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Oscar Nominations 2016: All about Best Picture

The Academy Award nominees have been announced, and the nominees for best picture are better than ever.

Big stars graced the screens in the best picture-nominated films this year, and were they great or what? Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Tom Hardy, Charlize Heron, Christian Bale, Charlize Theron, Matt Damon, Saoirse Ronan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, Brie Larson, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and more performed in these films all vying for that coveted title and gold trophy.

If you’re anything like me, you are rushing to watch all of the nominated films before the Oscars air on February 28. But let’s get real. That usually doesn’t happen.

So here is a little bit about the films in case you don’t get a chance to see them, if want to pick a few to watch that look most enjoyable or if you just don’t want to be lost watching the Oscars!

The Big Short
Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, the film is about “four denizens of the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight,” according to IMDb. The Adam McKay (Step Brothers) directed-film also features Marisa Tomei (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Empire), Brad Pitt (Inglorious Bastards, Fury), Max Greefield (New Girl, American Horror Story) and Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers, Hotel Transylvania).  The screenplay was written by McKay and Charles Randolph, based on the book with the same title by Michael Lewis.

Click here for a review courtesy of Variety’s Andrew Barker.
“Adam McKay’s financial-crisis comedy turns a dense economics lecture into a hyper-caffeinated postmodern farce.”

Bridge of Spies
Starring Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies follows an American lawyer who is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court and help the CIA with an exchange of the spy “for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers, during the Cold War.” The film was directed by Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan) and written by Matt Charman and the Coen Bros. It received a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Click here for a review by IGN’s Josh Lasser.
“Steven Spielberg give us two movies and a rebuke for the price of one.” 

Brooklyn
Starring Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lovely Bones) and Emory Cohen (The Place Beyond the Pines), Brooklyn follows an Irish immigrant who moves to Brooklyn in the 1950s and falls in love with a local. But, her past comes back to complicate things, forcing her to choose between two countries and the people within them. The screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by Colm Tóibín, was written by Nick Hornby, and John Crowley (Intermission) directed. This film may not be as well-known, but it has received incredible reviews, including a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Click here for a review by The New York Times’ A.O. Scott.
“Resettling the Meaning of Home in ‘Brooklyn,’ With Saoirse Ronan”

Mad Max: Fury Road
Starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road tells the story of a woman who “rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post apocalyptic Australia in search for her homeland with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max,” according to IMDb. Writing credits go to George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris; George Miller (Happy Feet) also directed. It received a 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Click here for a review from Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers.
Mad Max: Fury Road kicked my ass hard. It’ll kick yours.”

The Martian
Starring Matt Damon, Ridley Scott’s (The Good Wife) The Martian focuses on an astronaut, Mark Watney, who is thought to be dead after a storm on Mars hit. His crew leaves him behind, and he must learn to survive on Mars alone. With very little supplies, he must find a way to tell Earth that he is alive. The screenplay, based on a book of the same title by Andy Weir, was written by Drew Goddard. Although the film doesn’t stray from Damon that much, it also features Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Kate Mara (House of Cards) and more.

Click here for a review by the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern.
“Knowing the premise—lost in space crossed with Robinson Crusoe in lower gravity—won’t prepare you for the remarkable variety and complexity of this sci-fi extravaganza.

The Revenant
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (who I hope finally takes home an Oscar) and the aforementioned Tom Hardy, The Revenant is centered on a frontiersman fighting for survival after being mauled by a bear on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s and is left for dead by his hunting team. The film was directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Gravity), and the screenplay was written by Mark L. Smith along with Iñárritu, based on part on the novel by Michael Punke. This intense film only received an 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (still good) but the acting was impeccable.

Click here for a full review by Cinemablend’s Scott O’Connell.
“Punishing, visceral, masculine, grisly and utterly captivating for its run time. Not for everyone, but it’s a powerful trip, if your mind and spirit can endure it.”

Room
Starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, the film is about a five-year-old Jack and his mother who escape from “the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life” and “makes a thrilling discovery,” according to IMDb. The film is based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, who also wrote the screenplay, and it was directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Room scored a 86/100 on Metascore.

Click here for full review by Variety’s Justin Chang.
“A suspenseful and heartrending drama that finds perhaps the most extreme possible metaphor for how time, regret and the end of childhood can make unknowing captives of us all.

Spotlight
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams, Spotlight is “the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core,” IMDb writes. Tom McCarthy (Up) is responsible for directing and for writing alongside of Josh Singer. The film received a 93/100 on Metascore.

Click here for a review by The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday.
It’s not a stretch to suggest that ‘Spotlight’ is the finest newspaper movie of its era, joining ‘Citizen Kane” and “All the President’s Men’ in the pantheon of classics of the genre.”

Head to the link below to see the full list of nominees!

Academy Award Nominees Announced

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as Natmonitor.com, CheekyChicago.com and FamilyFocusBlog.com.
Contact Meredith: meredith.rodefer@youthindependent.com