It was a very good year for films. Perhaps too good. Of the eight pictures nominated two, Spotlight and The Big Short are worthy of Best Picture awards. When that happens it creates the possibility that a lesser film like Mad Max or The Revenarent might win in a split vote In January USA Today touted Mad Max as the Best Picture of the year.
Leonardo DiCaprio the star of Revenant is favored for Best Actor and the Director Alejandro G. Inarritu. (Last year's winner) is a favorite for Best Director.
Oscar's recent trend of sharing the wealth among the nominated films may end this year drowning in a sea of too many good films confusion .
It might help to think of four best films as twins which in fact they are.
The Big Short is essentially a caper movie similar to the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis original Oceans 11 of the 1960's . Then the plan is to knock off every Casino in Las Vegas in a single night.
With an equally stellar cast, the Big Short plans to do the same thing on Wall Street and with a tad of moral equivocating walk away with Billions. Legally. For non the financial expert the finer points of how they are to do so is casually are cleverly explained in the film. For example
a lady in a bubble bath pauses to takes viewers through finer points of sub prime mortgages.
There is no glitz or glamor to Spotlight which is rated "R" for subject matter. It is a Working person's movie set in Boston. The Spotlight is the investigation journalism side of the paper as opposed to news which is called "Metro". Years before the paper went down the same path only to bail at the last moment and "dump" provocative the story in Metro" where it got lost in magnitude of everyday news.
Neither the the ensable cast of either movie realizes the magnitude of what they are taking on. In both cases the information they seek can be found directly in front of them and readily available to them via a computer or a public directory.
Both movies are Best Picture caliber films but this writer would give a slight edge to Spotlight. While there are women newspaper reporters, both films are essentially guy movies.
Room and Brooklyn are Chick flicks but they will enjoy them too. There is not much that I can say about a movie titled not "the Room" or "A Room" but just "Room"without giving away too much much the movie but clearly it is the third best of the nominees for Best Picture. Brie Larson the star is excellent as is the writing, the direction and a the rest of a mostly female cast.
Were it not for the Picture being a virtual remake of 1940 movie Kitty Foyle staring Ginger Rodgers as an Irish American working girl (way back when women didn't work) and with romantic decisions to make, the picture might have rate higher. Trivia wise IMB says Brooklyn star Satires Ronan was considered for the role played by Brie Larson. In Room. One wonder how that might have worked out.
The movie Kitty Foyle was told mainy in flash backs using a snow globe to indicate shifts in time. A year later Citizen Kane would use the technique. In 1940 Ginger Rogers got the Oscar for Best Actress topping Betty Davis ( The Letter),
Joan Fountane (Rebbeca), Katherine Hepburn (Philadelphia Story) and Martha Scott (Our Town).
Bridge of Spies is an excellent cold war movie directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks (Neither were nominated. Who was was Mark Rylance who according to one critic stole every scene he was in for a Supporting Actor Nomination. We agree. Rylance is also a three time Tony Award winning actor.
Mad Max and The Martian are 3D special effects films which aside from those effects the air author found boring.
This writer has not seen Revenant and is in essence boycotting the film for leaving the theaters early and making itself available only as a "pre-order ( meaning you have to buy it to see it) on Oscar weekend. The writer regrets any inconvenience this last item may caused the reader.