Should Have Been Best Picture 2011-2012

This year’s Academy Awards has been met with some disdain from fellow film bloggers for obvious snubs, so YAM Magazine is even later with this yearly tradition of  Should Have Been Best Picture!

We asked other film fans to send in their picks on films that should have been nominated — the one condition? Replace one of the nominees~

Picked by: Juan Barquin

Take Shelter

Take Shelter is one of the most overlooked and yet most impressive films of 2011. It is, quite honestly, a crime that it is not nominated this year for a single Academy Award because it has more than you’d expect.

Michael Shannon delivers a performance that quite literally leaves you shaking. Few men can dive into the role of a terrified man who is slowly losing his mind in such a realistic form. As for Chastain, it’s probably her best role of the long line of characters this year — but she’s nominated for The Help instead.

It’d be impossible to say that I’ve ever been as anxious watching a movie as I was during every minute of Take Shelter. The story, the music, the look, and the feel are all so haunting — I think it’s definitely worth more than just a Best Picture nomination.

Replacing: The Help

Picked by: Candice Frederick from Reel Talk


Shame. The black sheep of films this year, which left many breathless and others uncomfortably affected, was punctuated by a passionate portrayal of a sex addict by Michael Fassbender in an equally unflinching movie bravely directed by Steve McQueen.

Replacing: Moneyball

Picked by: Rodrigo Salazar


Melancholia was more than just a film about the end of the world. It also explored serious depression through sisters Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) as death becomes inevitable.

Regardless of what you think of Lars von Trier after his Nazi comments, he managed to pulled off a beautifully shot Academy Awards-worthy film that is enhanced by its dark mood, atmosphere, sound editing and powerful performances from both Dunst and Gainsbourg.

Replacing: The Descendants

Picked by: Juan Barquin

The Muppets

On occasion, we’re lucky enough to have a “kids” film sneak its way into the Best Picture nomination and this is one of those years that it genuinely should have happened.

Filled to the brim with musical numbers, great jokes, and a genuinely friendly message, The Muppets is undoubtedly one of those films that’s wholeheartedly entertaining. Everything about it contributes to that experience of pure enjoyment — whether it’s the puppetry or the screenplay that Segel and Stoller penned that Jim Henson would be proud of.

In addition to that, you’ve got some great work from Bret McKenzie in terms of the original songs — one of which scored a nomination this year — as well as more cameos than anyone could possibly imagine. It’s fun, it’s friendly, and while it’s not a pick many would expect to make the cut, it’s far better than quite a few nominees this year.

Replacing: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Picked by: Amy

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Don’t even get me started on how Tilda Swinton was totally snubbed in the Best Actress category, considering she has the best female performance in any movie this year. Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel is a thought-provoking film about the nature of a soon-to-be mass murderer and his troubled relationship with his mother.

As the audience keeps asking themselves whether Swinton’s character, Eva, is at all to blame, we wonder through it all if Kevin was actually born this evil. The acting (most of all the acting), subject matter and a strong script is what keeps We Need to Talk About Kevin from being an easily forgettable film that we won’t be talking about for years to come.

Replacing: War Horse

Picked by: Joel Burman from Deny Everything


An atmospherical masterpiece that feels like it time-traveled from the late 70’s or early 80’s. It has some great acting in it, especially from Albert Brooks, who impresses by playing a ruthless gangster that’s miles from his usual comic relief parts.

However, the big strength of Drive lies in the overall atmosphere, as mentioned earlier. All the elements — cinematography, editing, sound design, score etc. — align great with each other, elevating it to a higher level. Certainly Academy Awards worthy.

If you liked Drive make sure to check out The Stuntman [Trailer], which certainly inspired Winding Refn.

Replacing: The Tree of Life

21 Responses

  1. amy says:

    Even if I do say so myself – this is a damn fine alternate list for this year’s nominees.

  2. Julyssa says:

    I don’t know about replacing Tree of Life, it was good and I think it’s worthy of its nomination. But Drive and We Need To Talk About Kevin were robbed. ROBBED! I can’t wait to see Kevin, I just know Tilda will blow me away.

  3. Dan Gvozden says:

    I agree on almost every single choice here and it is a real shame that films like “Take Shelter” were so horribly snubbed this year. I’d love to fit in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” onto this list somewhere, even replacing a film like “The Artist” which I enjoyed but doesn’t pack quite a narrative punch as a film like “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” At the very least Elizabeth Olsen should have received a Nomination or a win for her performance.

    I do have to take argument with replacing “The Tree of Life” with “Drive” though. I was a fan of “Drive” but not quite nearly as much as what I think is the far richer film, “The Tree of Life.” Sure “Drive”‘s atmosphere is so thick you could cut it with a knife but it operates purely on a stylistic level, one that often overdoes itself as characters stare at each other endlessly without response. I would never argue its a bad movie, its a very good movie that operates as the purest exercise of style this year.

    “The Tree of Life” was my favorite film last year and probably the strongest experience I’ve ever had in a theater ever. It presents a film from the viewpoint of God, something especially strange that I connected to being that I’m an atheist, and in doing so becomes a transcendent work of spiritualism and redemption. We talk about Albert Brooks’s performance as being incredibly strong. Sure, its showy and out of character for him but nothing we have seen before several times. How about the naturalistic performance of Hunter McCracken, a child actor who is never false and carries a 3 hour movie on his back? Or the split mannered performance of Brad Pitt as the abusive yet loving father whose life didn’t turn out quite as he envisioned it.

