner of four Cesar Awards, six European Film Awards and one National Society of Film Critics Award, but no Oscar nominations.
A supervillain finds himself changed after he tries to use a trio of orphan girls in his latest scheme.
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud.
Featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel and Russell Brand.
Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Critics’ Choice Awards, the Annie Awards and the PGA Awards, but no Oscar nominations.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. There are countless more, and many of my own sadly ignored personal favorites (in recent years: “Poetry,” “Weekend,” “The Last Five Years” and “The Deep Blue Sea,” among others), but that hasn’t stopped our forum posters from listing as many as they can. They’re discussing some of the best movies blanked by the academy, past and present.
What films are you most upset were shut out at the Oscars? Click here to join the discussion in our forums, and make sure to vote in our poll below and comment.