2016 Oscars Preview: Best Picture

The Nominees:

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

What should win: Spotlight.  So this year we are given eight nominees for Best Picture out of a possible ten slots, which is the fewest (along with last year) that we’ve had since the Academy expanded the category in 2010.  Whittling down the list, Brooklyn, Room, and Bridge of Spies all fall into the category of “Just Happy To Be Nominated.”  Of the remaining five, The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road are the populist nominees that received the most attention from moviegoers in 2015, but as successful as they are, they are unlikely to win, despite their quality and mass appeal.  Essentially, this is and has been a three picture race from the start between The Big Short, The Revenant, and SpotlightThe Big Short impressed me and told an important story and had a flair and vibrancy to it that made it entertaining.  The Revenant is the popular choice and is boosted by the groundswell of support for DiCaprio and Inarritu.  But for me, Spotlight is the deserving winner for how great the performances are, and how it embodied that story and the people who did that hard investigative work.

What will win: The Revenant.  The momentum for The Revenant is, I think, too great for Spotlight or The Big Short to overcome.  It wasn’t my favorite movie, and I think it is a little overrated, but given the acting, the directing, the cinematography on display, and the fact that it is a relative commercial hit, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that The Revenant will take home the Academy’s top prize Sunday night.

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