Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained would have been my Oscar winner. But another nominee who should have won was Quvenzhane Wallis for her role as little tough Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
I've long held a strong distaste for Best Actress winner Anne Hathaway, which makes it even more bitter to swallow this Oscar crime. But award or not, Beasts is a treasure of 2012 and a classic worthy of being ranked comparatively well with the other greatest indie movies of all time.
The large themes of global warming and Hurricane Katrina and abject poverty are captured compellingly by telling the story of this young girl and her abusive but somehow likable and sympathetic father simply trying to get by in the swamps of Louisiana. Their community is called "The Bathtub" and it's an amazing insight into a fascinating way of life that has somehow been under-explored in pop culture.
There's also a small side story of beasts being released from the melting icecaps in the Arctic. This is fantastical, and works in powerful ways that the recent film version of Where the Wild Things didn't.
****1/2 out of ***** stars