2016 Oscar Nominees, My Picks, and Stray Observations

Earlier today, the nominees for the 88th annual Oscars were announced, and this is the first time Plot and Theme has existed during an Oscar season, so I am going spout my nonsense preferences and commentary for all who wish to read. Before we get started, it is important to understand that these are not the films that I think will win the award, but the films that I think deserve to win. It is a slight difference, and if anyone cares about predicting the actual winners, I may do that on the eve of the ceremony (or, I could even live Tweet as the Oscars are happening).

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Plot and Theme’s Top Ten Movies of 2015, Plus Stray Observations!

Now that all of the days of 2015 are safely in the past, it is an appropriate time for me to take my shot at one of those heralded “Top 10” lists. This list comprises only movies released in 2015, and only contains movies which I had the opportunity to see (alas, no The Revenant or Macbeth). I will provide links to the actual reviews I did of each of these films, as well as an interesting (well, I suppose that’s debatable) observation that relates to each film. Also, feel free to yell at me in the comments about the patently incorrect opinions that I hold, or to lobby for your favorites.

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“Spotlight” Illuminates Cover-Up of Clerical Abuse in the Best Film of the Year

Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight opens with a quick vignette at a Boston police station. Using subtle camera movements and specific acting choices, the subject of the scene becomes clear: a young boy has been molested by a local priest. A green policeman doesn’t seem to understand the protocols, but he watches as the strings get pulled and the wheels get greased, and the offending priest gets whisked away from the police station without consequence. This serves as a preamble to the harrowing story we are about to witness: the rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, and its systemic cover-up by the Church.

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