Oscars 2016: everything you need to know about the Best Picture nominees

Spotlight, Room, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, The Big Short, The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant battle it out for the Academy's top prize

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The financial drama focuses on the period just before the 2007/8 worldwide crash triggered by the build up of the housing market and the credit bubble. Trust us, it’s a lot more interesting than we just made it sound…

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

We say: “Deftly drawing out the moral compromises, obstructive complexities and unbelievable injustices of this risky business, the film manages to be entertaining and accessible as well as frighteningly credible.”

Read the full review here

Steven Spielberg’s film about a lawyer entrusted with negotiating the release of a US pilot in exchange for a captive Soviet KGB spy.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance

We say: “A gloriously glossy, impeccably produced espionage drama that spins a complex story of political intrigue and patriotism into timeless Hollywood entertainment.”

Read the full review here

The 1950s tale of a young Irish woman’s immigration to Brooklyn. Once there, she finds love – but when her past catches up with her, she must choose between her country of birth and her new life. 

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Julie Walters, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent

We say: “A hugely likeable piece of old-fashioned entertainment from Boy A director John Crowley that will have old softies everywhere shedding tears of joy and sadness.”

Read the full review here

Eponymous Mad Max joins forces with Imperator Furiosa to flee cult leader Immortan Joe and his army in a lengthy road battle across the barren desert. Lots of high speed chases and nail-biting action.

Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

We say: “One big, bone-rattling pursuit, gleefully revving up the franchise three decades after Mel Gibson last donned the leathers.”

Read the full review here

Astronaut Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars during a dust storm and waits around on the Red Planet for NASA to come back and rescue him. Potatoes play a significant role. 

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor

We say: “The humour that Watney draws on at every first sign of trouble – plus the cheesy disco music left behind by his commanding officer – lightens the mood when, perhaps, there are cracks beneath his cool exterior that need exploring. The end result is a film that’s more rib-tickling than nail-biting.”

Read the full review here

1820s frontiersman and fur trader Hugh Glass is nearly mauled to death by a bear, leaving him fighting for his life – and the chance to take vengeance on the men who wronged him.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter

We say: “Here’s a movie where the elements ooze from the screen, and DiCaprio matches the experience by baring his wounds and his soul in a performance of agonising honesty and emotion.”

Read the full review here

Joy – or Ma – and her five-year-old son Jack finally gain freedom after seven years held captive in a squalid shed. But as Jack experiences the outside world for the first time, Joy struggles with the reality beyond the confines of their room.

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, William H. Macy

We say: “Room is a moving, heartbreaking portrait of familial love in the face of insurmountable odds, but it also explores the complexity and hypocrisy of what we think of as ‘reality’.”

Read the full review here

The investigative branch of a Boston newspaper exposes the widespread sexual abuse committed by numerous Roman Catholic priests – and the subsequent cover up by senior members of the church.

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Liev Schrieber, Stanley Tucci

We say: “Spotlight is utterly engrossing from start to finish, playing out as a detailed, serious-minded procedural. A riveting, quietly intelligent drama that deserves all the praise it has been receiving.”

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Read the full review here