    I digress. “The Tree of Life” earned its spot as a nominee and in a perfect world its difficulty would be examined and it would win Best Picture. That’s not going to happen, “The Artist” is a shoe-in, but the nomination feels nice and to take it away would be a “Shame.”

    • amy says:

      @Dan Gvozden, I understand your point BUT you also gotta understand the fact that The Tree of Life is 50/50 for people. There’s people like you who loved it and have it as their #1 of the year, and there’s a bunch of other people who didn’t care for it.

      So in your case… which film would you replace Drive with, if it wasn’t The Tree of Life?

      • Dan Gvozden says:

        @amy, Sure but I also think Drive is about 50/50 for people too. “There’s people like you who loved it and have it as their #1 of the year, and there’s a bunch of people who didn’t care for it.”

        I’m just expressing my opinion on the matter and find it odd that “The Tree of Life” was chosen to be removed before something like “Midnight in Paris.” Woody Allen is my favorite director and one whose films I have tried to emulate in my own filmmaking. However if you were to ask my opinion I would replace “Midnight in Paris” but I wouldn’t’ replace it with “Drive” I’d have to go with “Martha Marcy May Marlene” or even “A Separation.”

        Really its all subjective. I loved “The Muppets” so I agree that it should be on the list but I could understand why people might think it is a film of little weight or consequence, although I would argue it is a brilliant commentary on contemporary humor and the importance of nostalgia.

        Really I think the thing I take most issue with is that the category is called “Best Picture.” This implies that there is one single best picture and that the films are all trying to attain the best thing and that their value is quantifiable. If I were really to change anything I’d make the category something like, “Picture of the Year.” This would allow that film to become emblematic of the films released this year and stand as a beacon for what that year in film meant.

        In this way I wouldn’t actually put “The Tree of Life” as my #1 but I’d have to go with “Hugo” as a film that embraced nostalgia, a huge theme of the year (just look at “The Artist” and “The Muppets” for full evidence), while still looking to the future and innovating film in new ways. I think this is how we avoid the whole cock and bull fight over these categories and instead make a more proactive look towards what film really sums up the year and provides a more optimistic look at the power and future of film.

        • Joel Burman says:

          @Dan Gvozden, Chill dude its not like the Academy will do a renomination from this post (which I wouldn’t mind). My reason for replacing Tree of Life was actually for it was the only of the nominees I’d have seen.

        • amy says:

          @Dan Gvozden, if we get picky… how about the “why no more Foreign films in the BP nominations?” I really liked A Separation as well (and a bunch of other foreign films), and it would totally deserved to be in that list…

        • Dan Gvozden says:

          @Joel Burman I’m chill dude. Just discussing my opinion (as you urged me to do) and hoping to open up the discussion. Why post anything online if you don’t want to start an interesting conversation out of it. I’m not sure what you mean by “was actually for it was” but if it is the only BP nominee you’ve seen I’d strongly urge you to check out the rest if you find the time!

          @amy Was that a decision or did none of them happen to make it this year? I hadn’t heard that that was a new ruling with the Academy. If that is so, it is upsetting. Also, picky is what I do! It’s fun to discuss hypothetical situations because its the only way that we can grow an institution that is in desperate need of growth. Although the biggest problem comes from the audience that makes up the body of the Academy. Did you read the LA Times article on how it is comprised?


          Only 4% of the body is under the age of 40. 77% of the body is white males over 50. No women, minorities, or youth. No wonder the choices are a snooze.

  4. Rodrigo says:

    Those are some pretty good choices. :)

    Lol @ me watching Descendants and replacing it almost 1 week later.

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, well… sometimes we gotta recognize when a movie is worthy or not? Right? LOL The Oscar should make US Academy voting members.

  5. I’ve always liked reading the lists of the biggest snubs, but I really love the way that you raised the stakes by making them REPLACE something. That’s a great touch!

    • amy says:

      @NeverTooEarlyMP, it’s pretty easy to make an alternate list of nominations… so I always thought that having to replace something made it more… professional? As if… we could really make The Academy change their votes lol

      It also makes you think about why you care about a film and not the other, I think.

  6. ghost says:

    So… if YAM Magazine were in charge of the Oscar, the nominations that day would have been the following:
    – Midnight in Paris
    – Hugo
    – The Artist
    – Drive
    – Shame
    – We Need to Talk About Kevin
    – The Muppets
    – Melancholia
    – Take Shelter

    I could live with that. Make Tinker Tailor a BP instead of The Artist, and I’d be a happy ghost.

  7. amy says:

    @Dan Gvozden, yeah. Sadly, Most voting members aren’t minorities.

    I would love if the Academy foreign rules would let any number of foreign films to get nominated and not just one picked by the country. Not that it would matter much for voting, but it would def. give it more of a surprise.

    Anyway, I don’t think there’s a specific rule for foreign films for BP nods, but it is fact that the Academy is rubbish at seeing them… so unless the film gets a wide release a la Crouching Tiger, it’s hard for them to get the necessary votes.

  8. Marc says:

    Hahahahaha, love that photo of Gosling. Well done Joel, well done!

  1. February 22, 2012

    […] Yam-mag has a cute round-up piece where they replace the Oscar nominee’s with other films. Check it out as I contributed with one of the picks.[…]

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