10 Dramas of the 2010s That Deserved an Oscar but Got Snubbed Instead
These masterpieces got the cold shoulder from the Oscars, but that doesn't mean they are any less worth watching.
1. A Most Violent Year (2014)
New York, 1981 – one of the most violent years in the city's history. We follow Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), a hard-working businessman looking to expand his heating oil company. He puts down a deposit on a facility that will give him a significant edge in the industry.
But here's the catch: he has 30 days to deliver the remaining amount, or he loses his deposit and the facility. All this while his trucks are getting hijacked, and his sales team robbed. The pressure is on as Abel refuses to arm his drivers, tries to secure a loan, and deals with a district attorney breathing down his neck.
2. Nightcrawler (2014)
If you've never seen Jake Gyllenhaal as creepy as heck, now's your chance. He plays Lou Bloom, an ambitious but socially awkward man who discovers the world of stringer journalism – freelancers who capture footage of crimes and accidents to sell to news stations. Lou is all-in, teaching himself the ropes and even hiring an assistant named Rick. As he becomes more successful, his tactics grow increasingly unethical.
We're talking about rearranging crime scenes for a better shot, and more stuff like that.
3. Wind River (2017)
In the chilling landscapes of Wyoming, U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) discovers the body of a young Native American woman. Enter Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), an FBI agent inexperienced with the harsh conditions and social dynamics of the area.
The duo work together to solve the case, navigating a world of silence and suffering in the Native community. They discover the girl had been raped and accidentally killed by security personnel at a nearby drilling site.
4. Fruitvale Station (2013)
Based on a tragic true story, this film centers on the last day in the life of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan).
A 22-year-old living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Oscar is trying to turn his life around. He's got a daughter to raise, a girlfriend to love, and a job he's just lost but hopes to regain. Throughout the day, we see his struggles, hopes, and interactions with family and friends. It all culminates in a chilling New Year's Eve encounter with transit police at the Fruitvale BART station.
5. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Here's a story of a folk singer, but don't expect any feel-good melodies.
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a talented musician but a bit of a screw-up in every other department. He's homeless, hopping from couch to couch in 1961 New York City. His former lover, Jean, is pregnant and he's not sure if he's the father. His music career is in shambles; even a trip to Chicago to meet a big-time manager turns futile. The problems pile up, and Davis ends up in a seemingly never-ending circle of misery.
6. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Luke (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stunt rider, discovers he's got a son named Jason with a former fling, Romina. Cue the life changes – or at least, attempts. To provide for his newfound family, Luke turns to robbing banks.
It's all high-speed chases and adrenaline until he crosses paths with Avery (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious rookie cop. Luke is killed during a robbery gone awry, and Avery becomes the 'hero' – except it's not that simple.
7. Hell or High Water (2016)
Two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster), set out on a bank-robbing spree in Texas. But hold your horses — this ain't a simple tale of good guys and bad guys. Toby wants to save his family's ranch from foreclosure, and robbing the same bank chain that's taking the ranch feels like poetic justice. On their tails is Marcus (Jeff Bridges), a close-to-retirement Texas Ranger.
8. Blue Valentine (2010)
This film chronicles the love story between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams), jumping between their charming past and crumbling present. Once young and in love, we see them meet cute at an old folks' home and even dance to a ukulele tune.
Flash forward, and the magic is gone. Dean's alcoholism and lack of ambition clash with Cindy's growing dissatisfaction.
9. Prisoners (2013)
Imagine your worst nightmare as a parent – your child going missing. Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, whose daughter and her friend disappear on Thanksgiving.
Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is on the case, but Keller grows increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress. Suspecting a local man with the IQ of a 10-year-old, Keller kidnaps and tortures him for answers. Meanwhile, Loki uncovers a maze of clues leading to a religious zealot who kidnaps children to make their parents "lose faith."
10. Gone Girl (2014)
The twisted tale of Nick and Amy Dunne (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike). When Amy goes missing, Nick becomes the prime suspect. Yet, we find out Amy staged her disappearance to frame Nick for murder, angered by his infidelity and emotional neglect.
The media circus turns public opinion against Nick until he figures out Amy's game. She then manipulates her ex-boyfriend Desi into helping her but kills him to return home as the victim of a kidnapping, making Nick a national hero.