A Review of Oscar Rejects

By Elizabeth Lee '16
Film Columnist

Tom Hanks in Castaway. Photo courtesy of parade.com

Tom Hanks in Castaway. Photo courtesy of parade.com

After all the glitz and glamour that is Oscar season, there are those few films left standing with their golden statues and those who must humbly step to the side.  This year’s ‘Oscar Rejects’ — which include American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash — have made way for Birdman’s spotlight but are joining the ranks of Citizen Kane, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Third Man, To Kill a Mockingbird and many other beloved favorites.  To celebrate The Academy Awards’ history of Oscar Rejects, here’s a list of nominations that did not win but that are definitely worth the watch:

Sunset Boulevard (1950)-Billy Wilder
Premise: Norma Desmond and all the other fading stars of the silent film era go a little mad as a young screenwriter both captivates her and threatens the continued glory of her past successes.
Starring: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Cecil B. DeMille
Memorable Line: “I am big.  It’s the pictures that got small.”

High Noon (1952) - Fred Zinnemann
Premise: “Wait, wait alone.  I do not know what fate awaits me.  I only know I must be brave.  For I must face a man who hates me...or lie a coward in my grave.”
Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly
Memorable Line: (from the film’s theme song) “Do not forsake me, Oh my darling.”

The Elephant Man (1980) - David Lynch
Premise: A beautiful, black and white account of the life of Joseph Merrick, who posed that his deformations, disabilities and enormous head size were the result of his being full of so many dreams.
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft
Memorable Line: “I am not an animal!  I am a human being!”

Fargo (1996) - Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Premise: This is a true story!  ...Just kidding.  The Coen Brothers infuse a dark sense of humor into some of Midwestern America’s most disturbing and ridiculous crimes as a pregnant police chief begins tracking a feeble car salesman who hires two men to kidnap his wife.
Starring: Frances McDormand, William Macy, Steve Buscemi, Harve Presnell, Peter Stormare
Memorable Line: “So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there.  And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper.  And those three people in Brainerd.  And for what?  For a little bit of money.  There’s more to life than a little money, you know.  Dont’cha know that?  And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day.  Well.  I just don’t understand it.”

Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) - Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
*One of the first feature-length Disney Animated films to not be nominated for Best Picture. However, it was nominated for Best Musical Score.
Premise: By far one of the best and most underappreciated Disney movies and considered by many to be quite the unfounded snub!  Complete with religious undertones, the brilliant bells of Alan Menken’s music, vague reference to French literature, an outcast protagonist who isn’t fulfilled by romantic happy ending, and a singing George Costanza!
Starring: Tom Hulce, Tony Jay, Demi Moore, Paul Kandel, Kevin Kline, Jason Alexander
Memorable Line: (sung) “So, here is a riddle to guess if you can, sing the bells of Notre Dame--What makes a monster and what makes a man?”

Cast Away (2000) - Robert Zemeckis *Nominated for Best Actor, not for Best Picture
Premise: Only Tom Hanks can make you choke up by clinging to a raft, crying out to a volleyball with a face painted on it.
Starring: Tom Hanks
Memorable Line: “I’m sorry, Wilson!  Wilson, I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!”

Wolf of Wall Street (2013) - Martin Scorsese
Premise: It’s ‘Goodfellas,’ but with stockbrokers instead of gangsters.  The most impressive and simultaneously depressing/hilarious display of immense debauchery.  Although, come on, Scorsese, can we have a few female protagonists?  Or really even just some women characters who aren’t cluelessly objectified?
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
Memorable Line: “Sell me this pen.”