Five Amazing Films From 2018 That Deserve An Oscar Nomination

As the 91st Academy Awards draw closer, the possibility of smaller films being overlooked is always an upsetting realization. The reasoning will always vary, but regardless of why, it is crucial to recognize these films prior to the nominations. With that being said, here are a few of the many gems of 2018 that deserve acclaim from the Academy.

Oscars

Blindspotting

Should Be Considered For:
Best Original Screenplay
Best Film Editing

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal turned heads with their 2018 buddy comedy that doubled as a call to justice for the social climate we have taken a turn into. Equal parts poignant and humorous, Diggs and Casal, brought a script to life that was in the works for nearly a decade. And what is most alarming is how painfully relevant the film still is since its inception. However, this film is as much about friendship as it is about social injustices. The relationship between Diggs and Casal simply feels organic due to the excellent script, which does a great job at balancing comedy with dramatic elements yet never sacrificing one aspect for the other.

Daveed Diggs as Collin and Rafael Casal as Miles in Carlos López Estrada’s BLINDSPOTTING.

The story Blindspotting wants to tell is extremely nuanced, but the film goes the extra mile due to some beautiful technical aspects. The editing works hand in hand with events transpiring on-screen and never comes off as forced. Whether it relies on tight cuts or frenetic motion, the two elements are always in sync, and it truly pays off. Due to Carlos López Estrada’s background in directing music videos, it clearly influenced how the post-production of the film went.

You Were Never Really Here

Should Be Considered For:
Best Director
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Original Score

Acclaimed director Lynne Ramsay coming together with Joaquin Phoenix in any regard was sure to be memorable. Paired with an otherworldly score from Radiohead lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and You Were Never Really Here comes to fruition; a hyper-violent premise that does a fantastic job at barely showing any gore yet still coming off as brutal. Phoenix takes the lead with such nuance that every slight action of his demands critical analysis. His character portrayal is exceptionally complex, and it could only work in the hands of a master. The layered performance is gracefully paired with Greenwood’s most profound score to date. As jarring and elaborate as the film and its characters, it simultaneously works as a companion piece as well as its own arrangement.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joe in Lynne Ramsay’s YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE.

Ramsay takes all these components and turns them into another dark blend of a film. When it comes to bleak, thought-provoking character studies, Ramsay is the name that comes to mind. She works with large-scale topics yet conveys them in a very controlled and concise manner. The way she hides violence in the film in such a clever fashion speaks to her ingenuity as a director.

Wildlife

Should Be Considered For:
Best Actress In A Leading Role
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Director

Actors taking the chance to direct always sounds exciting, and Wildlife is a prime example of a successful attempt. Paul Dano’s debut film garnered massive acclaim as it made the festival circuit, and for great reason. The separation between film and reality tends to be tangible, but Wildlife does not fall into that disconnect. Instead, the viewer is left with an incredibly organic and realistic portrayal of a broken relationship.

Carey Mulligan as Jeanette and Jake Gyllenhaal as Jerry in Paul Dano’s WILDLIFE.

This cinematic relationship is brought to life by the marital screenwriting duo of Dano and Zoe Kazan. The adapted screenplay provides valuable insight regarding the household that Dano brilliantly displays from behind the camera. Dano lets the camera linger throughout the film, which allows the audience to be drawn in more as the film progresses. However, the most crucial aspect to this shattered home is Carey Mulligan. Her portrayal as a mother who merely falls apart due to loneliness is painstakingly captivating. Wildlife is a chunk of humanity being exposed, and without her performance, that perspective just doesn’t exist. And while her actions are impure, her motivations are justified, and this allows infinite reflection on her character arc.

Mandy

Should Be Considered For:
Best Original Score
Best Actor In A Leading Role
Best Visual Effects

Panos Cosmatos’ newest film Mandy is one that truly must be seen to be believed. It is a drug induced revenge fantasy that provides plenty of energy and thematic relevance. Not to mention it simply looks fantastic. The overall grainy texture of the film makes it feel like a retro film, yet it feels wholly original in 2018. Multiple scenes throughout the film are also digitally enhanced to coincide with substances on screen. Massive LSD trips are visualized to convey what Andrea Riseborough’s Mandy is experiencing. Red tints are placed over the screen as Nicolas Cage’s Red goes on his rampage. Faces morph and contort on a whim because Cosmatos wanted to give a sense of madness, and it looks fantastic.

Nicolas Cage as Red Miller in Panos Cosmatos’ MANDY.

Cage is fully off the deep end in Mandy, and rightfully so. It is one of the few films where going off the deep end seems wildly encouraged and in tune with the film. The reason being is the pure heartbreak and rage behind the character. With this context, Cage can down a whole bottle of alcohol in a claustrophobic room and scream as much as he wants. By this point in Mandy, the audience understands his grief and is ready to see it come to fruition, and Cage proceeds to give one of his finest performances ever. To match that performance, we received one final score from the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, and it is perhaps his best. Hard hitting, demonic, and full of metal influences, it is truly a score that made Mandy more memorable across the board, and one could not exist without the other.

Suspiria

Should Be Considered For:
Best Original Song
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup and Hairstyling

To follow-up Call Me By Your Name with a film like Suspiria is quite the feat, but director Luca Guadagnino decided to embrace the insanity. He pulled it off. Suspiria is an incredible homage to the 1977 film of the same name, but this is very much a different film. To match the original score seemed impossible, but lead singer of Radiohead Thom Yorke did not disappoint. The dance choreography is equal parts guttural and beautiful to match it. Something sinister dwells within the routines, and the same can be said about Yorke’s ominous score. “Unmade,” an original song that includes Yorke vocals, encapsulates all that Suspiria truly is at its core.

To say Suspiria is idiosyncratic is an understatement, and it earns the title for many reasons. Mainly, this film is jarring in all aspects, particularly its editing. Extremely frenzied cuts and odd angles create a dance academy that clearly has ulterior motives. This confusion is where Guadagnino allows the audience to reside until they are left with their jaw agape at whatever occurs next. It allows for parallel storytelling as well, which paves the way for one of the most discussed scenes of the year. As Dakota Johnson’s Susie begins dancing, she is simultaneously affecting one of her fellow dancers in unimaginable ways.

Dakota Johnson as Susie Bannion in Luca Guadagnino’s SUSPIRIA.

Set to yet another eerie Yorke song, Elena Fokina’s Olga is thrust about and contorted in what is infamously known as “the pretzel” scene. And as if the masterful filmmaking was not enough, Guadagnino simply wanted more from it. Digital effects were out of the question, and the audience ends up witnessing authentic movement from Fokina and an incredible amount of makeup. The end result is sure to be engrained in the minds of those who have seen it, and the brilliant use of makeup amplified the horror tenfold.


Are there other films that should be on this list? Comment below with your thoughts.

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Alex Papaioannou
Alex Papaioannou
Born and raised in New York. I've always loved all things pop culture, but my true passion lies within film. And the only thing that I love more than watching movies is writing about them! Some close runner-ups are: food, the Yankees, and hip-hop.

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