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Nominated for Nothing: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

Just about every year, brilliant movies are utterly ignored by the Oscars. The Searchers, Groundhog Day, Breathless, King Kong, Casino Royale, Touch of Evil, Caddyshack, Mean Streets, The Big Lebowski, Shame — the Academy has a long history of overlooking comedies, action movies, horror flicks, hard-boiled genre pics, artsy foreign films, and documentaries that aren’t about World War II. This year, we’ll be taking a closer look at films that were too small, too weird, or perhaps simply too awesome for the Academy Awards. These are the Non-Nominees.

The Film: Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a film about White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who witnesses the entire history of the last several decades of race relations from inside the hallways of power. Also, John Cusack plays Richard Nixon.

Why It Wasn’t Nominated: Lee Daniels earned a raft of nominations for 2009’s Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. That film — though generally praised — was dogged by allegations of self-indulgence. Daniels may have taken that as a challenge. He followed up Precious with The Paperboy, still the only movie in history featuring Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron. And although The Butler tackles a whole host of Academy-friendly Big Themes, it’s the precise opposite of the delicate Big Theme biopics that tend to get nominations. This ain’t Lincoln: The film is dense with cameos that run the gamut from ridiculous (Robin Williams as Eisenhower) to more ridiculous (Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan) to transcendently ridiculous (Jane Fonda as Nancy Regan). READ FULL STORY

Netflix Instant: Five movies to stream before they expire


It’s out with the old and in with the new on Netflix. Come New Year’s Day, more than 80 titles will expire and no longer be available for instant streaming.

Here are five great movies you should stream one more time before they vanish from Netflix’s instant streaming lineup come Jan. 1:

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