2016 brought us 732 pictures, and of those, the Oscars selected 9 to acknowledge. We laughed, we cried, and we fell asleep. The Oscars will crown the final Best Picture award of the season. One might argue that the Oscars have become incredibly predictable by the time they finally roll around. With so many award shows happening over the 3 months before the golden boy’s night, the suspense really comes down to holding out for that little tiny bit of a surprise. I’ve seen all 9 nominees and it’s really a solid bunch this year. Sure, it would be amazing if my Best Pic favorite Hidden Figures took home the big award, but my logical vote at this point in the game would be that La La Land will have yet another day of sun. Really, who else do they have to thank at this point?
So from the 732 movies that came out during the 2016 season, I wanted to take a moment to recognize a few of the other 9 stand out films, pulling from the critical favorites, to box office hits, and even a few total flops. Despite what the critics say, I’m a lover of movies big and small. This year’s Best Pictures are all movies that had heart: they made me feel, reflect, discuss, and leave more alive than I did when I came in. That reminded me of my childhood, or made me rethink my future. So with that, I would like to announce this year’s Nominees for Best-Not-Nominated-Picture.
1. Batman vs Superman: I know I know. It could have been more… linear. BUT! It didn’t follow any sort of paint by numbers plot like (cough, Marvel), and not all of it worked, but some of it really did. It was kind of like Sharknado for superheroes. And holy Batman, I can’t think of a film this year that created so much dialogue. Really though, didn’t Wonder Women win over our hearts?
2. Collateral Beauty: I chose to avoid all trailers for this film, because I knew I wanted to see it. It’s an ensemble piece coming out for the holidays. It’s going to be sentimental and likely take itself a little too seriously. It turned out to be incredibly sentimental, which many saw as its biggest flaw, yet I saw it as its best strength. I loved the cast (Kate! Helen! Will and Kiera even!). And out of nowhere, it got my heart: it surprised me.
3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As a huge Potter fan, I had high yet uneasy expectations. This was surprisingly fresh, and they didn’t play it safe: they let the story “grow up”. This is how you make a spin off. The wizarding world expanded in a vivid, and sensical way. I’d even throw a nomination their way for Production and Costume Design! This movie also was my first in 4DX (moving chairs, smoke, bubbles, smells, water, rain, and more!), which just added to this magical experience. So much flying, and diving: heart racing action, anchored in a dark tale of the complications of good versus evil.
4. Finding Dory. This one made well over a billion dollars, so it’s likely you caught this one. Although it was a solid year for animation, the fact that this didn’t even get nominated has me more confused than a forgetful fish. Pixar just has a way of making masterpieces: beautiful, intelligent, charming, funny, and thoughtful. Dory continues to ride this wave, and also brings a huge heart. (By the way: Is this the Becky that Beyonce sings about?)
5. Ninja Turtles 2: Out of The Shadows. This movie literally was a new Saturday morning cartoon on the big screen. Silly, and simple. Krang, Beebop and Rocksteady FINALLY make their appearance, and thank cowabunga, dude, the creators didn’t try to complicate or evolve the characters from what they always were. Thank you for making me feel young at heart, and just get lost in the fun of it all.
6. Passengers. It was nothing like the trailer would suggest, which is what I loved. Instead of the typical action packed sci-fi, it’s a slow, beautifully painted love story in space. It’s quiet most of the time, which was a risky move. It worked for me. At the heart of it, it was the life questions it posed that divided and united my film experience.
7. Pete’s Dragon. The movie that exposes the worst of human kind, and the best, highlighting how our actions do impact the world around us. Plus it features a huge fluffy dragon. If we stopped judging, who knows what might be out there. I think this is the least known of the Disney live action remakes so far, but I would say the strongest. Again, another heart pleaser in the best way possible.
8. Queen of Katwe. I love seeing a movie where the audience cheers, jeers, and tears together. A beautiful story of a young girl who faces incredible challenges, and manages to check mate them in place. A story of resilience, of skill, and of community. My heart!
8. Trolls. A story about where true happiness really comes from, told from the perspective of little 80’s toys. Surprisingly, it works beautifully. It’s exactly what is needs to be: a very simple, heart on your sleeve, catchy, rainbow ball of glitter.
Honorable Mentions of Non-Winners: Birth of a Nation, Ghostbusters, The Shallows, Patriots Day, Bridget Jones’ Baby, and of course, this year’s PIFF Person’s Choice Award Winner, The Hollars.
p.s. Hidden Figures > Zootopia > Kubo > La La Land > Arrival > Waitress The Musical > Moonlight > Manchester by the Sea > Lion > Fences > Hacksaw Ridge > Blair Witch > Hell or High Water
What’s your favorite movie of 2016 that wasn’t nominated? (and remember it doesn’t have to be the best anything!) If you were the Academy, what would you award? Who are you rooting for at the Oscars?! What’s your favorite 2017 movie so far (50 Shades?!!)
My Favorite Non-Oscar Nominated Song of the Day: Another Day of Sun (La La Land)
Cover Photo by variety.com
Becky gif by Huffington Post & Pixar/Disney’s Finding Dory