Oscars 2016: Real-Life Inspirations for This Year’s Movies
Christian Bale as Hedge Fund Manager Dr. Michael Burry in 'The Big Short'
Bale was the only actor in the ensemble cast of Adam McKay’s The Big Short to get an Oscar nomination (his third), for Best Supporting Actor. The film dramatizes the months leading up to the bursting of the housing bubble, shown from the perspective of the few financial minds who foresaw the crisis — and capitalized on it. Bale plays hedge fund manager Michael Burry, the first person to predict the collapse.
Steve Carell as Money Manager Steve Eisman in The Big Short
Carell plays Mark Baum (inspired by the real-life Steve Eisman), an irascible money manager who, upon hearing about Burry’s bizarre investment decisions, investigates the state of the housing market further and is deeply disturbed by what he finds.
Ryan Gosling as Former Deutsche Bank Trader Greg Lippmann in The Big Short
Gosling plays Jared Vennett (based on Greg Lippmann), an arrogant, fast-talking Deutsche Bank trader — and the film's narrator — who first brings Burry’s findings to Baum’s attention and then joins with the latter to bet against the housing market.
Tom Hanks as Lawyer James B. Donovan in Bridge of Spies
Five-time Best Actor nominee and two-time winner Hanks stars in Steven Spielberg’s Best Picture-nominated Cold War drama Bridge of Spies. Hanks plays James B. Donovan, the American lawyer who negotiated the exchange of Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel and American pilot Francis Gary Powers in a 1962 spy swap.
Mark Rylance as Soviet Intelligence Officer Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies
Mark Rylance picked up his first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in Spielberg’s Cold War drama. Rylance plays Rudolf Abel, the enigmatic Soviet spy who was captured in the U.S. and then exchanged for American pilot Francis Gary Powers in the 1962 spy swap on Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Fur Trapper Hugh Glass in The Revenant
Many awards season prognosticators are calling for Leo to take home his first Oscar for his performance in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant, which has netted him his sixth nomination (his fourth for Best Actor). Playing early 19th-century American frontiersman Hugh Glass, DiCaprio suffered intensely for his art, working in freezing temperatures, eating raw bison liver, and sleeping inside animal carcasses to authentically portray Glass.
Mark Ruffalo as Boston Globe Reporter Michael Rezendes in Spotlight
Mark Ruffalo collected his third Best Supporting Actor nod for playing Michael Rezendes, the Boston Globe reporter who was part of the “Spotlight” team that investigated and exposed the Boston Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal in 2002. Rezendes wrote the first article, published Jan. 6, 2002, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning series of revelatory coverage.
Michael Keaton as Boston Globe Editor Walter “Robby” Robinson in Spotlight
Following his Oscar-nominated star turn in last year’s Best Picture winner Birdman, Keaton is back with Tom McCarthy’s Best Picture-nominated newsroom drama. He plays Globe editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, the leader of the Spotlight team of journalists who spearheads the investigation.
Rachel McAdams as Boston Globe Reporter Sacha Pfeiffer in Spotlight
McAdams picked up her first ever nomination, for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer in Spotlight. In the film, Pfeiffer struggles with the knowledge of how the monumentally important story will upset her devout Catholic grandmother.
Liev Schreiber as Then-Boston Globe EIC Marty Baron in Spotlight
Schreiber plays Marty Baron, the then-Editor-in-Chief of The Boston Globe who made the call to pursue the thorny story — which directly targeted perhaps the most venerated and influential institution in the city — early in his tenure at the paper.
John Slattery as Boston Globe Editor Ben Bradlee Jr. in Spotlight
Slattery, a Boston native himself, plays Ben Bradlee, Jr., the Globe editor who oversaw the groundbreaking coverage of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, in Spotlight.
Brian d’Arcy James as Boston Globe Reporter Matt Carroll in Spotlight
James rounds out the group of Spotlight’s journalists as Globe reporter Matt Carroll, who was the database reporting specialist for the Spotlight team.
Stanley Tucci as Attorney Mitchell Garabedian in Spotlight
Tucci has a scene-stealing turn in Spotlight as Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who fought for victims of sexual abuse. Garabedian encouraged the Spotlight team to expose the scandal and, after some hesitation, spoke to the journalists for the story.
Bryan Cranston as Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in Trumbo
Cranston picked up his first ever Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Jay Roach’s biopic about Dalton Trumbo, the screenwriter from the Golden Age of Hollywood who wrote such films as Roman Holiday and Spartacus, and who was blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947.
Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs
Despite scarcely resembling Steve Jobs, Fassbender’s evocation of the controversial Apple founder has resulted in his second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor. Directed by Danny Boyle from a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, the Jobs biopic spans 14 years, split in three distinct acts — each taking place at the launch of a new product.
Kate Winslet as Apple Marketing Exec Joanna Hoffman in Steve Jobs
Winslet received her seventh Oscar nomination for playing Hoffman, the marketing executive who worked closely with Steve Jobs — and had a unique, bizarrely functional relationship with the famously difficult entrepreneur — in the early days of the Apple Macintosh.
Jennifer Lawrence as Inventor Joy Mangano in Joy
The Oscar winner picked up her fourth nomination for playing inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, who invented the Miracle Mop. The loosely factual biopic covers four decades of Mangano’s life, and the film marks the third collaboration between Lawrence and filmmaker David O. Russell — Lawrence has been nominated for every film they’ve made together thus far.
Eddie Redmayne as Danish Painter Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
Redmayne picked up his second Best Actor nomination in a row (following a win last year for playing another inspiring real-life figure, Stephen Hawking, in The Theory of Everything) for playing Lili Elbe in Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl. Elbe, an early 20th-century Danish painter, was one of the first known people to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
Alicia Vikander as Danish Painter Gerda Wegener in The Danish Girl
Vikander picked up her first ever Oscar nomination for playing Danish painter Gerda Wegener, the wife of Lili Elbe. Wegener famously painted Elbe in a series of stylish portraits, and The Danish Girl tells the story of their shared journey as Elbe transitioned.