2016 Oscars Challenge: [24] “The Martian” – Best Picture



FILM SYNOPSIS: Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead and left behind when an unexpected storm hits Mars, forcing his crewmates to abandon their mission. Watney, a botanist, must engineer ways to feed himself and survive the harsh environment, and after he reestablishes communication with NASA, scientists around the globe race against time to rescue him.


Prior to the nominations being announced, “The Martian” had a chance. It had a great screenplay, the box office numbers, and a hand full of decent performances, including Matt Damon’s genius turn as the lead character, Mark Watney. But after the nominations came out and it was seen that the director Ridley Scott had been passed up for a Best Directing nomination, its fate was sealed. Originally, the Best Directing category showdown was being billed as George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) versus Ridley Scott. But with Scott out of the picture, everything shook up. It received two unsurprising nominations in Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Visual Effects as well as a Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination, which was not hugely surprising, but was an appreciated push through for its impressive casting.

From the first time I saw “The Martian” in theaters, I was doubtful of its Oscar chances. Not because it wasn’t a well made film, but because of the commercial quality of the film. It felt like a Hollywood popcorn movie instead of that little-Indie-that-could like “Spotlight” or that epic art film like “The Revenant.” Because it felt so glossy and somewhat surface level, I did not see “The Martian” representing much at the Oscars but with 7 nominations, I was slightly wrong. Unfortunately, the one nomination that it should have received, the Academy dropped the ball on, which was Ridley Scott, who deserved the recognition at the very least. The fact that Scott was involved at all is what put “The Martian” on its Oscar path. If any other director would have taken the helm, chances are it would have not pulled quite the support that it did.

Unfortunately, I do not see “The Martian” winning any of its 7 nominations, especially not Best Picture. Up against the front-runners for that Best Picture slot, “The Big Short,” “The Revenant,” and “Spotlight” in almost all of its categories, as well as facing off against one of this year’s most praised films in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” its chances are slim. Adapted Screenplay will likely fall towards “The Big Short,” the Sound awards, Production Design, and Visual Effects likely going to “The Revenant,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” or “Mad Max: Fury Road.” And with Leonardo DiCaprio almost locked for Best Leading Actor, that leaves “The Martian” without a single win. But it’s 7 nominations were more than I would have predicted for it. Gun to my head, if I were to give it an upset in any category, it would be Best Adapted Screenplay for Drew Goddard.

Previous nominations? These are the first Academy Award nominations for Simon Kinberg, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam. This is the fourth Academy Award nomination for Ridley Scott. He was previously nominated for:

  • BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001)
    Nominee, Directing
  • GLADIATOR (2000)
    Nominee, Directing
  • THELMA & LOUISE (1991)
    Nominee, Directing

bigshort1 bridgeofspies brooklyn2 madmaxfuryroad1 revenant1 room spotlight1


// Produced by Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Aditya Sood, Michael Schaefer, and Mark Huffam // Directed by Ridley Scott //
// Dated Viewed: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 // BLU-RAY //  18 films – 26 days //

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