With the nominations being announced at the end of last week, we think it’s fair to say that it’s officially Oscar season. While we love the awards season and the Oscars especially, it can be hard to keep up with what you need to see with very few of us having the time, money or patience to watch all of the big hitters – especially since the Academy decided to up the quota for Best Film nominations.

5 Films to Watch before the Oscars 2016

With that in mind, we’ve compiled our list of the top 5 ‘must-see’ films before the 88th Academy Awards on 28th February. We’re going with films that are about to come out or have been released recently. I.E. We’re going to safely assume you’ve seen Mad Max: Fury Road and loved the bejesus out of it!

The Revenant

The real big hitter and one of the favourites for the Best Film category is The Revenant with 12 nominations overall. The film follows the story of High Glass, a fur trapper in the 1800s who was left for dead by his expedition team following a brutal bear attack. The stage looks set for Leonardo Di Caprio to get his long overdue Best Actor award and Alejandro G. Iñárritu is odds on favourite for the Best Director award too. If you’re going to see anything before the ceremony – this is the one!

Nominations: Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Cinematography.

The Room

The Room stars Brie Larson as a woman who has been held captive for years in an enclosed space with her 5-year-old son. They finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time. The general consensus is that Larson’s performance has her odds on for the Best Actress award with her main competition coming from Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn. The film might not clean up at the Oscars but it’s one of the most harrowing and ultimately rewarding films you’ll see all year!

Nominations: Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director.

The Big Short

The Big Short is another film based on true characters and events depicting the financial crisis of 2007–2008 brought on by the build-up of the housing market and credit bubble. The film was produced by Brad Pitt and has plenty of other names starring with Christian Bale, Steve Corell and Ryan Gosling starring, as well as Pitt himself. It’s in the running for a few major awards including Bale as Supporting Actor and Adam McKay up for Best Director, but will probably just fall short on the night. It’s still an excellent depiction of a financial crisis not many of us fully understand with great performances and direction.

Nominations: Best Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director.

Carol

If you’re all about performances than there’s not going to anything you’ll see all year that will beat Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in Carol. Directed by Todd Haynes, Carol is set in 1952 and tells the story of a young aspiring photographer (Mara) and her relationship with an older woman (Blanchett) going through a difficult divorce. For us, it’s a crying shame Carol wasn’t up for Best Film but it’s still undoubtedly worth a watch none-the-less with Mara the bookmaker’s favourite for Best Supporting Actress.

Nominations: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Cinematography.

Spotlight

The last on our list is Spotlight. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Stanley Tucci, the true story follows The Boston Globe’s ‘Spotlight’ team and its investigation into the widespread child sex abuse cases in the Boston area. The film has got nods galore with Ruffalo and director Tom McCarthy both in the running for individual awards, as well as actually being the bookies’ favourite to win Best Film. You might want to make this a priority!

Nominations: Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress.

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