Everyone can’t be a winner, and unfortunately for some really great filmmakers out there, everyone can’t be a nominee either.

With a host of exciting and remarkable films lining up this year’s Academy Awards roster, the competition is as hot as it can get. That said, there’s also several other films released in 2021-22 that didn’t make the cut but they garnered serious critical acclaim. The 12 months between this and last year’s Oscars have seen some truly spectacular ideas and execution across English cinema—with female directors, in particular, stealing the spotlight.

Why didn’t these movies make it to the Oscars? They’re all great films, so we have no idea. Still, these nine films seriously deserve a watch, and are good examples of interesting concepts, solid acting, or even just a plain-old ‘theme park’ experience, as director Martin Scorsese put it.

 

1. Mass (Drama)

Directed by: Fran Kranz

Starring: Jason Issacs, Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd, Reed Birney

Six years after a school shooting, four parents meet to discuss the tragedy—as parents of a victim, and parents of the perpetrator.

2. Judas and the Black Messiah (Biographical Crime Drama)

Directed by: Shaka King

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback

This passionate story covers the events of Fred Hampton’s betrayal—the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in late 1960s Chicago.

 

3. The Dig (Historical Drama)

Directed by: Simon Stone

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Johnny Flynn

Set against the backdrop of a looming WW2, a wealthy widow hires an amateur archaeologist to excavate the burial mounds on her estate, only to lead them to what might be the greatest unearthed treasures ever discovered in the United Kingdom.

4. Last Night in Soho (Psychological Thriller)

Directed by: Edgar Wright

Starring: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg

An aspiring fashion designer suddenly finds herself having elaborate, vivid dreams about a 1960s Soho nightclub. These soon devolve into a nightmare that forms cracks between her waking life and her imagination.

5. Pig (Drama)

Directed by: Michael Sarnoski

Starring: NIcolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin

A gourmet chef turned truffle hunter leaves his exile in the Oregon wilderness and returns to Portland city, in search of his beloved foraging pig after she gets kidnapped.

6. No Sudden Move (Period Crime Thriller)

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Starring:  Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm

A group of 1960s conmen and criminals are all brought together to work on a simple job that goes off the rails, while their own web of lies and intrigue grows deeper with each passing moment.

 

7. Together Together (Romantic Comedy)

Directed by: Nikole Beckwith

Starring: Patti Harrison, Ed Helms, Rosalind Chao, Timm Sharp

A young loner agrees to become a gestational surrogate for a rich single man in his 40s. Across the pregnancy, the two develop a strange, surprising friendship that challenges their perceptions of love and parenthood.

 

8. Passing (Drama)

Directed by: Rebecca Hall

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Andre Holland, Bill Camp

In 1920s New York, two black women with light-coloured skin cross paths for the first time since childhood, with one of them choosing to ‘pass’ as white.

 

9. The Novice (Drama)

Directed by: Lauren Hadaway

Starring: Isabelle Fuhrman, Amy Forsyth

A college freshman joins her university’s rowing team and undertakes an obsessive physical and psychological journey to make it to the top varsity boat, no matter the cost.

 

(Featured Image Credits: Neon, Netflix, Warner Bros. Pictures)