By Naveen Kumar
Feb 25, 2019 @ 12:30 pm
Killer Films

The Oscar hangover is real. It’s possible you stayed up past bedtime to see the final awards, or crashed and awoke to the shock that Glenn Close is still not an Academy Award winner. Maybe you marched with Little Monsters in the street demanding justice for Gaga. No matter who you hoped would win, the morning after the big ceremony can feel like you’ve just been to a glamorous party where you didn’t get a chance to meet everyone. Emma Stone may have looked a bit like Belgian waffles, but it would have been nice to at least say hello, don’t you think?

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Such is the harsh truth of awards season; there simply are not enough gold statuettes to go around. Apparently, there were enough for the controversial Green Book to win three, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which many expected to win the top prize, took home three as well, including two for its director-cinematographer and for Best Foreign Film. Across other major categories, Academy voters seemed to spread the love as best they could, honoring Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk, Olivia Colman for The Favourite, Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody, and Spike Lee (with his first win ever) for BlacKkKlansman’s adapted screenplay.

But there’s only so much love to go around. Black Panther was the only Best Picture nominee to go home empty-handed, but many lesser-known films were also left unsung. From knockout performances to storytelling that will blow your hair back, these movies were nominated for a reason. As last year’s Best Director for The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro, told Hollywood last night, the movies remain great whether they win or lose. This year at the movies is just warming up, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on the best of the rest from last night’s Oscar ballot. Here are the ones you don’t want to miss and where to find them.

First Reformed

There’s no denying that Ethan Hawke was snubbed a nomination in the Best Actor category for his most impressive and deeply thoughtful performance to date. But let’s not sugarcoat it, First Reformed is a very strange flick. Hawke plays a military chaplain turned pastor of a historic church with a dwindling congregation. An expectant young mom (Amanda Seyfried) asks him to counsel her husband, whose nihilistic views spark something of a crisis of faith for the minister. Ultimately, this is a movie about nothing less than the fate of the world, which is likely why it landed writer-director Paul Schrader a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. (Streaming on Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play, or Vudu.)

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Black Panther

Let’s get this out of the way. If you still haven’t seen Black Panther, what are you doing with your life? (Seriously though, no judgements.) It’s now streaming on Netflix, so Wakanda awaits you. (Netflix)

A Quiet Place

Real-life husband and wife John Krasinski and Emily Blunt star as parents leading their family on the run from mysterious monsters who’ve wiped out most everyone else. The blind beasts are only sensitive to sound, so the key to survival is keeping quiet (hence, the movie’s nomination for sound editing). That’s no problem for their daughter (played by Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds), whose deafness gives all of them a leg up, since they can already communicate in sign language. A sequel has been set for release on May 15, 2020, with Krasinski also returning to direct — enough time to pick up some sign language skills of your own. (Streaming on Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play, or Vudu.)

Shoplifters

Japan’s entry would have been a shoo-in for Best Foreign Language film were it not for the awards season juggernaut that was Roma. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s stunning, sideways portrait of a band of misfits on Tokyo’s margins reveals more about the essence of family than any of this year’s nominated films. Actress Sakura Andô gives an astonishing performance you’re not likely to forget, and last spring, Shoplifters became the first Japanese film to win top prize at Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d’Or. Put this one at the top of your queue. (Still in select theaters, and streaming on YouTube or Vudu.)

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Cold War

Director Paweł Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance is another foreign language film leaps and bounds better than several of this year’s Best Picture contenders (including Green Book). Set against the sweeping backdrop of post-war Europe, Poland’s answer to A Star Is Born likewise traces an impassioned affair between a young musician and her dashing mentor turned lover. Only this pair also competes against history, and Tomasz Kot is way hotter than Bradley Cooper. Watch and discuss! (Still in select theaters, coming to Amazon Video March 22.)

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Two of this year’s most underrated performances, by stars Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, just so happen to be in the same outstanding movie. When writer Lee Israel finds herself out of work (already relatable in 2019), she stumbles into a scheme forging personal letters by literary greats, like Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward. Based on a true story and led by two queer characters, it was also the only film among this year’s nominees written and directed by women (Nicole Holofcener and Marielle Heller, respectively). See it and decide if you agree it was snubbed a Best Picture nomination. (Still in select theaters, and streaming on Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, or Vudu.)

RBG

"I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks." If the Oscar clip of Ruth Bader Ginsburg reciting the words of 19th-century activist Sarah Moore Grimké straight to camera sent chills up your spine, it’s time for you to watch (or rewatch) RBG. From insights into the workings of her brilliant mind to a delightful glimpse at her array of embellished collars, this movie does justice to the renowned Justice, which is no easy feat. Just ask On the Basis of Sex, a scripted film about Ginsburg’s early years that was left out of the awards circuit altogether. (Streaming on Hulu, YouTube, Vudu or Google Play.)

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