And the Oscar goes to…

Our picks for the Academy Awards


Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

When it comes to award shows, the Academy Awards is regarded as one of the biggest nights of the year. Anyone in the film industry can only dream of one day holding their own Oscar, and a few lucky ones actually do. Here’s who we think deserve to be thanking the Academy this year:


“The Big Short”

As far as encompassing comedy, drama, an ensemble cast and everything in between, “The Big Short” takes the cake. For a film about a topic that few people understand, and a story that few people probably had genuine interest in, it still found a way to be informative, honest and compelling. It takes a unique mix of talent to turn a film about the 2008 economic collapse and the corruption that caused it into a boisterous adventure, and despite the idea that morality is dead, it still leaves you in awe. More serious films such as “Bridge of Spies” or “The Revenant” lack “The Big Short’s” fast pace. In addition, “The Martian” is a bit more feel-good than the Academy usually goes for. “Room” and “Spotlight” are also good bets, but in terms of overall production quality, “The Big Short” has a definite leg up.


Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

There are few actors who are willing to push their boundaries physically and emotionally to the extent that Leonardo DiCaprio did for “The Revenant,” the true story of an 1820s frontiersman left for dead in a harsh winter after a brutal bear attack. There are even fewer actors who could pull off the performance of a lifetime while doing so. Sure, Matt Damon may have played a desperate man in grueling conditions for “The Martian,” but DiCaprio actually was one. Other contenders, such as last year’s winner Eddie Redmayne, had complex and convincing roles, but none as great as DiCaprio’s. For an in-depth explanation of DiCaprio’s performance, check out our column on “The Revenant” at


Brie Larson, “Room”

A large percentage of  “Room” centered around Brie Larson’s character and her son while they are locked in her kidnapper’s shed. This meant her performance depended on her likeability as a mother and survivor while in an incredibly strenuous situation that would easily bring out the worst in anyone. She had to have a strong front but also seem fragile, display a harsh attitude but also seem kind, and convey the sort of desperation that only a victim of her character’s circumstance could understand. That’s tough. As a newcomer, it’s interesting to see Larson up against veteran Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Cate Blanchett. Not to mention, Saoirse Ronan is most certainly due for her own Oscar after years of excellent performances (watch 12-year-old Ronan in “Atonement” for proof,) but Larson is more deserving this year.


Christian Bale, “The Big Short”

Good actors are able to become their role in the eyes of the audience. It can be tough for viewers to separate their preconceived notions about an actor or his previous characters from the one he is currently playing, especially in the case of someone who is known for a certain part (Christian Bale’s being Batman in “The Dark Knight”  trilogy) But when Bale awkwardly gawks onto the screen in “The Big Short”— baggy t-shirt, cargo shorts, greasy hair and all— there isn’t the slightest resemblance to Bruce Wayne or even Bale himself. He is the definition of convincing, which of course is an actor’s main goal. However, this is a tough category this year; Tom Hardy is also unrecognizable in his role in “The Revenant,” and many people think Sylvester Stallone is a shoe-in to win after his performance in “Creed.” This win will probably come down to a coin toss.


Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

It isn’t easy to steal the spotlight in a film where Eddie Redmayne plays a Danish transgender woman in the 1920s. However, Alicia Vikander’s performance as Redmayne’s wife was easily the highlight of “The Danish Girl,” capturing the lively and loving character beautifully. At times, one almost finds more sympathy in Vikander than Redmayne. While Rachel McAdams also proved her own talent as a serious actress in “Spotlight,” Vikander displayed a wider range of emotion that can’t be ignored.


“The Revenant”

How can you not give an Oscar to the man who pushed the limit of filmmaking so far, even he declared he would never do anything like it again? While some categories are a real toss-up, I can’t imagine that Alejandro González Iñárritu won’t win after the tireless efforts he put into “The Revenant” and the incredible result that came from it. He went above and beyond for the film in a way no other director has, and probably ever will. If not “The Revenant,” “The Big Short” could win for its unbelievable use of every film tool available. “Room” also deserves an honorable mention for the beautiful composition behind every take.