Oscars: 20 Movie Moments to Watch Before the Big NIght
Must-See Oscar Movie Moments
A total of 57 films nabbed Academy Award nominations this year – and we’ve watched them all! Here, we rank the coolest scenes, sets, and scores that set them apart from the pack.
20. EX MACHINA THE DANCE
The disco dance between Oscar Isaac’s character and his speechless fembot is fun, sinister, and a sign that writer-director Alex Garland is in complete creative control.
19. THE BIG SHORT THE FOURTH WALL
In a cameo that’s both enthralling and educational, Margot Robbie sips champagne, lounges in a bubble bath, and clearly spells out the destructive effects of subprime mortgages.
18. AMY THE SESSION
In a film that boldly rebuts the public perception of a misunderstood artist, the unbroken shot of Amy Winehouse recording “Back to Black” is undeniable proof of what the world lost.
17. ANOMALISA THE SONG
Basking in the newness of a stranger (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Michael Stone (David Thewlis) asks her to sing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” — a simple request that’s beautiful in the moment and so bittersweet in hindsight.
16. SICARIO THE NIGHT RAID
Legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins shot the panic-inducing assault on a cartel drug tunnel using both infrared and night-vision tech and captured the ghostly image of footprints in the process.
15. BRIDGE OF SPIES THE PROLOGUE
In the movie’s opening 10 minutes, Mark Rylance’s unassuming performance sets the unexpectedly quiet tone of this espionage drama, showcasing the solitary life of an oddball spy.
14. INSIDE OUT THE RISE OF SADNESS
Leave it to Pixar to deliver one of the year’s most emotionally complex and honest messages in this climatic scene, as the previously dominant Joy (Amy Poehler) allows Sadness (Phyllis Smith) to take control.
13. THE HATEFUL EIGHT THE SCORE
Even though the Quentin Tarantino chamber piece is a Western on the surface, the soul of the film lies in the tone of Ennio Morricone’s score — it’s a horror show.
12. THE DANISH GIRL THE INTERIORS
Director Tom Hooper used painter Vilhelm Hammershøi’s austere blue-grays as a reference point for The Danish Girl’s early Copenhagen scenes, using a delicately color-drained palette to convey the unawakened life of Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) before her gender transition.
11. SON OF SAUL THE DISCOVERY
In the abyss of Auschwitz, a Jewish prisoner (Géza Röhrig) is forced to clean a gas chamber and finds a dead boy that he believes to be his son. It’s a belief, whether true or not, that transcends the brutal hell he’s living.
10. CREED THE CLIMB
The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s steps are synonymous with Rocky, so it’s no wonder that when the ultimate underdog (Sylvester Stallone) climbs them again nearly 40 years later — this time with the assistance of his protégé (Michael B. Jordan) — the champ can see his entire life from the top.
9. WORLD OF TOMORROW THE SHORT
A little girl named Emily chats with her future self in animator Don Hertzfeldt’s magnificent sci-fi short (available on Netflix). It’s 16 line-drawn minutes that soar with the emotional power of an epic.
8. SPOTLIGHT THE CONFESSION
In the shadow of a cathedral, reporter Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) interviews a rape survivor whose candor personalizes her investigation into the Catholic Church. “This was the first time in my life that someone told me it was okay to be gay,” the man says. “And he was a priest.”
7. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS THE REVEAL
The deadpan reveal of the Millennium Falcon as a piece of junk is a hilarious, nostalgic twist in a movie that understands the wit and cynicism that made the original films so beloved.
6. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON THE SHOWSTOPPER
In this pivotal scene in F. Gary Gray’s electrifying biopic, the group N.W.A is on tour in 1989 when federal and local authorities warn them not to perform their smash hit “F--- tha Police.” There’s a heartstopping standoff with Detroit police during a concert and, well, you know what happens next: They had something to say. Thank goodness.
5. THE MARTIAN THE RESCUE
As an astronaut stranded on Mars, Matt Damon’s Mark Watney faces every insurmountable problem with a wisecrack. It isn’t until he’s headed home — and he hears his crewmates’ voices after years of isolation — that he finally lets himself cry.
4. ROOM THE ESCAPE
“Truck. Wiggle out. Jump. Run. Somebody.” These are the words that Joy (Brie Larson) tells her 5-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), as she rolls him into a rug — and sets in motion an escape scene as tense as any prison break.
3. CAROL THE RESTAURANT
Todd Haynes’ movie opens benignly enough — two women (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) part ways in a restaurant — but when the scene repeats itself near the end, their unspoken heartbreak is all the more acute.
2. THE REVENANT “GOD IS A SQUIRREL”
For everything Leonardo DiCaprio endures in the mudcrusted Western, Tom Hardy’s monologue about his brush with the Almighty in the form of a squirrel stands as the film’s best scene.
1. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD THE FINALE
Looks like Polecats didn’t perish in the apocalypse. While it’s difficult to isolate the most stunning sequence in this spectacular
nonstop car fight of a movie, 95 minutes in, director George Miller tops himself with this fever-nightmare vision of Cirque du Soleil.