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Oscar Roundup Part 2: Continuing our look back at this year’s Best Picture Nominees

revenant-leoThe Revenant

The story of a fur hunter who is left for dead in the woods may give Leonardo DiCaprio his first and well deserved OSCAR.

Fueled by revenge, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) goes through everything nature throws at him. Marked by a great performance by DiCaprio, “The Revenant” is also a special film in technical terms since it was shot using only natural light. The result is spectacular and worth the admission price.

Deserves to win? Maybe. “The Revenant” is one of the most beautifully shot films of the last few years. One could go watch this film just for the cinematography. The story, however, falters in the second act, which is unnecessarily long, and diminishes the power of the film.

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Roomroom-2015

While “The Revenant” explores the wide open, “Room” focuses on a 10-by-10 foot shed where a young woman is trapped by a man who explores her sexually. She bears his son, a child who does not see the real world outside of the shed for the first five years of his life.

The film doesn’t over dramatize the situation, which is already tragic by nature, and this is one of the greatest qualities of this work. There is plenty of space for the audience to truly identify with the two main characters, instead of just pitying them or being overloaded by a dramatic soundtrack other directors could’ve used here.

Deserves to win? No. Even though it is well-directed and written, “Room” doesn’t feel fresh enough to deserve the Best Picture award. It is an interesting film though, mainly due to its second half, where the story takes a new direction.
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Brooklyn-Movie-2015-Poster-Cover-WallpapersBrooklyn

The story of an Irish immigrant who comes to America and finds love is told here, the movie that feels the most classic of this group.

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“Brookyln” is a film that brings nostalgia to the screen at every frame. The screenplay evokes the romances of the classical Hollywood Studio System from the 1930s to the 1960s. The art direction transports you to 1950s Brookyln. Finally, it’s hard not to fall in love with Ellis and Tony (Saiorse Ronan and Emory Cohen).

Deserves to win? Maybe. Other than a small moment in the film where Ellis’s feelings seem oddly inconsistent, the screenplay is solid and supported by fantastic actors. “Brookyln” is classic storytelling at its best and a small jewel among this year’s nominees. Had the screenplay developed better the second act, this would’ve been a stronger candidate for Best Picture.

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Spotlight20104185723_0ca6c3e963_o

Four journalists of a special section from the Boston Globe uncover a major scandal about dozens of Catholic priests who molested children, but remained free of any legal consequences or Church punishment.

“Spotlight” may have the most complex story and subject of the nominees this year. The story is engaging throughout the film as we in the audience get to play a game of investigative journalism. The casting is fantastic, and all main characters gain a lot from the stellar acting of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James.

Deserves to win? Yes. “Spotlight” is an engaging film from beginning to end, and succeeds in making us all want to practice the same journalism as this great team from the Boston Globe did. The screenplay is always leaving subtle hints throughout, and collecting them together with the characters feels very rewarding.

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Final Thoughts:

Out of the eight Best Picture nominees, “Mad Max” and “The Martian” were the ones that left in me a true satisfaction after leaving the theatre. The two stretched tension to a maximum, released it and then brought the final credits soon after. There seemed to be no unnecessary scenes or fat in them. Their stories were simple, maybe even too simple compared to “Spotlight” for instance, but both were extremely well told, mainly in “Mad Max”. I was more captivated by the experiences these two offered than by most of the other nominees. And as I usually say here, being simple is often the hardest thing to do.

Fernando’s OSCAR vote for Best Picture goes to: “Mad Max: Fury Road”.