Oscars are not really a benchmark of the absolute best films of the year. If you think about it, nothing is. But Oscars are a good indicator of what movies resonated with the Academy members. But Academy members are not be-all and end-all of the world of cinema. They just represent a community of people involved in making of cinema. The connoisseurs of cinema exist even beyond them. That’s why while a Best Picture nomination holds significance, it doesn’t represent film’s ultimate fate — whether it’s a true classic or not. The real judge of a film, as I have always maintained, is time.
So, while the following 10 films from the 21st century may not missed a Best Picture nomination, they are still singular pieces of filmmaking. They will always remain so.
10. Drive (2011)
Let’s say this and put all the arguments to rest: ‘Drive’ is quite simply one of the most stylish films to have released this century. Be it the retro music, the unorthodox cinematography, the languid pace of dialogues or the always “cool” Ryan Gosling, ‘Drive’ has style and chutzpah written all over it. That one “kissing inside elevator” scene alone is enough to convince me how unconventionally brilliant ‘Drive’ is. And to be honest, ‘Drive’ feels like a 1970s gangster movie that somehow was sent on a time machine to be released in 2011.
9. Requiem For A Dream (2000)
‘Requiem For A Dream’ is a movie-viewing experience that you may never have had before — and never will. How drugs destroy four lives who aspire to be great — but succumb to addictions — may seem to be a simple enough premise, but it is the innovative and bold story-telling of Aronofsky that stands out and takes this film to the heights of greatness. Also, few movies have such devastatingly affecting ending as this film does.
8. Children of Men (2006)
Brilliantly written and executed with finesse by Alfonso Cuaron, ‘Children of Men’ is a science fiction thriller which emotionally moves you while leaving you pondering about our future as a civilization and question your own faith and principles. With single-shot, realistic action sequences and unhinged realism and authenticity in its execution, the film set a new benchmark for action films.
7. Upstream Color (2013)
Thematically rich and layered, ‘Upstream Color’ is a twisted examination of love and relationships – how do we function in it, what our love does to one another, and eventually how that’s connected to the nature and bigger schemes of things. Lyrical, mystifying and at the same time, deeply philosophical, ‘Upstream Color’ is as much a technical wizardry as it is a meditative and contemplative piece of art. If ever the art of cinema required a reason or a proof to corroborate that its purpose of existence is much more than mere entertainment, then you don’t have to look any further than this film. Read more ..
6. Zodiac (2007)
‘Zodiac’ is not your conventional thriller — it is slow-paced and focusses more on mood and characters than plot. It is not a film that will leave you happy when it ends. It is also a film where the bad guy wins, good guys lose. No, I am not criticizing. On the contrary, these are the reasons that make ‘Zodiac’ a modern masterpiece. When a film manages to twitch you for full two-and-a-half hours, and leave you thinking for days, it must have got many things right that the routinely made thrillers don’t. In my opinion, ‘Zodiac’ is Fincher’s best film, where he, with his discipline and range of skills, shows why sometimes “less is more”.