My annual accounting of contenders who missed the Oscar cut is live on MSN. There weren’t any surprises this year. Here’s my wish list of the surprises I would have enjoyed seeing.
Oscar opened the Best Picture list to ten nominees last year, not out of guilt for leaving out so many worthy nominees, mind you, but as a way to make sure the big audience-pleasing Hollywood movies that Middle America (in other words, the Oscar telecast audience) has actually seen would find a place in the show. This year they score with blockbusters “Toy Story 3” (both number one at the box office and one of the best reviewed films of 2010) and “Inception,” Hollywood hits “The Social Network” and “True Grit” and success stories “The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan.”
What did they miss? I don’t think anyone expected “Let Me In,” the remake of the Swedish winter-dark vampire thriller “Let the Right One In,” to show up this year, being both a remake and a horror film, but this perfectly-realized film surely deserves a nod as much as (if not more than) most films that made the cut. “The Town” was widely predicted to be a nominee and Peter Weir’s etched-in-earth survival drama “The Way Back” was the best film of 2010 that no one saw in 2010. But the most egregious absence is Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer,” which swept the European film awards yet is nowhere to be seen on this year’s list of nominees. The smart, gripping, subtly Hitchcockian thriller may have simply come out too early in the year, or maybe the recent extradition controversy simply churned up a belated Polanski backlash. Either way, this is the Best Film of 2010 to come out of the nominations empty-handed.