Oscar snubs: Cal State LA students recognize overlooked films of 2019

Joshua Letona, Entertainment Managing Editor

With the Oscars coming up this Sunday, Cal State LA students took a moment to recognize some films they thought didn’t get much love from the Academy. 

 “Uncut Gems”

 Adam Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a New York jeweler with a gambling addiction who finds himself biting off more than he can chew as he tries to retrieve an expensive gem, which could lead him to a big pay day.

“[Sandler] did an absolutely great job of playing a horrible guy, like it was so convincing and he felt more than just a character,” said Television, Film & Media Studies major Cheyenne DeWolf.

 She described the film as more of an experience: The film gives you “that headache of dealing with people and anxiety, keeping you on the edge of your seat like a horror film… [if you don’t watch it] you’ll be missing out on a great piece of cinema that will probably be remembered more than the next comic book adaptation.”


Set in New York City, a group of strippers find themselves among wealthy Wall Street types and learn to drug the elite and steal their money.

“It was probably the biggest surprise of last year. At first, I didn’t feel like watching it, but I gave it a chance and came out really enjoying it. The story is too crazy to be true but the chemistry between the four leads makes the film work,” said communication major Christian Cortave.

He noted the film as a career highlight for Jennifer Lopez. “Fans wouldn’t be disappointed as she gives the performance of her career. She should’ve been nominated for Supporting Actress.”

 “The Farewell”

 Played by Awkafina, Billi, the main character, returns to China with her family members when they discover their grandmother Nai Nai has cancer. Instead of telling Nai Nai the truth, the family throws a fake wedding to say their final goodbyes.

“As someone who is out of touch with their own ethnic culture, I felt an instant attachment to the main character. Also, the part that got to me the most was the grandma… when she waved [goodbye] at the end, I couldn’t help but think of my grandma and I ugly cried,” said James Rincon, a Television, Film & Media Studies major.

 He added, “People should check it out because it gives a unique narrative on an American story in a foreign land. The movie is 90 percent in Chinese, but it’s a movie made with a Chinese American perspective.”

 “The Lighthouse”

Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, two lighthouse keepers try to keep their sanity as they remain stuck on an island in which they can’t escape.

Cortave called the film one one of his most anticipated last year: “What was great about this movie was the performances… the production design and the aspect ratio. I loved how it was in black and white because of the setting of the movie. It wouldn’t have worked in color.”

 He added, “Horror fans should definitely check it out because of the originality the director has crafted. Defoe was very deserving of a supporting actor nomination, but it was such a crowded and competitive race.”

Fans often point out films that they thought deserved more recognition. Ultimately, experts say it depends on which studios have the money to push an Oscar campaign. Hopefully, during this weekend’s star-studded event, the most overlooked films will be remembered by those who appreciate good cinema.