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With the Academy Awards just three weeks away the pressure is on to catch as many of the Best Picture nominees as possible, but what if you can’t cram them all in without quitting your job/dropping out of school/abandoning your friends and family? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered—consider this your digital Cole’s Notes to the Oscars and feel free to put off watching some (or all) of these movies until March.
Presenting, in gif form, your cheat sheet to the Academy Awards Best Picture category. (You’re welcome):
Ridley Scott’s The Martian is all about Matt Damon’s character being stranded alone on Mars where he’s given the chance to prove himself superior to American space pioneer Neil Armstrong. Damon makes Armstrong’s moonwalk look like NBD by travelling to a planet 55.5 million km further away from Earth than the moon and successfully living there for nearly a year. To be fair though, Armstrong didn’t require a rescue team to get home.
Imagine, after spending years of your life in terrified captivity, finally attempting a daring escape that will either endanger the life of your child OR win you back your freedom. Or both. Where’s the first place you’d go if you managed to pull it off? Obviously to the nearest purveyor of burgers, shakes, and fries. Duh.
Bridge of Spies
This is what being a kid was like during the Cold War. Living under the constant threat of a nuclear attack by the USSR was stressful, sure, but try being the real-life American lawyer Tom Hanks played in Bridge of Spies. That guy had to walk into East Germany alone wearing the kind of coat that roving gangs of street youth covet (read: any coat) and get back out having secured a two-for-one prisoner exchange that favoured the US. So glad that’s not my job.
Mad Max: Fury Road
In the age of the autonomous electric car, this movie makes driving fun again. Forget seatbelts and passenger side airbags, they aren’t going to save you on this trip. Charlize Theron is your only hope.
Take a good look at this serene moment from director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s revenge epic. Now picture a movie that’s basically the antithesis of this scene, add in some extra suffering, a bunch of death, and Leonardo DiCaprio and you’ve got a pretty accurate picture of what The Revenant is all about. Based on what he had to do to be in this movie, Leo should win in the Best Actor category this year—but anyone who watched him do it (that horse scene?) should also get a prize.
The Big Short
In which Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt team up to show audiences the lighter side of the 2007/2008 US financial crisis. Think unstable housing markets and fiscal ruin can’t be funny? Check out Bale brushing his teeth to prepare for a big phone call and think again. Proof that tragedy plus time equals comedy.
With a screenplay by professional emotional manipulator Nick Hornby, you know going in that Brooklyn is movie designed to make you sob (the way a certain writer may or may not have done when the movie screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last September). It’s adorable scenes like this one, where Saoirse Ronan’s character shows up at the beach not knowing that there’s nowhere to change into her suit, that allow the impact of the awful choice she has to make crush your own heart to dust.
Remember reporters? In the age before social media dominated the news landscape these were the people paid to uncover terrible scandals and coverups like the one perpetrated by the Catholic Church involving a shocking number of priests and their regular abuse of kids. It was an important and rewarding career, even if it didn’t come with a pile of perks (other than having a Hollywood movie made about how awesome you are at your job).
See which .gif will win the hearts of voters on the Academy Awards, airing February 28 on CTV.
By Corrina Allen