The Hateful Eight
Tarantino’s Hateful Eight was actually an improvement over Django Unchained because he offered something different, but not even a Screenplay nomination is a shame.
Nominated for: Supporting Actress, Score, Cinematography
The Verdict: Quentin Tarantino’s trademark style has become relatively humdrum for many films now, but The Hateful Eight has enough storytelling flamboyance, and acting dexterity, to keep this western afloat.
The Danish Girl
A decent film with an important story to tell, The Danish Girl is partially nominated for its societal significance, and partially for its lead stars’ performances.
Nominated for: Actor, Supporting Actress, Production Design, Costume Design
The Verdict: Thanks to Eddie Redmayne, and more so Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl is a far better romantic story than one about understanding transgenders and their thought processes, but one thing that will never leave you once the credits roll are the echoes of “Lili” drifting in the wind.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
A rousing success that appeased fan expectations and attracted a whole new generation of audience, The Force Awakens’ five nominations are all technical, a full house considering Oscar taste.
Nominated for: Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Editing, Visual Effects
The Verdict: The Force Awakens nostalgically returns Star Wars to its greatest heights, but does it with such freshness and vivacity that it can be forgiven for gorging on the past.
Nominated in big categories but somewhat underrated and marginalised, Brooklyn was one of the top films of the year that should have received more of the limelight.
Nominated for: Picture, Actress, Adapted Screenplay
The Verdict: Magically intimate in its romantic storytelling thanks to the marvellous Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen, as well as fascinating in an historical sense, Brooklyn is a near faultless adaptation of a remarkable tale.
Its sensational lead performances are acknowledged but Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay ignored, Steve Jobs was supposed to be a hit but its box-office embarrassment is telling.
Nominated for: Actor, Supporting Actress
The Verdict: No doubt an Oscar favourite thanks to the no-holds barred investigation of an important figure, Steve Jobs is undoubtedly a rich film, albeit a bit too rich that its condensed script constrains its impact.
Possibly the best animated film of this century, Inside Out caters to both children and adults, so well in fact that the boundaries between the two become blurred.
Nominated for: Original Screenplay, Animated Feature Film
The Verdict: Supremely ingenious and incredibly imaginative, Inside Out finds Pixar on sky-high form.
The biggest injustice of the year, Creed might have let Rocky shine once again, but director Ryan Coogler and Adonis’ Michael B. Jordan should feel aggrieved.
Nominated for: Supporting Actor
The Verdict: Creed recommences the Rocky “underdog” tradition and surprisingly finds new life in the formula, proving that the franchise is not down and out as it ends its seventh round.
Bridge of Spies
Heavily nominated despite lacking the extra spice to make it worthy, Bridge of Spies efficiently recreates an integral moment in Cold War history, but it won’t win anything.
Nominated for: Picture, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Score, Sound Mixing, Production Design
The Verdict: Bridge of Spies is wonderfully entertaining in both the suspenseful intricacy of its storyline and strong performances of its two leads, but the channelling of Cold War history is where it thrives most.
One of the best of 2015, the innovative Ex-Machina should have been nominated more than others, but its a film that will be remembered for a long, long time.
Nominated for: Original Screenplay, Visual Effects
The Verdict: Author-turned-filmmaker Alex Garland intelligently handles A.I. with style in Ex-Machina, a film whose polished visuals, eerie atmosphere, sublime performances and engaging fictional thinking makes this the must see film of 2015.
HIDDEN GEM #2
Sanjay’s Super Team
An animated short film played before Pixar’s uninspiring The Good Dinosaur, Sanjay’s Super Team is a little treasure with a wonderful meaning.