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The 'Forgot-scers': Films & Performances That Fell Through The Cracks This Year

February 22nd, 2008 11:39am EST
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Michael ClaytonThe Academy Awards are just one big popularity contest, right? Everyone has an agenda, everything is fixed, its Hollywood's Prom and this year Michael Clayton is just the Prom King.

Some of it's true and some isn't, and most of the movies nominated this year are rightfully so. That just doesn't reconcile that so many great movies fall through the cracks each year, for whatever reason, and don't get their just deserts.

They're overlooked, they're under-appreciated, and they're forgotten. They may not be the very greatest ever made, but they still deserve to get let in on the celebration. For many of them, if the mainstream backed them instead of their usual favorites, they may just have a shot at taking home some real gold.

So here are some awards for those that have fallen through those cracks in 2007-8. Call them last ditch efforts to get you to go and see them. Call them the dog getting his day. I call them, the first annual "Forgot-scers."

BEST PREFORMANCE (actor and actress)

The nominees for the Forgot-scer in an Acting role are:

1. Amy Adams in "Enchanted:" It's not easy to be a bubbly singing princess from a Disney movie and not be annoying as sin. Truth is, Adams is nothing less than charming. Her voice and smile carry a character more complicated than she seems. She elevates what could have passed for the worst movie of all time to one of the most "enchanting."

2. Will Smith in "I am Legend:" Anyone can play a historical character with enough research and makeup- it takes a strong actor to play the stuff of legends. Just because the ending of "I am Legend" is disappointing doesn't mean Smith is. As the last man on Earth, he bleeds on screen in more ways than one.

3. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fogell) and Michael Cera (Evan) in "Superbad:" If Damon and Affleck could win together in the writer category, then these two guys get a co-nod for their work together in the funniest movie of this year. Cera's self-deprecating stammering and Mintz-Plasse's "McLovin" go a long way in capturing the soul of pubescent pressure.

But the Forget-scer goes to:

Helena Bonham CarterHelena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd- Sure, she may be married to the director, but Carter managed to take a role that she had no business playing and own it in every way. Her droning singing voice and precise and panged love for the bloody Mr. Todd contain layer after layer of meaning, humor, pain, and pathetic beauty.

BEST SCREENPLAY:

This one has already been handed over to the Cohen brothers, but if there really was a country for old men and that script had never been penned, here are some other potential winners:

1. Dan in Real Life (Peter Hedges/ Brad Epstein: Touching, warm, friendly, funny, and interesting. The script comes first in this family comedy.

2. Knocked Up (Judd Apatow): This comedy manages to feel like you're hanging out with friends the whole time. It pulls off being a crass sex romp and actually heartfelt at the same time.

3. Superbad (Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan): Sure, Apatow appears here twice, but he's earned it with a comedic style that's as refreshing as it is funny. He and Rogan wrote Superbad when they were still kids, hung onto the script, and made movie magic this year while the iron was hot. You have to love the determination that produced the funniest movie of 2007.

But this Forgot-ster goes to:

FractureDaniel Pyne for "Fracture,"- It's not just that Hopkins is creepy and Ryan Gosling is dreamy. "Fracture" manages to hold the clues to a murder mystery right over the audience's nose without giving away the ending or getting patronizing. It goes from being intensely suspenseful, to light and comedic, to heavy and dark over the span of a couple of hours: a forgotten but well composed piece of work.

BEST DIRECTION

The winner of best director in recent years hasn't necessarily been the director of the best film of the year, but rather the person who was best able to bring an artistic unity, integrity, and passion to their work. They get the most out of the actors and crew alike, and push their films past their own limitations, willing them to over-achieve. As a result, the nominees for best director are all winners in other Forgot-scer categories:


1. Best Editing: It's been overlooked this year, but "Hot Fuzz" was one of the funniest movies. Much like it's creator's earlier work, "Shaun of the Dead," "Fuzz" brutally satires its muse with nothing but the utmost admiration and respect. Also like "Sean," it stands alone as a really well made film. Mute it, and you'll be amazed at the fluidity of its rapid cuts and seamless storytelling that lies beneath the comedic genius. Their efforts lead to a nomination for best direction for Edgar Write, and a Forgot-scer for editor Chris Dickens.

2. Best Cinematography and Sound: It is a movie that not nearly enough saw, but it holds the most horrifying and captivating sci-fi images since "Alien," and I'm not talking about "Alien Vs. Predator." "Sunshine" is flat out terrifying and will fiercely grip you. The editing and direction are fantastic here, but its strength lies in its visual and audio spectacle. If you see it make sure to watch it in as dark a room as you can find with as large a screen; blinding images of our sun from Mercury's backyard accompanied with the eerie music of deep space are breathtaking and terrifying. Kudos to nominated director Danny Boyle, and Cinematographer Alwin Kuchler and Composer John Murphy for their Forgot-scer winning performance.

3. Art Direction and Costume Design: Ok, so it hasn't been forgotten as it has rightfully received Oscar nominations (and should win) for it's efforts in Art, but "Sweeny Todd" was bloody beautiful. The forgot-scer nomination nod goes to Director Tim Burton, who deserves credit where credit is due for capturing the disturbingly enchanting world of Mrs. Lovett's meat pie shops, where Mr. Todd hides his victims. Burton deserves extra praise for managing to create and uphold a distinct directorial style that is engrossing and instantly recognizable from "Beetlejuice" to "Sleepy Hollow" to "Sweeny Todd."
- Honorable mention for Art Direction goes to "Harry Potter." I just can't resist seeing Hogwarts come to life.

But the Forgot-scer for best direction goes to…

Across the UniverseJulie Taymor for "Across the Universe,"- Taymor rubbed a lot of people the wrong way by attempting something that came off at times as full of itself or conceited. Sure, it's a movie about Vietnam with little to no consequences for the title characters, and sure, there is an absurd scene in which Eddy Izard seems to mock the whole movie itself as well as everyone who's spent money on it (and not in a fun way), but that doesn't stop "Across the Universe" from being the most innovative and daring spectacle this side of the pond. The whole thing is orchestrated from start to finish by Taymor, who has re-defined the Beatles universe by either pulling out the hidden meanings in their songs or assigning new identities all together. The first, second, and even third time through, you'll find yourself appreciating a truly unique movie experience more and more. Of course, at times, it's all just eye candy.

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