Prediction and Breakdown of The Best Picture Nominees

After viewing each of the entrants in this year’s Academy Awards Best Picture category, I decided to break down each film and predict which film will win the award and which film should win.


The Big Short: 

This film had all the makings of a great movie. The cast, director, writer, and the story subject appeared to be perfect. But there seemed to be something missing. The acting, while strong, suffered from a weak storyline and a convoluted tone. The inclusion of celebrity cameos and asides only distracted from the already-dizzied storyline.

While there was an attempt to infuse comedy into the film, it failed to deliver. The moral of the film also achieved the opposite effect, showcasing unlikable characters who profited on the greed of banks and the suffering of millions of people.

Overall, this is probably the weakest film in the category and could have easily been replaced by some of the big snubs.


Bridge of Spies:

The duo of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg is magic on the screen. They work marvelously together and their collaborations have led to Oscar gold in the past. However, Bridge of Spies is not their best work. While Hanks delivers a standout performance as the lead, the element of greatness was absent. It was simply a good film, unremarkable and unmemorable, but did enough to get a nomination.

Perhaps because the movie was based on a true story, it seems like there was not enough in the source material to make this film a true contender, and with Spielberg focusing on true stories as the subject of many of his recent films, it seems this is the ceiling his films can reach.

Overall, it was good enough for a nomination but ultimately will be beaten out by a more worthy film.



Easily the lightest film of the group, Brooklyn offers a counter-balance to the likes of Mad Max and The Revenant. The love story is realistic and the film plays on nostalgic feelings toward the past. What got Brooklyn the nomination was the fact that there was an unexpected depth to the story. Tragedy and jubilation blended nicely together to create a pleasing mix.

The reason this film will not win is the fact that it lacks impact. It is a quick look at the past, a snapshot of yesteryear and nothing more.

Overall, other nominees leave a lasting impact after the film is over while Brooklyn fails to do so, and as a result it will not win.


Mad Max: Fury Road:

This was the biggest surprise of the year. People did not expect this film to be so visually stunning, nor did people expect George Miller to finally realize his vision for his post-apocalyptic Mad Max world.

While visually a standout, the story leaves something to be desired. There was no character development or really much dialogue. This film’s nomination seems solely based on its visual excellence.

Overall, Mad Max will never win Best Picture, but if there was a great story in the film it would have made for an interesting debate.


The Martian:

Depending on whom you ask, you will be told that this is one of the best dramas of the year, while others say one of the best comedies. No matter how it is categorized, it was simply one of the best films of the year. Matt Damon delivered an Oscar-worthy performance and the ensemble cast lifted the strong lead and great story to a well-deserved nomination.

There aren’t many flaws in this film, with cinematography, direction, acting, and the story working in unison to deliver one of the best films of the year.

Overall, this film has an outside chance of winning, but it will be tough to beat out the favourites, Spotlight and The Revenant.


The Revenant:

This is easily one of the top films of the year. This film is visually spectacular, with many shots looking like paintings. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a performance that should finally get him an Oscar, and Alejandro G. Inarritu took his unique long-shot style of filming to bring a gritty survival tale to life.

While the violence and suspense lasts throughout the film, the main issue is that once the infamous bear scene passes, the pacing of the film slows to a halt. The film would have benefited from a shorter runtime, which would have helped the pacing.

Overall, this film is a worthy nominee and would be a worthy winner of the award. It will have competition, specifically from Spotlight, but has a real opportunity to take home Best Picture.



This is the best picture of the year, hands down. The story, performances, and cinematography surpass the competition and evoke an emotional response that is unrivaled by any film in years. Brie Larson will win Best Actress and Jacob Tremblay should have been nominated for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor.

This film leaves audiences in tears and goes beyond the realm of entertainment. This film is an experience, and will stay with you for days after viewing.

Overall, Room should win Best Picture. However, due to the dark storyline, dealing with issues of kidnapping and sexual exploitation, it will most likely be looked over in favor of The Revenant or Spotlight.



The favourite to win the big prize, Spotlight would be a worthy winner. Showcasing a strong cast and equally strong storyline, it is a film with a message. It is arguably the best film about journalism since All The President’s Men, and will be one of the few films to stand the test of time. Like Room, this film reaches audiences on an emotional level and stays with them long after the film is over.

This is one of the tightest films of the year, with few lulls or low points. It is compelling and showcases the world of journalism and the role played by journalists as they  investigate the world around us.

Overall, this is the film that will probably win Best Picture. It is not only deserving of that prize, it is a movie that people will be watching for years to come.



In the end, all signs point to Spotlight winning. It is not violent like The Revenant, which will likely turn away some voters. The acting in Spotlight is strong, but the film does not rely on acting alone, like Bridge of Spies. It is strong in every category and as a result it should be victorious come Sunday.

However, Spotlight is not my best film of this year. Room should be given the award. There has not been a film with as much impact as this one in a very long time. It will leave you in tears and emotionally hardened. No other film in this year’s award race can say that.

But it will not win because of the depressing story, and that is a real shame. The award should be given to the best film and not the most popular or accessible film. But there is still a chance for a big upset, and the question will be answered Sunday night.

About the author  ⁄ Alex Smyth

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