Oscar-Worthy Films of 2016

I just crossed off another film from the list of movies I wanted to watch before the Oscars today. The film I saw today was “The Bridge of Spies” and on my drive back home it occurred to me that a lot of the Oscar-nominated films this year have a reoccurring theme of trusting one’s gut feeling of figuring out what is right, believing in fighting for that cause, and not settling for less.

While I have not seen all of the Oscar-nominated films, even those I haven’t seen such as “Spotlight” or the “Room” clearly were also films where people stood up to mistreatment.

In “Bridge of Spies” Tom Hanks plays a lawyer who defends a captured/convicted spy of the Soviet Union even if it makes him less popular and puts him and his family at risk under the pressure of defending the man. I was impressed with his integrity of protecting his client’s privacy like a lawyer should even when he was pressured by the CIA to give out information. And his value for every life was evident even as he was negotiating the spy’s life in exchange for the lives of two Americans and nothing less, even if there was a likelihood that he may not be able to retrieve either one if his mission failed.

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“Would it help?” was the reply by  Rudolph Rylance (Mark Rylance) whenever lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) asked or commented about his client’s lack of panic

Between the admiration Mark Rylance’s character (Rudolph Abel) had for Tom Hank’s character (James Donovan) and the impressive/extreme calm even when his life was in danger I can see why these two men became so respectful and loyal to each other. Perhaps it was his side occupation of painting/drawing that helped him stay so calm… Either way, I strive to role model both the calmness and the loyalty this man possessed.

The Revenant” is a survival story about a man who instilled the value of striving to continue living to his son. And even though he was seeking revenge to kill a man who took the life of that beloved son, he did end up putting faith in nature taking its course of serving justice for him. I am aware that it took many hours of makeup to create the frozen look using candle wax and the scars/wounds everyday Leonardo DiCaprio was shot in the film so I do think the nomination for makeup and hairstyling was appropriate, although maybe not as much for Costume.

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Yup, that’s candle wax on his facial hair

While I am aware that some people were critical about the bear being “fake” (aka computer graphic), I was still quite shocked at the bear attack scenes and thought it was rather convincing.

And while Leonardo DiCaprio is the star of the film “Revenant,” I did notice that Domhnall Gleeson starred in this film and in the other Oscar-nominated films Brooklyn and in “Ex Machina.”So needless to say, he has had quite the year!


The Danish Girl” is about a man and his wife who come to believe that “he” is actually a “she” stuck in a man’s body. And he continued to undergo procedures to make the transformation while his wife stood by his side in support of her husband’s decision even though it meant he would no longer be her husband. This took place in the 1920’s when the concept of transgender was far from mainstream. I also was in admiration that Alicia Vikander’s character was also a working/successful female painter which I’m sure was rare at the time, especially for a married woman.

I also think the flapper style showcased in the film along with the reoccurring theme/appearance of a scarf makes the nomination for Costume Design. In my personal opinion, the transformation Eddie Redmayne went through for this film was just as impressive as the one he made in “The Theory of Everything” and is also deserving of the win as Best Actor even if it ends up being two consecutive years in a row.

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Eddie Redmayne as Lili in “The Danish Girl.” (Photo by Agatha A Nitecka)

Along with Alicia Vikander playing the supportive wife in “The Danish Girl” I do agree with the nomination for Kate Winslet playing also a very supportive role as Joanna Hoffman who was very much portrayed as the work wife of Steve Jobs. And again, Steve Jobs is also famously known for (and portrayed in the film as such) going against the norm to produce extraordinary results that he was able to envision and believe in before anyone else ever did. However, in both this film and the one starring Ashton Kutcher, the nuances showcased in the films (like the lack of furniture initially in his home) are easier to miss if you haven’t read his biography by Walter Isaacson so my recommendation is to definitely read the book before you watch either film.

I was not able to finish watching “The Big Short” due to my tendencies of getting motion sickness watching certain movies sometimes. However, this film was also clearly about finding the fault in the housing loan/mortgage system and a handful of people making a bet against the housing market from being able to realize the inevitable economy collapse even though everyone else thought these people were crazy at the time. Unless you’re familiar with the terms and concepts that were attempted to be explained in the film it’s probably a bit difficult of a film to follow and understand the synopsis of.

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry on my fashion take of the film “Brooklyn,” the film is about figuring out where one’s true home is, involving difficult decisions of having to leave beloved people and places to figure it all out.

Hence, all of these films have that common theme of the power of holding onto faith in oneself against all odds and even in the most difficult times.

I do see that “Cinderella” is nominated for Best Costume but I’m surprised (and disappointed) to see that “Pan” was not on the list. I did see both films and got to enjoy Pan in 3D (which was my very first time watching a film in 3D). Cinderella’s fashion was surprisingly a bit more modern vintage (especially the step sisters sporting what I would describe as Katy Perry going 1940’s). I was particularly fond of Hugh Jackman’s attire in Pan along with the colorful makeup job and ethnic attire worn by the Natives of Neverland.

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Rooney Mara playing Tiger Lily in “Pan”

I was also surprised to see that there weren’t any nominations for “Burnt” as I felt that the passion Bradley Cooper’s character had for cooking was similar to that of Michael Fassbender portraying Steve Jobs.

I do admittedly like the soundtrack songs from the filmFifty Shades of Grey” (which I do have in my iTunes Library). So I’m a bit happy to see that “Earned It” was able to make it on the list of nominees for Music (Original Song).

Film can bring so much pleasure. I appreciate the aesthetics of the costumes or of the scenery that took place. But I also love the emotions I feel from the beautiful storyline and the music I hear later on that reminds of me of the exact scene that strategically took place when it was playing in the background. And while many of the Oscar-worthy films that made the list covered serious subjects, sometimes it’s just great to get a great hearty laugh here and there too.

Here’s to many more tears and laughter (or tears from laughter)

– M




One thought on “Oscar-Worthy Films of 2016

  1. Pingback: My Top 3 Celebrity Idols | Le Blog: On Being a Modern Vintage Woman

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