SAG and Golden Globe nominations point to Oscar contenders

Now that nominations for major awards shows like the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Golden Globes have been announced, we have a better idea of what movies could be Oscar contenders.

Aidan Monaghan/20th Century Fox/AP
'The Martian' stars Matt Damon.

As the days get colder, and winter approaches the Oscar season is just heating up.

Now that the nominations for some major awards shows like the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards and the Golden Globes have been announced, what do we know about the Oscars race? What movies could find themselves competing for a statuette come Academy Awards night? 

One of the surprising contenders for the Best Picture prize is the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which tells the story of a struggling society eking out an existence in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The action-heavy movie isn’t usually what the Academy goes for, but the fact that it was selected as the best movie of the year by the National Board of Review and that it was nominated in the prestigious best drama category for the Golden Globes is getting the industry’s attention. At this point, it may be viewed as an omission if the Academy doesn’t nominate it in the Best Picture category. 

Films that seem like locks for a Best Picture nod include “Carol,” which tells the story of a romantic relationship between two women (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) in the 1950s; “Room,” which centers on a woman (Brie Larson) and her son (Jacob Tremblay) living in a kidnapper's captivity; and “Spotlight,” which tells the true story of the reporting done by the Boston Globe about the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. 

All of these movies were nominated for both the SAG best cast prize (the closest thing at the SAG awards to a best picture category) and the Golden Globe Best Drama award.

What else could sneak in to the Best Picture Oscar category? “The Big Short,” the story of the real people who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, was nominated for the SAG best cast award and the Golden Globe comedy award, so it’s probably a pretty safe bet. So is “The Revenant,” the story of a man struggling to survive in the wilderness in nineteenth century, which was nominated for the Golden Globe best drama award. 

“Beasts of No Nation,” “Joy,” and “The Martian” are all possibilities as well. “Beasts” was nominated for the SAG best cast prize and “Joy” and “The Martian” were nominated for the Golden Globe best comedy award. All had been spoken of before as possible awards season contenders. 

If “Martian” scores a nod, it would be a nomination for both a box office champion – never a guarantee for an Oscar Best Picture nominee – and for a movie that presents a hopeful view of humanity. “Martian” tells the story of an astronaut who becomes stranded in space and those on Earth who work together to try to bring him home. 

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