Oscars Front Runners


Birdman_AThere is no shortage of talent in this year’s pool of Oscar hopefuls. Best Picture nominees for the 88th Academy Awards include: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room and Spotlight

The Revenant received 12 nominations and Mad Max: Fury Road has 10. The Actor in a Leading Role category brought in a talented mix of stars with Bryan Cranston, Trumbo, Matt Damon, The Martian, Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant, Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs and Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl.

Actress in a Leading Role category is just as star-studded, with Cate Blanchett, Carol, Brie Larson, Room, Jennifer Lawrence, Joy, Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years and Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn.

Here’s an examination of this year’s films most deserving of Oscar gold.


Oscars_022416_SpotlightAn ensemble cast, including Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams play part of the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team that uncovered the scandal between the Catholic Church and child-molesting priests. This is one in a group of films that have dealt with “victimhood” and the church including: The Verdict (1982), The Magdalene Sisters (2002), and Philomena (2013). Boston, with its array of ethnic and religious faces, is practically a character. My top dog in the Oscar race for Best Picture.


CarterBurwell_022416_FullRunSet within the context of 1953 sexual mores, how does a middle-aged, well-to-do woman, with a proclivity for women, approach a young salesgirl? Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara give first rate performances as the two women and both are awarded with Oscar nominations. Shown through flashbacks and rain-streaked windows, there’s a sense of mystery and intrigue. Uneven pace is a big negative. Blanchett’s performances in Notes On A Scandal (2006), Blue Jasmine (2013) and Truth (2015), arguably make her today’s premier female actor.

The Martian

Oscars_022416_TheMartianMatt Damon, an American astronaut, is accidentally left on Mars, is wounded but resourceful. Meanwhile NASA plans a rescue. Believable, plausible, engagingly human. Damon talking into a computer does for Mars what Tom Hanks did for a desert island with “Wilson,” the volleyball.


The Big Short

Oscars_022416_TheBigShortA brilliant look at how a disparate group of traders and hedge fund managers saw the housing crisis coming. Writer/director Adam McKay tells the story of the 2008 economic collapse from multiple perspectives in an absorbing and engaging film rife with black comedy. Should be seen by every high school and college student in America. This film deserves the Best Picture Oscar.

Pick your favorites from Long Island Weekly’s Oscars checklist.

Anton Media Group columnist Michael Givant teaches a film course at Farmingdale State College in the Institute for Learning in retirement and a foreign film class at The Longboat Key Education Center in Florida.

Michael Givant
Michael Givant is a columnist for Anton Media Group. His column A Bird's Eye View is popular among local birdwatchers and photographers.

Leave a Reply




Long Island Cannabis Conversations: Part II

Our last installment left off in the island’s East End, where European colonists who grew hemp for sails and rigging left their mark behind...

Godfather Of Harlem: Special Screening And Forest Whitaker In Conversation With Whoopi Goldberg

Join Forest Whitaker, Academy Award-winning actor and executive producer, for a special finale screening of the third season of his hit series, Godfather of Harlem,...

Meryl Ain’s Highly Anticipated Sequel Set To Release: April 25

Coming this spring, Long Island local Meryl Ain is back with Shadows We Carry (SparkPress, April 25), the much-anticipated sequel to her hit debut...

Jericho Man Pleads Guilty For Deadly Collision With Motorcycle

Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a Jericho man pleaded guilty yesterday to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide and other charges for a...

Collection Drive Underway Supports VA Hospital

The Town of Oyster Bay will host a “Spring into Action” Collection Drive in support of the Northport VA. During the month of April,...

Get Updates Via Email

Enter your email to be updated with all the latest news and special announcements.