I've seen all of them, and feel strongly that the last two should be replaced by "Inside Out" and "Love & Mercy."
  1. Room
    A powerful film. Fantastic performances by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. Keeps you on the edge of your seat and doesn't play it safe. Very well done.
  2. The Revenant
    Make no mistake: this film will win (my personal preference was Room), and it's hard to argue that. Leo was deserving of best actor nomination, and Inarritu was, well, Inarritu (and shot the whole thing in natural light?!). Beautiful scenes and very good filmmaking. Deserves the 12 nominations.
  3. Brooklyn
    The other two are head & shoulders above the rest. Brooklyn is an old school movie. Heavy dialogue, good cinematography, well acted. Nothing flashy, though...which will work against it. Soarise Ronan was excellent. I loved the theme of "home" and where that is or isn't.
  4. The Big Short
    A good story told well and done in a clever way. The cast was all great and a very enjoyable movie and what stood out to me were the "explanations" that took place every time I lost the ability to understand finance. Each one was laugh out loud funny and true.
  5. Spotlight
    This could interchange with The Big Short. The whole cast was above average but when you put them together the movie really worked. Not sure I buy Rachel McAdams as Best Supporting, but Mark Ruffalo is deserving.
  6. The Martian
    The book was much better, and Ridley Scott made sure that he was the best of Ridley Scott and the worst of Ridley Scott in the same movie. A choice the book willfully didn't make was the crux of the overblown climax which killed it for me by being hokey and silly. Followed by an addition the book didn't have that was really good. Damon was very good, too. The rest of the cast was bland.
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road
    Yes. Stuff blows up and looks great in IMAX. Yes. Stuff creaks and groans and sounds great in Dolby. Notice what it got nominated for. Now notice that it didn't get nominated for writing or acting or anything other than technical flash. There's a reason for that & it's because the film is just an apocalyptic car chase. If there were ever an evidence of Oscar pandering to a blockbuster this is it. But not all eye candy movies should be nominated and this shouldn't either.
  8. Bridge of Spies
    Can anybody tell me anything special at all about this movie? It's not a bad movie. It's just a movie and if you'd asked me when I saw it what I thought about it, I'd have said that it's a nice little Netflix evening. I still feel that way. If the Coen brothers didn't write it, no nomination. This is an Oscar high-five to them.