Movies You Need To Watch Before The Oscars

It’s official: the Oscar buzz is beginning! We all know being a collegiette is hard and that there are barely enough hours in the day for Netflix, let alone actually putting on pants to go out to the movies. With the exception of film majors we'd assume, eight movies are excessive for a college student to find time to go see. But lucky for you, some of these films like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian are already on iTunes or on DVD, making them easily watchable. What follows is a run down of some of the top films and most talked about Oscar contenders that you should seriously consider braving the cold to see:

            Here are the Oscar nominated films for Best Picture

The Big Short


Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road


The Revenant

The Martian 

Mad Max: Fury Road is an action-packed, and at times rather gory film, but the magic of this action-thriller comes with subtle feminist values that shine through Charlize Theron’s character, Furiosa. If you like fast-paced action films this is definitely one to see, be wary though since it is a two-hour movie that at times is hard to follow. According to comedic writer Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post, Mad Max is "king". “During 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' motorcycles jump over a a moving truck! There is a sandstorm! There is a car that looks like a hedgehog! Trucks explode! It’s like a Michael Bay movie, but if Michael Bay knew how to direct in a way that didn’t leave you disoriented and in need of Dramamine.”

On a similarly aggressive visual note The Revenant is raved to be the movie that will bring Leonard DiCaprio his Oscar, but is it actually worth the two and a half hour sit? Manohla Dargis of the New York Times seems to suggest yes. She described the film as both brutal and sentimental, but also a film filled with incredibly ornate and gorgeous landscape shots. “Mr. Iñárritu isn’t content to merely seduce you with ecstatic beauty and annihilating terror; he wants to blow your mind, to amp up your art-house experience with blockbuster like awesomeness.” The New York Times raves. Sounds pretty epic and well worth the thirteen dollars to see!

When asked what he thought of The Revenant, Dustin Amick a sophomore film major said “The Revenant is definitely a good movie. It’s brutal, but is a very beautiful film. The action sequences are spaced out nicely so they don’t overwhelm the viewer and allows you time to recover. In my opinion, it’s Leo’s year.”

While The Revenant is the predicted winner by many websites and movie gurus, others however, say that the slow and silent indie film Spotlight may take the win. Rotten Tomatoes gave Spotlight a whopping 93 percent approval rating which is higher than the 81 percent earned by The Revenant. If you're into dark dramas featuring stories of against-the-odds heroes or movies about real life journalists, then this is the one for you. While Spotlight is not as visually stimulating or decadent as some of its Oscar opponents, the film's realism and thrilling emotional story are what wow the audience. “Everything in this movie works, which is only fitting, since its vision of heroism involves showing up in the morning and — whether inspired by bosses or in spite of them — doing the job.” Says A. O. Scott in his New York Times piece.  

Finally, the movie that has everyone infuriated about the mid 2000’s: The Big Short. Even if you know absolutely nothing about financials and banking The Big Short makes it fun and interesting with Steve Carell, Ryan (bae) Gosling, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt. Now if that’s not an all-star cast then who knows what would be? The Big Short focuses in on the banking crisis of the mid 2000’s that caused people to lose their houses and Wall Street men to lose their minds. Despite the grim sounding plot there is comedy in the story courtesy of director Adam McKay (Anchorman and Talladega Nights), and a very hot Ryan Gosling to lighten the mood. “In the beginning, banking was a f***ing snooze. But according to the audience, the movie was not. They laughed in all the right places, and got quiet in the third act, when it all goes to shit.” Says Jessica Pressler in her article for Vulture. Everyone who has seen The Big Short on campus has been raving about it so do yourself a favor and spend the money to see this fantastic film and maybe you’ll even learn something about the financial market along the way. 

Photos courtesy of The Oscars 2016 page