Oscars 2012: Why ‘Take Shelter’ 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.

Here’s one of the big things for me when I contemplate my top films of any given year – what’s going to stick with me? What’s a film that will creep into my subconscious and always remain in some fashion? Whether it’s a comedy I’ll return to in years to come (ahem, “Fletch”) or a precise and near perfect execution of genre staple (I’m looking at you “Unforgiven” and “Aliens” and “Manhattan”).

And then there’s the stuff that just haunts you. You don’t necessarily want it invading your thoughts and dreams and nightmares but there it is — proof of how potent and provocative it is.

Take Shelter” is such a film. I first saw it over a year ago when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In the year since it’s the film I’ve probably thought about the most.

Recalling a little bit of Malick and a dose of dare I say Kubrick even (Curtis’ descent into madness absolutely brings to mind “The Shining” for me), writer/director Jeff Nichols shows off a cool and confident direction throughout. And then there are the performances. Jessica Chastain’s awesome year has been well documented and deservedly lauded but this might be the forgotten performance in the bunch and that’s a shame because it’s sublime.

But of course, at the end of the day, “Take Shelter” belongs to the great Michael Shannon. Usually relegated to supporting a bigger name, Shannon gives a veritable master class in this one. At times manic and delusional (or is he?), at others sadly feeble and desperate, his portrait of Curtis is a full one. He’s not a boogeyman or someone off his rocker that can be marginalized. He’s, like all of us, trying desperately to hold it together, dealing with the baggage he’s been dealt, and at times overwhelmed by the pressures on his shoulders.

“Take Shelter” is a film for these times, yes. When the Mayan apocalypse comes, skip Roland Emmerich’s oeuvre and go right to this one. But it will live on far beyond 2012. And that’s what makes it special and sadly overlooked by Oscar.

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 26, 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.