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Certain films, whether they’re franchise fare like The Hunger Games or The Avengers, or indie tone poems like Tree of Life or Drive, insist on a visceral, almost inchoate, appreciation. Sure, you can talk about how camera angles frame the director’s ethical perspective, or explore how lighting choices illuminate character, but you’d be hamstringing yourself. When Katniss takes her sister’s place in the arena or Captain America sacrifices himself to save a world he doesn’t feel a part of; when volcanic eruptions symbolize a father’s rage, or a chord of 80’s techno-pop evokes a young man’s inability to feel, we watch our own aspirations and insecurities writ large on the silver screen.   

This list was originally going to include the biggest snubs of the past 10 years, but that proved too daunting a task. Then I cut the list down to include only the past five years, but it still felt endless. The thing is, the Academy overlooks more greatness than it rewards every single year. Blame it on politics, Oscar-baiting or there just not being enough room, but deserving films and performances fall by the wayside all the time.  And this year is no exception.

So, without further ado, here are 15 notable works (give or take) that I think deserved recognition from the Academy this year…

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1.)  When Apple Maps will be able to provide people with a reasonable route out of Syria.

2.)  If the credibility hit to the Mayas will unfairly denigrate the Incas’ reputation.

3.)  If Groupon’s decline in public value inversely forecasts an economic recovery by way of people no longer needing coupons, or if it means people just don’t want to go rollerskating.

4.)  If the plight of Groupon and the potential of a misguided credibility hit to the Incas will result in discounted trips to Machu Picchu.

5.)  If Apple Maps will tell me Machu Picchu is at the Four Corners of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

On the heels of The Master’s nationwide release and a slew of mixed reviews (calling The Master everything from “vibrant and seductive” to “frustrating and flawed”), director Paul Thomas Anderson spoke with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air today about creating his Scientology-inspired new film.

The first full trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, has been making the rounds on the web today (and getting yanked just as quickly).  Watch it now before it vanishes again:

Described as a post-World War II drama loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Paul Thomas Anderson fans are getting an early glimpse this week of The Master starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix looking better creepier than ever: