Nightcrawler is the story of an ambitious and moderately sociopathic free lance videographer who does anything and everything to get video footage of disasters to sell the pieces to news organizations. The film takes place at the moment in history when the news was evolving from reporting with the highest standards of ethics to the model where "if it bleeds, it leads." It's a haunting movie where we watch a person whose only driver is getting footage make choices that are totally devoid of any sense of morality with absolutely no remorse. This film takes place before social media, before TMZ, and before showing the most gruesome footage became commonplace. It documents the beginning steps into the current form of news as entertainment.
The performances in this film are superb, with particular note to Jake Gyllenhaal and Renee Russo. The screenplay is powerful and the execution was beyond what can be described. I suspect that Nightcrawler was likely a contender for multiple nominations, and simply came up short in the key categories (Actor, Supporting Actress, Director).
The really haunting part of the film for me was my own reaction to it. While I simply couldn't help judging harshly what was happening on the screen, upon reflection one has to ask what makes the film so compelling. When we truly examine our own obsession with the story, we simply must admit that it's hard to look away from the train wreck happening before our eyes, and when we think about it through that lens, we come to realize that we are doing the very thing for which we are judging the characters in the film, even if not to the same disastrous degree. If we can understand our own inability to look away, we begin to identify how news devolved into its current form.
The one is truly worth the time, and very deserving of the nomination.