THE 2016 NOMINEES: Best Picture

Photo: Open Road Films

Photo: Open Road Films

Chris Luckett

There are just two days left until the Oscars. Have you had trouble finding time to catch up on all the nominated movies? Still want to be able to join in the Oscar conversations at work? Look no further than this six-part guide to the major categories. Today, I look at the nominees for Best Picture.


THE BIG SHORT

The Gist: A handful of savvy investors/financial prodigies discover the subprime mortgage crisis is going to hit and decide to make the most they can off of Big Business and Wall Street by betting against the market.
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: PGA Award (W), AFI Top 10 (W), Critics’ Choice Award (N), British Academy Film Award (N), Golden Globe Award (N)
Chances of Winning: While most talk has revolved around Spotlight and The Revenant, The Big Short’s PGA win could be an indication of a surprise upset Sunday night.


BRIDGE OF SPIES

The Gist: In 1960, a lawyer (Tom Hanks) is hired to defend a Soviet KGB (Mark Rylance) spy after his American capture — and then tasked with handling a prisoner exchange in Berlin involving the very same spy.
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: AFI Top 10 (W), PGA Award (N), Critics’ Choice Award (N), British Academy Film Award (N)
Chances of Winning: No chance.


BROOKLYN

The Gist: A young Irish woman (Saorise Ronan) immigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950s, but finds herself torn between the love of an American (Emory Cohen) and an Irishman back home (Domnhall Gleeson).
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: British Academy Film Award (W), PGA Award (N), Critics’ Choice Award (N), Canadian Screen Award (Pending)
Chances of Winning: Not likely; if it wins a major award, it’ll either be Best Actress or Best Adapted Screenplay.


MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

The Gist: Part reboot and part sequel, Mad Max: Fury Road finds the strong-and-silent Max (Tom Hardy) teaming up with the even stronger Furiosa (Charlize Theron) on a bombastic car chase to a post-apocalyptic paradise.
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: National Board of Review Award (W), AFI Top 10 (W), PGA Award (N), Critics’ Choice Award (N), Golden Globe Award (N)
Chances of Winning: Good, but not as good as The Revenant or Spotlight.


THE MARTIAN

The Gist: An astronaut (Matt Damon) left for dead on Mars has to figure out not just how to let NASA know he’s alive, but also how to use every piece of scientific knowledge he has to survive the four years it’ll take for a rescue mission.
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: Golden Globe Award (W), AFI Top 10 (W), PGA Award (N), Critics’ Choice Award (N)
Chances of Winning: Quite possible; with many feeling director Ridley Scott was robbed of a Best Director nomination (which many expected him to ultimately win), an Argo-like groundswell for Best Picture to remedy Scott’s snub is entirely conceivable.


THE REVENANT

The Gist: Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fur trapper who, after suffering a bear mauling, watches helplessly as his son is killed by another trapper (Tom Hardy) and sets out on a quest of revenge across the wilderness.
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: British Academy Film Award (W), Golden Globe Award (W), PGA Award (N), Critics’ Choice Award (N)
Chances of Winning: Spotlight or The Big Short could overtake it, but the way the wind is blowing, Best Picture is The Revenant’s to lose.


ROOM

The Gist: A young woman (Brie Larson) — who was abducted as a teenager and has been kept prisoner in a garden shed for seven years — and her five-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay) struggle to find comfort, both in captivity and out of it.
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: Canadian Screen Award (Pending), Critics’ Choice Award (N), Golden Globe Award (N)
Chances of Winning: Don’t be fooled by Lenny Abrahamson’s Best Director nomination; Room has no shot at winning Best Picture.


SPOTLIGHT

The Gist: The investigative unit of the Boston Globe uncovers the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sex abuse in 2002 and fight against near-insurmountable odds to expose it.
Lead-Up Best Picture Awards: Critics’ Choice Award (W), British Academy Film Award (N), Golden Globe Award (N)
Chances of Winning: Very good; if there’s any movie that can steal the Best Picture trophy from The Revenant, it’s Spotlight.


Part 1: Best Supporting Actor
Part 2: Best Supporting Actress
Part 3: Best Director
Part 4: Best Actor
Part 5: Best Actress

(Cover photo: Twentieth Century Fox)

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