Ave DuVernay’s unflincing account of civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama is the most painfully relevant film of 2014. Sure, Oscar decided to ignore the director’s brilliant work as well as David Oyelowo’s stunning, wearied performance, but that doesn’t mean you should. DuVernay is a master storyteller at the top of her game and with her stewardship, Selma is a well crafted, straightforward punch to the gut.
Another underappreciates 2014 gem, Mike Leigh’s biopic Mr. Turner, releases to home entertainment today as well. While the films are markedly different, they do share some wonderful elements in common. Leigh’s approach suits the material beautifully as his painterly camera and fluid direction give the story room to breathe, while a magnificent lead performance from Timothy Spall keeps you spellbound. Both boast wonderfully nuanced turns from a large, capable ensemble and both were woefully underappreciated by the Academy. You should give them a chance.