Oscars 2012: Why ‘Drive’ 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.

I dare you to name a more visceral movie-going experience from 2011 than the gritty, gripping “Drive.” Nicholas Winding Refn’s taut drama outpaced a slow and steady field of contenders, taking audiences on a white-knuckle ride they won’t soon forget. And how did the Academy choose to recognize this well-oiled movie machine? With a nomination for Best Achievement in Sound Editing. Clearly deserved, but falling miles short of the numerous noms it should have earned. (I mean, how did that scorpion jacket not cinch up a Costume Design nomination?) But I digress, because the category we’re here to discuss is the coveted 10 Spot in the Best Picture race.

To be sure, “Drive” would have been the most oddball nominee—what with its gratuitous violence, zippy car chases and pulsing synth soundtrack—in a race populated by heartfelt nostalgia pieces (“Hugo,” “Midnight in Paris,” “The Artist”) and character-driven dramas (“The Descendants,” “Moneyball”). But that certainly doesn’t make it less worthy. If anything, its uniqueness should have been an asset.

Its cast must have known they were making something special too, because each gave performances worthy of their own Oscar statuettes. Ryan Gosling, all steely and stoic, didn’t utter much dialogue, but he didn’t need to—one meaningful glance or one crack of the knuckles conveyed everything we needed to know about his strong, silent Driver. Then there’s Albert Brooks, known chiefly for his comedic roles, who took a turn for the serious in “Drive” and never looked back. I think we can all agree a Best Supporting Actor nomination should have been his for portraying villainous Bernie Rose.

“Drive” also looked (and sounded) like nothing else we saw this year. Eschewing the oft-treaded, glitzy streets of L.A., Refn opted for “real” locations (the Valley!), using Gosling as his real-life wheelman as he scouted locations. Throw in an unforgettable ’80s-esque soundtrack (we’re looking at you College!) and it all adds up to a film that blew our hair back and had us raring for more. Unfortunately, it seems the Academy viewed “Drive” not as the slick hot rod it was, but as the little engine that couldn’t.

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.