This morning’s Oscar nominations proved seriously lacking: in minorities, women behind the camera, and basically anyone not a white man. (Seriously, how do you give a best-film nod to “Selma” without also giving a “best director” nod to Ava DuVernay?)
“So who would you nominate instead?” Some people have responded. Andd we’re so glad you asked! Here’s a list of our recommendations of independent movies last year that didn’t make the Oscars cut—and where to watch (most of) them online legally right now.
South Korean director Bong Joon-ho crafted a taut, violent, weird tale set on a train in a dystopian future, in which a diverse cast —including Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer and Freddie from "Skins"—are speeding toward oblivion.
Where to Watch: Netflix
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is luminous in Amma Asante's 18th century costume drama in which a mixed-race girl comes of age in an aristocratic family and struggles with issues of identity, freedom and love.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Lily Ana Amirpour conjures up a sexy, dangerous, lipstick wearing vampire skatergirl in an art film with bite.
Where to Watch: It’s still making the indie theater rounds, so it’s not available legally yet on VOD
Chris Rock wraps up ruminations on diversity and the entertainment industry in a love letter to comedy, hip-hop, and, most prominently, New York City.
Where to Watch: It’s still in mainstream theaters and hasn’t yet hit legal VOD.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Is this U.S. production about dueling French and Indian restaurateurs, which could aptly be described as “delightful,” totally parent-viewing-safe? Yes, but its central premise—a love-is-culturally blind, pro-immigration stance—couches serious issues in a mostly sweet rom-com pill. Also, here’s a source of serious food porn.
The Book of Life
Directed by Jorge Gutierrez, this feature-length animation brought Mexican culture and spirituality to a mainstream audience, complete with a bicultural cast including Channing Tatum, Diego Luna, Kate del Castillo, and Ice Cube. It also accomplished a rare feat: a cartoon that keeps both kids and adults rapt.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Tilda Swinton as a painfully chic vampire who wanders the streets of Tangier looking for her fix of imported blood? Sold. Directed by Jim Jarmusch, the film also features a cameo and music from Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan.
Beyond the Lights
“Grateful,” from the soundtrack, scored a nomination for Best Original Song, but the rest of the film deserves a look. An R&B superstar gets together with a handsome cop in this unusually emotional musical drama directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Where to Watch: It's still in some theaters and not available on VOD just yet.
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.
Arielle Castillo is Fusion's culture editor, reporting on arts, music, culture, and subcultures from the streets on up. She's also a connoisseur of weird Florida, weightlifting, and cats.
Dodai Stewart is the Editor In Chief of Fusion.net.