The Tulane Hullabaloo

The Arcade’s three must-see Oscar winners

Jake Szasz, Contributing Reporter

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On Sunday, Feb. 28 the most prestigious awards in film were handed out. We saw Chris Rock criticize diversity in Hollywood, “Mad Max: Fury Road” win six technical awards, Mark Rylance upset Sylvester Stallone in the Best Supporting Actor category and Leonardo DiCaprio win his long-awaited first Oscar. While the winners included the best-known, critically-acclaimed favorites of 2015 like “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Revenant,” there were also winners that many people didn’t seem to recognize. The stereotype of Academy Award-winning movies being too long and boring may apply to some of the awards recipients, but others are very impactful and entertaining to see. Here is The Arcades list of three 2016 Oscar-winning movies that you may not have heard of before the big night but are definitely worth watching.

“The Big Short”:

If you didn’t go see the Tulane University Campus Programming screening of this movie last week, you really missed out. “The Big Short,” based on the book by Michael Lewis, tells the story of events leading to the 2008 financial crisis and the very few who saw it coming. These few looked to capitalize on this impending fall by shorting (betting against) the seemingly invulnerable housing market. This movie has an outstanding cast including Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Steve Carrell, and Best Supporting Actor nominee Christian Bale. The Oscar-winning writer for this movie, Adam McKay, was also nominated for Best Director. The name may sound familiar from more than one Will Ferrell movie including “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys.” He adds a bit of light and humor to what people would call a very depressing subject, while at the same time respecting the gravity of the event. For an added bonus, some of the scenes in the movie were filmed on Tulane’s campus, like Christian Bale swimming in the pool at the Reily Recreation Center. The only downside is the vocabulary, which could be a little outside the usual vernacular with its heavy stock market and housing market lingo, but it doesn’t affect the overall impact. 

“Ex Machina”:

This movie won a single Oscar on the big night for Best Visual Effects, but there is a lot more to this movie than that. When Caleb, a computer programmer, wins a contest to participate in a test to determine whether an Artificial Intelligence called Ava could pass for a human being, the lines of reality become blurred. Along with Caleb, it makes the audience question the same thing. Playing the role of Ava is Alicia Vikander, who won Best Supporting Actress this year for “The Danish Girl,” and her performance was absolutely incredible. Some critics believed she would have been nominated for the part if she wasn’t already nominated for her other role. The rest of the cast includes Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, both of whom took part in the biggest movie of 2015, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” playing Poe Dameron and General Hux respectively.

“Spotlight”:

This movie didn’t win Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for nothing. This is a heartbreaking story to see unfold on the big screen. In 2001, a division of the Boston Globe chose to take on a story involving a priest accused of sexually abusing children and the Archbishop of Boston, who seemingly knew about it and did nothing to stop him. While the team of reporters tries to dig deeper into this story, they find an even more despicable truth that would change the perception most people have of Catholic priests as well as the Catholic Church. Director Tom McCarthy, also highlights the importance of journalism, which seems to be declining in popularity today. An all-star cast including Best Supporting Actor nominee Mark Ruffalo, “The Notebook” star Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton, last year’s favorite to win Best Actor. Tom McCarthy’s incredible direction and writing create a breath-taking film that you have to see to believe.

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
The Arcade’s three must-see Oscar winners