Every year, brilliant movies are utterly ignored by the Oscars.The Searchers, Groundhog Day, Persona, Breathless, Hoop Dreams, King Kong, Caddyshack — the Academy has a long history of overlooking comedies, action movies, horror flicks, 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: Margaret, Kenneth Lonergan’s long-delayed opus about an Upper West Side high-schooler named Lisa (Anna Paquin, never better) who inadvertently causes a terrible accident that takes the life of an innocent pedestrian (Allison Janney), after she flirts with a bus driver. The next two hours show the complex evolution of her guilt as she launches legal proceedings against the driver, while not fully acknowledging her own role in the tragedy. Lonergan, who immediately established himself as a master of quiet relationship studies in his debut, 2000’s You Can Count on Me, crafts a coming-of-age tale with novelistic richness, showing Lisa’s clashes with her shallow actress mother and her mom’s new boyfriend (Jean Reno, doing his best “Most Interesting Man in the World” impression); her heated foreign policy discussions in debate class; her first sexual encounter (with Kieran Culkin!); and a budding romance with a self-righteous teacher (Matt Damon). How Lisa’s life and daily routine slowly unravel as a result of her complicity in that horrific traffic accident is a beautiful and terrifying thing to watch. READ FULL STORY