2016 Academy Awards Best Picture Nominee Reviews: Part 1

Monday, January 18, 2016

"My name is Meghan and I like movies" said me, on the first day of lacrosse practice in sixth grade. We had to go around and say our first name and something that we liked that started with the first letter of our first name. Naturally, I thought movies and my friends have laughed about it ever since. But it's true! I remember being in kindergarten and loved going to Blockbuster every Friday to pick out a movie with my mom. Growing up I used to ask for DVD's as presents because I loved being able to watch my favorite movies over and over again. Like with reading, I just loved being immersed into stories and their characters. Because of my love of movies (and of celebrities and of glamorous dresses) I grew to love watching the Academy Awards too. Most years I have seen just some of the movies that are up for best picture or have a star nominated for best actor or actress. This year, however, I plan to watch all of the best picture nominees and this weekend, I was able to cross three off of the list. Let's talk about them!

I just want to say that I hate surprise spoilers and I just want to tell you that you will not be reading any major plot spoilers here. As fas as plot summaries go, there are vague ones that give away less than what you would get in a movie trailer! 

The Big Short //
I literally had no clue what this movie was about when I hit play in the beginning. All I knew was that it had been nominated for a ton of awards and that Steve Carell was in it, so I figured there would be a pretty good chance I would enjoy it. It was ultimately about a few random groups of people who had predicted the 2008 financial crisis. What I liked most about this movie was how it simplified what actually happened that allowed the crisis to occur. I'm sure that what actually happened is so much more complicated than the movie made it seem (at least I hope anyway) but it helped me to understand something that I, honestly, didn't think I had interest in understanding before. I know that watching a movie about the banking industry doesn't sound promising, but I can assure you that it is eye opening and completely entertaining at the same time. If that doesn't catch you, then I'll tell you that Ryan Gosling is in it, and maybe that will?

Mad Max: Fury Road //
Unlike The Big Short, I knew what Mad Max was about before watching it and I was NOT interested whatsoever. If it wasn't for telling myself that I would watch all of the best picture nominees, then I would have never in a million years picked this movie for myself to watch. Post apocalyptic action movies are just not my thing. After I got the eye-rolls out of my system and saying "I just can't believe a movie with this sort of plot would even be considered for a best picture" about a hundred times, I attempted to put my attitude aside and start the movie with an open mind. Although I'm stubborn and don't like to admit when I am wrong, I am surprisingly pleased to tell you that this was actually an interesting movie. Yes, there is a lot of action and fighting and driving scenes, but the whole movie in general felt more like an arthouse film, rather than a generic "I'm only here to please audiences and make millions" action flick. So if you ever get suckered into watching it, know that its not bad and you might surprisingly enjoy it! 

Brooklyn //
I don't even know where to start with this movie. I just loved it so much and I don't know how to put it eloquently! First, this movie had all of the elements that make a movie great in my eyes...historical fiction, romance, and an independent and sassy main character. After finishing the movie, the only thing that I wished would have been different was that I wish I could have somehow watched it before going off to college four and a half years ago. I don't want to give too much away, but it just has so many good quotes and lessons about leaving home and growing up. This is the only movie of the three that I watched without John and I'm sure he would have had no interest in watching it with me...although he will probably have to watch it some time because I'm pretty sure it easily falls into my top ten favorite movies ever.

Now I know that these are just three out of the eight movies that are nominated for best picture, but picking from just these ones, I think that The Big Short would win. I know I just went on and on about how good Brooklyn was, but The Big Short has broader appeal and is just more unique as it takes a boring and complicated topic, like the 2008 financial crisis, and boils it down to something entertaining and digestible. Although Brooklyn wins in my heart, its just not something I see winning overall. And, well, Mad Max is cool looking and I think probably has a shot at winning best visual effects and/or cinematography, but I don't think its a top contender for best picture overall.

Have you seen any of these? Let me know what you think if you have!


  1. I like this post because I've seen NONE of the movies except Inside Out, haha.

  2. Is it bad that I haven't watched any of these movies? haha the life of a mom ;) The last one definitely sounds like it might be worth watching, though, so thanks for the reviews!

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  4. We watched Mad Max over the weekend and I liked it more than I expected. The Big Short is on my list!

  5. I haven't watched any of the nominated movies. Every year, around this time, my friend and I used to go on a binge, watching all the movies and voting for our favorite. This year, we haven't started yet because for my friend, it's been all football, all the time, meanwhile I am watching Netflix. Hopefully, we'll get to the movies before Oscar day.

  6. I've also made it my mission to watch all of the Best Picture nominees :) So far, Spotlight gets my vote but I've still got a few more left to watch.

    xo Brie

  7. Mad Max was so good!

    Mary Kate

  8. I haven't seen any of these... I love your plan to see all the nominees!!! What a fun idea!

  9. I love movies too, they're a real passion of mine. I haven't seen any of these yet but I'd like to watch them before the awards ceremony! xx


  10. I hope I watch these before the awards! I so want to!

  11. Awesome review!! Thanks! xo


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