Every year I make it a goal to watch every Best Picture Nominee for the Academy Awards prior to the airing of the Awards Show. Here are the eight movies nominated this year and my brief take on each one. These are listed in order from least favorite to most favorite. Which one do you think is going to win?


The Revenant

This was a beautifully filmed movie, the scenery was amazing, everyone seems to love this movie but I’m going against the grain on this one, to me it was a 30 minute story stretched into 3 hours. I was bored more than once during the movie, in fact at one point I was starting to doze off. That is not the sign of a great movie. I’m guessing people are gushing over it because of the cinematography, which was spectacular, and Leo’s performance which was also very good, but the drawn out story .


Mad Max: Fury Road

This movie was much better than my expectations going into to it. I was expecting just another action movie with little substance, but it surprised me. Both the story and the acting were very good. I don’t typically like action movies but this one was a good balance of interesting action and visuals with a good story. I’ve seen some film reviewers actually predict it could win the Best Picture Award. While I liked I do disagree that it was that good.


The Martian

After reading the book I was very excited to see that it was going to be made into a movie. I was doubly excited when I heard that Ridley Scott would be the director. The visuals in the movie were fantastic and better than I could hope for. Matt Damon did a great job playing Mark Watney. But I was disappointed. Movies are never better than the book and I expected that, but the parts of the book they cut out of the movie were the parts that made it a great book, the tension. The book was full of tension and you were never sure how Watney was going to get out of a situation. The movie had zero tension. There was never a point in the movie where I felt like Watney wasn’t going to make it. As I said the visuals and special effects were great but the story never grabbed me.



Room was a very good movie and although it was depressing I did enjoy it. I won’t give any spoilers, but I enjoyed how it showed something I never really considered, which is the aftermath of a trama like kidnapping. Brie Larson was excellent and deserves her Best Actress Nomination. It’s not a movie I would see again, or even one that stuck with me that long, but I always appreciate movies that make me think or where I learn something. Room is one of those movies.


Bridge of Spies

This movie is about what transpired after the Russian’s shot down a U-2 plane during the height of the cold war in 1960 and how the a lawyer James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, negoiated an prisoner exchange for the U-2 pilot in exchange for a Soviet KGB spy. Although before I was born, I knew about the shooting down of the plane, but knew nothing about what went on to arrange the exchange. I found it very interesting, and even suspensful. – Mark Rylance who played the KGB spy Rudolf Abel was excellent in the role, and Tom Hanks delivered his typical well done performance.



I knew nothing about this movie when I went to see it except that it had been nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. I enjoyed this movie quite a lot, it’s not very fast paced and while it was a fairly formulaic love story it still surprised me and had me questioning what was going to happen next. The lead actress Saoirse Ronan was very good. A very strong, well done movie.


The Big Short

I thought this movie was a little confusing in the beginning mainly because it is multiple stories about people who realize the housing crisis is coming and how they use that knowledge to profit for the crash. It’s a complicated subject but the movie did a great job of explaining it, often by having a sidebar scene where some actor/actress does a cameo and pops in to explain a concept; Margot Robbie in a bath tub, Selena Gomez playing blackjack. The first of these caught me off-guard but it was very effective to understanding the subject matter. Great performances, especially by Christian Bale (nominated for Best Supporting Actor), Steve Carell, and Brad Pitt. A very interesting and enjoyable movie.



This movie felt a lot like All the Presidents men which showed newspaper reporters learning about Watergate. In this case it was Boston Globe reporters uncovering the child sex abuse by Roman Catholic Priests and the church’s cover up. Very well acted, well paced and really great script that made it easy to follow what transpired.