A look at nominees in several categories for upcoming Oscars

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The 2016 Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, will take place on Feb. 28. This year’s nominees, announced on Jan. 14, will be judged for the golden trophy. Currently, there are 24 categories in which movies can win awards, ranging from Best Picture to Best Sound Design. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences votes on who will win the Oscar for each category. The Academy is made up of actors and other members of the film business. There are two rounds of voting, where, in the first round, only members from a certain branch of The Academy can vote for a certain category. For example, actors can only vote for actors and directors can only vote for directors. After the first round, all members of the Academy can vote for award recipients in every category. In order for a film to qualify for an award, it must play during the calendar year before the event and be in theaters for at least seven days. With the exception of short films, the movie must also be at least 40 minutes in order to be selected.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 11.54.30 AMBest Picture:

“Bridge of Spies”: Taking place during the Cold War, “Bridge of Spies” follows the true story of American attorney, James Donovan, as he attempts to negotiate the release of American pilot Gary Powers, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the Soviet Union. Donovan hopes to exchange prisoner Rudolf Abel for Powers, but the twist is that Donovan had previously defended Abel in a court case years ago, creating the conflict.

“The Martian”: After being stranded on the planet Mars, NASA astronaut Mark Watney must figure out how to survive with limited supplies for an extended period of time. While Watney is on Mars, NASA scientists formulate a plan to bring him home, no matter the cost.

“The Big Short”: In the world of Wall Street, greed exists in every corner. This is especially true for the four main characters in “The Big Short.” The film follows the real-life discovery made about the eventual collapse of the housing market, allowing for bets to be made against the market, and generating a huge amount of profit and corruption. This movie is based off of the book written by Michael Lewis.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 11.54.35 AMBest Director:

Tom McCarthy: The director of “Spotlight” has been nominated for an Oscar before in the categories of Best Writing and Original Screenplay for the animated film, “Up.” “Spotlight made an large splash in theaters and film festivals across the nation, giving McCarthy a wealth of recognition. McCarthy’s goal was to take the details of the true incident, the uncovering of a child molestation scandal in the Catholic Church, and create a film that allowed its audience to view its complete timeline from start to finish.

Alejandro González Iñárritu: The director of “The Revenant” brought with him a unique style of directing. With one Oscar already under his belt from “Birdman,” Iñárritu consistently pushed the actors and actresses, striving for extremely realistic scenes to convey the conditions in the movie. Although this style may seem controversial, it played a major role in giving “The Revenant” its visceral feel.

Lenny Abrahamson: Nominated for his directing role in the film “Room,” Abrahamson furthered his career by receiving his first Oscar nomination. The movie is based off of the book written by Emma Donoghue and follows Jack, a five year old boy who lives in an enclosed space called Room. He only believes the things inside the room to be true, since Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 11.55.07 AMhe has never left it in his entire life. However, events lead to Jack making a shocking discovery about the Room and his life as a whole.

Best Actor:

Leonardo DiCaprio: DiCaprio has become a sort of legend at the Oscars. Not because he has been nominated many times, but because he has failed to win after his many nominations. In the five times he was nominated for an acting role, DiCaprio has never won. With his role in “The Revenant,” DiCaprio hopes to put his past demons to rest by taking on the part of frontiersman Hugh Glass. His acting skills have been put to the test, as much of the movie feature his true reactions to a challenging environment.

Matt Damon: With an Oscar award for Best Writing already under his belt, Damon has been nominated for an acting role in “The Martian.” The film has been positively reviewed overall by many critics and fans and Damon’s performance as Mark Watney, the astronaut left stranded on Mars, has garnered a large amount of praise.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 11.55.12 AMMichael Fassbender: The film “Steve Jobs” would not be complete without one pivotal role: Steve Jobs. Fassbender takes on the role of the creator of Apple in a film biography that portrays three major events in Jobs’s life. Fassbender has to perfectly emulate Jobs’s unique personality in order to pull of this role, and his efforts seem to have paid off, as Fassbender earned the nomination.

Best Actress:

Jennifer Lawrence: After winning an Oscar for her acting role in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Lawrence has continued to to further her career. Her most recent film sees her playing Joy Mangano, a single mom who invents a product that allows her to build a successful business. Lawrence successfully portrayed the humor and style of her character, allowing the film to shine in that aspect, despite it getting fairly mediocre reviews.

Saoirse Ronan: At the age of 21, Ronan is one of the younger actresses with an Oscar nomination this year. Her role as Eilis Lacey in “Brooklyn” has given her the second Oscar nomination of her career. In the film, Ronan’s character is torn between family and love and must choose to reside at home in Ireland or move to the city of New York to pursue a love interest.

Cate Blanchett: This two time Oscar winner has now received her fifth nomination for her role as Carol Aird in the movie “Carol.” Blanchett plays an older woman living in New York City who attracts a young aspiring photographer working as a store clerk. The movie follows the two women’s developing relationship. With her vast experience in the movie industry, Blanchett has demonstrated that she is capable of harnessing this touchy subject and shaping it into a heartfelt movie.

 

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