Every year there are a few critically acclaimed movies that go unnoticed by the Academy, and 2017 is no different.

La La Land landing the biggest number of nominations since Titanic wasn’t exactly a surprise – nor was the Academy redeeming itself from the #OscarsSoWhite row of recent years.

However, leaving out some of the best independent productions of the year – while handing out nominations to box office and critical flops such as Suicide Squad and Passengers – was bound to raise a few eyebrows.

Here is a list of some of the most critically acclaimed movies which failed to make the Oscars cut.


Adam Driver stars as a bus driver with a poetic heart in Jim Jarmusch's Paterson
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Adam Driver stars as a bus driver with a poetic heart in Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson

Paterson, Jim Jarmusch

Adam Driver’s performance as an unpublished poet driving around New Jersey in a public bus was praised by critics all round, with The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calling it “a delight” and Empire’s Helen O’Hara describing it as the actor’s “best performance yet”.

But Jarmusch’s “quiet, thoughtful and deeply human” movie was maybe too quiet for the Academy to notice, despite being nominated for the Palme d’Or in Cannes.


Park Chan-wook's erotic drama was not submitted for the official Oscar entry
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Park Chan-wook’s erotic drama was not submitted for the official Oscar entry

The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook

This erotic South Korean romance received rave review across the industry, with The Atlantic’s David Sims calling it “a dizzying, disturbing fable of love and betrayal that overloads the viewer with luxurious imagery”, while Vulture’s David Edelstein named it simply “the year’s most irresistible romance”.

The fact that it wasn’t considered in the best foreign language is hardly the Academy’s fault, since South Korea failed to present it as the country’s official Oscar entry.

That doesn’t explain, however, the fact that neither its cinematography nor its production made the cut.


Ralph Fiennes plays a record producer stuck in his glory days
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Ralph Fiennes plays a record producer stuck in his glory days in A Bigger Splash

A Bigger Splash, Luca Guadagnino

From the acclaimed director of I Am Love, this weird, intimate family movie will be remembered for one of the year’s best performances.

Ralph Fiennes had been tipped for an Oscar since the movie’s Cannes debut, but not even his extravagant dance moves walking the red carpet of the French Riviera grabbed the Academy’s attention.


Andrea Arnold's magical road trip was one of the most controversial Oscar snubs of the year
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Andrea Arnold’s American Honey is one of the most controversial Oscar snubs of the year

American Honey, Andrea Arnold

Much was said about the lack of British talent in this year’s nominations, and one serious snub was Andrea Arnold’s US road trip movie American Honey.

The Guardian’s Mark Kermode called it “tough but tender”, while Peter Bradshaw criticised its omission from the BAFTAs, saying it “left a bad taste”.

Arnold can find some solace in the fact that the film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, even if it did fly under the radar at most major awards.


Certain Women stars Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart
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Certain Women stars Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart

Certain Women, Kelly Reichardt

Another indie hit, Certain Women triumphed at the box office while conquering the critics’ hearts.

The slow-burner stars Kristen Stewart and Michelle Williams in the wide plains of the US northwest, and could have been – together with American Honey – a chance for the Academy to recognise the work of two of the most talented female directors of our time.

Williams did get her Oscar nomination though, but for her role in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea.


Hunt For The Wilderpeople was left out of the best foreign picture Oscar race
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Hunt For The Wilderpeople was left out of the best foreign picture Oscar race

Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Taika Waititi

Empire’s best film of the year, best international film at the BIFAs and a five-star earner around the world, Waititi’s nuance comedy failed to tickle the Academy’s funny bone.

Newcomer Julian Dennison, who plays a troubled teenager stranded in the New Zealand wilderness, was praised by critics, with Empire’s Dan Jolin describing it as a balance between humanity and comedy.

Also notoriously absent from this year’s ceremony is Arrival star Amy Adams, 20th Century Women’s Annette Bening and directors Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese.

The ceremony, hosted by US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, will be held at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on 26 February.