February is the worst month of the year on the sports calendar. After the Super Bowl, there is next to nothing happening. So there was no better time to watch all eight of this year’s Best Picture nominees. Here is how I rank them.
|Tom McCarthy's "Spotlight" deserves the Oscar for Best Picture.|
1. Spotlight: This was such a well-told story. Viewers get an inside look into the Boston Globe’s investigation of the child molestation scandal involving the local Catholic Archdiocese. The cast is very good, the plot is loaded with intrigue and most importantly, there’s an authentic feel to the entire film. Mark Ruffalo plays the role of the bulldog reporter that’s traveling, making phone calls, and conducting interviews to get to the bottom of the scandal. Liev Schreiber is the editor that conducts the editorial discussions. Sometimes it’s easy to see through certain scenes in movies that are based on true stories and notice Hollywood throwing a few dramatic quirks into the film. This film gives off a very genuine depiction of how things went down. Hats off to everyone involved.
2. The Big Short: This one may not win best picture, but looks like a lock for Best Adapted Screenplay. Based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, this film encapsulates the life of four different businessmen who all predict the collapse of the housing market. I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to Wall Street, but this film did a good job of making the world of high finance interesting to a novice. Christian Bale turns in a good performance and proves to be worthy of his nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
3. The Revenant: Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is going for a Best Picture repeat after “Birdman” won last year. “The Revenant” looks like the favorite heading into Sunday night. While I prefer “Spotlight” and “The Big Short”, it’s hard to argue with this one. There were times when there wasn’t much happening and it felt like a slow plot, but that’s to be expected in a survival story about a man left for dead. Ultimately, this only enhanced the suspenseful moments. At the very least, it’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s turn to win for Best Actor.
4. Room: There’s certainly a drop off after the top three. But, in some ways, “Room” felt like this year’s “Boyhood”. This movie has some of the emotional family hooks that “Boyhood” thrived on last year. Brie Larson is a heavy favorite for Best Actress. My one complaint would be William H Macy’s character isn’t really developed at all. Macy plays Larson’s father and cannot accept her son and leaves without an explanation. But in all, I was curious to see where the movie would go after reading a synopsis and ended up thoroughly enjoying it.
5. Bridge of Spies: It’s the fourth film Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have collaborated on as director and actor. I didn’t have a ton of prior knowledge about the actual events before watching the movie. But an American lawyer defending a soviet spy during the Cold War made for a story I wanted to see unfold. Tom Hanks always does a good job, but Mark Rylance was outstanding as the soviet spy and would be my pick for Best Supporting Actor.
6. The Martian: Matt Damon’s films are almost always worth watching. But this one just didn’t seem as captivating. Damon is an astronaut left stranded on Mars and is presumed dead. Satellite photos prove that he is still alive and the rest of the movie entails NASA’s plan to bring him home. As the plan drags on, it becomes increasingly obvious that Damon’s character is going to be saved. It certainly isn’t a bad movie, but “The Martian” wouldn’t be my pick.
7. Mad Max: Fury Road: This film should do well with a lot of the technical awards, but in general I’m not drawn to the action movies with countless scenes of violence. So others would probably rank this one higher. The film’s 150 million dollar budget made for some cool visual effects, but I don’t usually fall for the genre.
8. Brooklyn: Nothing really stood out about this one. It’s a love story about a girl who has to choose between two different lives in two different countries. There wasn’t really another of an attention-grabbing subplot and therefore it didn’t do much for me.