The 18 Must-See Oscar-Nominated Films

Dana Covit

Movie buffs, rejoice: The full list of nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards was released today. And, in typical form, the Internet has been abuzz over the results, weighing in on blatant oversights, unexpected inclusions, and predictions of who will take the golden statuette home. This year's list of contenders includes some wonderful works of art and storytelling. It also left off some movies we think still deserve your attention. Below, our must-see list, including some of the nominated films along with the ones that were overlooked. Get yourself to your nearest movie theater, stat.

BEST OF THE NOMINEES

Birdman (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)

‘Meta’ in its truest form, Birdman stars Michael Keaton playing a washed-up comic book hero (hello, Batman) struggling to make a highbrow comeback. From acting to editing, this film is electric and exhausting and simply stunning.

Nominated for: 9 (including Best Picture)

Whiplash (dir. Damien Chazelle)

Whiplash is, in a word, thrilling. Provocative and emotionally tense, the film features a strong and much-applauded performance by J.K. Simmons (who is nominated and favored to win in the Actor in a Supporting Role category).

Nominated for: 5 (including Best Picture)

The Imitation Game (dir. Morten Tyldum)

Admitted historical inaccuracies aside, The Imitation Game is an engrossing, big-bucks style production that tells the important, heartbreaking, and under-acknowledged story of Alan Turing. For this alone, it is worth seeing. Also, Benedict Cumberbatch (for interested parties).

Nominated for: 8 (including Best Picture)

Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)

Filmed over the course of 12 years and featuring the same, actually-aging cast of actors, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is being called one of the boldest experiments in film storytelling of all time. 

Nominated for: 6 (including Best Picture)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson)

Wes Anderson’s comedy is another sign (after last year’s Moonrise Kingdom) that the indie darling is continuing his rise to household name. Come for the laughs and the gorgeously lavish and eye-popping art direction.

Nominated for: 9 (including Best Picture)

Big Hero 6 (dir. Don Hall, Chris Williams)

This touching and truly adorable animated film features the most loveable robot in recent animation history since Wall-E.

Nominated for: 1 (Best Animated Feature)

Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher)

What’s that you say? You haven’t seen David Fincher’s Ben Affleck-headed infamous Gone Girl yet? Hop to it – it’s a thrilling ride, and will likely stir up conversation for a long time coming.

Nominated for: 2

Interstellar (dir. Christopher Nolan)

This mind-bending space odyssey is a must-watch for both its story and theme (a rumination on modern society and consumption), not to mention Matthew McConaughey's turn as a space cowboy.

Nominated for: 5 (including Best Picture)

Selma (dir. Ava DuVernay)

David Oyelowo's MLK Jr. performance in this film depicting the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama is one of the most conspicuous snubs of the year. P

Nominated for: 2 (including Best Picture)

SNUBS YOU SHOULD STILL SEE:

Nightcrawler (dir. Dan Gilroy)

With just one nomination, Nightcrawler, the dark crime flick starring an uncharacteristically dark and off-putting Jake Gyllenhaal, is one of the more unique movies of the year.

Nominated for: 1 (Original Screenplay)

Inherent Vice (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Thomas Pynchon adaptation is a wild, rollicking, often-dizzying ride, and Joaquin Phoenix (snubbed, as per usual) is fantastic.

Nominated for: 2 (Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design)

A Most Violent Year (dir. J.C. Chandor)

The National Board of Review’s Best Picture winner starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac was completely shut out.

Nominated for: 0

The Lego Movie (dir. Chris Miller, Phil Lord)

One of the highest grossing films of the year and wildly inventive, no one seems to be able to make sense of The Lego Movie's absence from the list of Best Animation nominees, and for good reason. It's pure, infectious fun.

Nominated for: 1 (Original Song)

Only Lovers Left Alive (dir. Jim Jarmusch)

See Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star as jaded vampires in this beautifully languid love story, directed by art-house darling, Jim Jarmusch. Somehow, these feel like the roles they were made for.

Nominated for: 0

HONORABLE MENTIONS: SEE IF YOU CAN SWING IT

Two Days, One Night (dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne)

Marion Cotillard, in typical form, is stunning in Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s French release, Two Days, One Night. It’s being touted as her best performance to date, which says quite a bit.

Nominated for: 1 (Actress in a Leading Role)

Wild (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)

See Reese Witherspoon like you've never seen her before in Wild. She she plays Cheryl Strayed, a lost soul (and former heroin addict) who tries to pick herself up by the bootstraps by hiking the Pacific Coast Trail solo.

Nominated for: 1 (Actress in a Leading Role)

Ida (dir. Paweł Pawlikowski)

Set in a majestic convent, the austere, black-and-white, Polish film, Ida, has been called a masterpiece by many reviewers. Look for it on Netflix. 

Nominated for: 2 (including Best Foreign Language Film)

Citizenfour (dir. Laura Poitras)

Centered on infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Citizenfour is favored to take the Documentary Feature category.

Nominated for: 1 (including Documentary Feature)

What movie are you going to be rooting for on February 22? Share with us below!

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