Plot points: Astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is stranded on Mars with nothing but his spirit, smarts and few supplies to strengthen his will to survive, while his team at NASA works tirelessly to get him back to Earth.
7 nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects and Best Adapted Screenplay.
See it for: The realism. “The Martian” received critical acclaim for its accurate depiction of space and Damon’s reaction to being alone in it. Despite the terrifying premise, Damon delivers a surprisingly funny performance while still contributing to the thrill of a survival movie.
Plot points: In the 1820s, after frontiersman Hugh Glass is brutally attacked by a bear in the Northern Plains wilderness, his hunting party leaves him for dead and he’s forced to face nature’s vicious elements.
12 nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Will this be Leo’s year?), Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Visual effects, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Costume Design.
See it for: The acting. Even with minimal dialogue, the stars still manage to deliver mind-blowing performances. Leonardo DiCaprio braves freezing temperatures, gets buried alive and seeks shelter in an animal carcass, convincing the audience of his struggle to survive.
Plot points: The movie focuses on a journalism team from the Boston Globe as they uncover the story of child molestation in the Catholic Church and soon realize what they thought was a few isolated cases is actually a global epidemic. The team interviews many of the past victims in order to show the corruption that was occurring within the Church.
6 nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.
See it for: The cause. The movie shows how a group of reporters succeeded in trying to get to the bottom of a case. The journalists’ pursuit of the truth touches the viewers’ hearts.
Plot points: The movie is based on the book “Brooklyn,” by Colm Toibin. In the film, Eilis Lacey, an Irish immigrant, arrives in Brooklyn, New York during the 1950s. She falls in love with an Italian plumber named Tony, but later she returns to Ireland and meets another suitor. Eilis must choose between living a new life in America with Tony or staying in her hometown with an Irish man.
3 nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.
See it for: The story. The movie depicts a great romance and illustrates how homesickness forces the main character, played by Saoirse Ronan, to make a life-changing decision.
Plot points: After a young girl named Riley moves to a different state, she struggles to adjust to her new life. Her emotions – Sadness, Anger, Fear, Joy and Disgust – are portrayed as people in her brain and take over how she adapts to her new environment.
2 nominations: Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay.
See it for: The message. It gives true insight on emotions, especially how children react when they go through different types of feelings. The movie also helps give a better view on how parents can teach their children how to act when they go through hardships.