Oscars 2012: Why ‘Shame’ Deserved A Best Picture Nod

Nine films are nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year, begging the question: who deserved a tenth spot on that list? Oscars 2012: 10 Spot answers that question, as the MTV Movies team highlights some of 2011’s greatest films and argues why they deserved a nod as the tenth Best Picture nominee.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Yes, “Shame” is indeed The One With The Penis – Michael Fassbender’s, to be precise. That said, it would be a shame (no pun intended) if that’s all this extraordinary film is remembered for. For some insight into why “Shame” wasn’t nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, we should discuss what this movie is not:

» It’s not a family film (see above re: The One With The Penis). This movie is one hundred percent adult-oriented. There are no brave horses, charming pups or precocious kids in “Shame.” There are only grown-ups doing very grown-up things.

» It’s not populated by likeable characters. The siblings played by Fassbender and Carey Mulligan are two seriously damaged, dysfunctional people who sometimes behave horribly to each other. No heroes or heroines, no hearts of gold – just people in pain who are trying to get through the day.

» It’s not a period piece. “Shame” takes place in the here (New York City) and now. The city is not romanticized or sanitized; it’s depicted as a real place where real people live in the 21st century, dealing with real issues.

» It’s not an easy film to watch. Sure, there’s a lot of flesh on display, but the sex scenes are not what you’d call “sexy.” Fassbender’s Brandon is a sex addict. There’s no love or affection given or taken in these scenes. And there’s also some pretty gruesome, heartbreaking stuff courtesy of Mulligan’s Sissy. Fascinating and engaging, yes. Sweet and uplifting? Definitely not.

In short, “Shame” is not Oscar bait. Steve McQueen’s drama is unconventional, raw, risky and current. In an ideal cinematic universe these qualities would be recognized and rewarded. Alas, Oscar doesn’t live in that universe quite yet. Maybe one day they’ll get it right.

The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and on Sunday, February 25, tune into MTV.com at 5:30 p.m. ET for our three-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night’s big winners.