Arts

Haven’t kept up with the Oscar nominees? Read our contributors’ take on which film should come out on top

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road could have easily been a generic reboot. Instead, writer-director George Miller has brought us an original story distinguished by thorough world-building, superb casting, and anarchic visual flair.

The film features a unique dystopian setting, including a matriarchal biker community, a desert kingdom ruled by a lecherous warlord, and numerous high-octane car chases, gorgeously rendered using practical effects and working vehicles.

However, beneath the bombast lies an intelligent story.

Fury Road fully invests in its supporting characters—brainwashed warboy Nux, played by Nicholas Hoult, has a redemptive arc that could have anchored a whole movie, and the “damsels in distress” are as tough and capable as their rescuers. Meanwhile, the titular Max, played by Tom Hardy, remains an enigma, leaving Charlize Theron’s Furiosa as the hero you can’t help rooting for.

I’d be surprised to see such a full-blown action movie—let alone one this smart and inventive—win Best Picture. But Fury Road deserves the honour.

—Madison McSweeney

The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio in any movie is sure to be a great cinematic experience. Leonardo DiCaprio teaming up with director Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant is simply out of this world.

The film, which is based off of Michael Punke’s novel The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, is currently nominated for 12 Oscars, the most of any film at the 88th Academy Awards, and has already won three Golden Globes and five British Academy Film Awards.

The Revenant follows the story of real-life explorer Hugh Glass, and depicts Glass’ search for revenge after he’s been abandoned by his own team. The film is deserving of the Best Picture award not just because of DiCaprio’s superb acting chops, but because watching this movie is a complete sensory experience. 

While it is a bit on the longer side, every second of the movie is riveting from the opening scenes right down to the infamous bear scene. The movie is an adventure drama that catapults the viewer into a world of raw emotion and beautiful imagery.

Overall the amazing cinematography and riveting performances are enough to make this movie more than well-deserving of the Best Picture award.

—Deborah Sogelola

Room

Amongst the usual crowd of blockbuster Best Picture contenders in this year’s Oscars race inconspicuously lies Room, an incredibly poignant Canadian-British film based on the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue and directed by Lenny Abraham.

Brie Larson’s performance as Ma, a young mother to Jack, portrayed by Jacob Tremblay, is truly harrowing. Cruelly held in a small garden shed with no access to the real world except through a small skylight, the increasingly desperate mother yearns for her and her son’s freedom, especially as Jack grows older and becomes curious as to what exists outside of the small four walls that have constituted his world since birth.

Room is undeniably the most humane, inspiring and emotional film featured on this year’s list. It is packed full of hope and appreciation for the world we take so for granted.

Moreover, it is the only film anchored by a female lead, and done so somewhat brilliantly too. Some have drawn comparisons with the unexpected success of 2005 Best Picture winner, Million Dollar Baby, so here’s hoping that Room can sneak into frontrunner status in a similar fashion and grab the big prize that it thoroughly deserves.    

—Alannah Williams