The Oscar nominations are out and, oddly, I've actually seen four of the eight pictures up for the prize.
I haven't seen, and probably will not see, The Revenant, Room, or Brooklym. I'd like to see Spotlight, but it's already out of local theaters. I'll have to catch that one on cable.
Of the four I've seen:
Bridge of Spies was a solid entry with an interesting story and great acting. And, of course, Tom Hanks.
The Big Short was both entertaining and enlightening, documenting the greed and stupdity of Wall Street.
The Martian is my favorite. It takes place in a refreshingly non-apocalyptic future, where nations cooperate and problems are resolved by smart people using their intelligence, not brute force and firearms.
While I admire the photography, stuntwork, and computer-generated effects of Mad Max: Fury Road, I'm at somewhat of a loss as to why it's a best picture nominee. I caught it on cable today at the urging of my son, who said its production values would overcome my innate distaste for post-apocalyptic fare.
From a technical standpoint, it probably is the best film. I have no doubt it was the most difficult to shoot, and the images and sound were superb. But otherwise, it's just another guns and motor vehicle orgy with the barest of plots. Think Smokey and the Bandit on steroids and bath salts.
I have no clue who the winner might be, even though I'm edging toward the demographics of the average Academy voter: white, male, age 63. (Two more years to go.) Were it my choice, of the pictures I've seen, it would be The Martian. But then I thought The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension should have won Best Picture in 1985, and it wasn't even nominated.
Speaking of which...