The Oscar nominations for Best Picture are up and it’s now that time of year when you can endlessly debate your friends about the merits of each, and argue over which film truly IS the best picture of the year. Will it be a big crowd-pleaser like The Martian or will it be something a little more subtle like Room?
At this point it is too early to tell, but over the next six weeks I am going to throw my hat into the ring and look at each of the eight noms one by one. I’ll tell you what I think about each and at the end I will give you two predictions: who will win, and who should win.
Up first: THE BIG SHORT
If you’re anything like me, then the financial market crash of ‘08 probably passed you right by as it was happening.
At the time, I was fresh out of school and spending a year living the life of a west coast Ski-bum, and while I was certainly aware there was something going on, it was of little concern to me as I thought I had nothing to lose.
After all, what effect could an American financial crisis have on me as a Canadian grad? It’s not like they could add more money to my student loan….right?
Well, I was wrong. Like everyone else, I too was effected by the crisis south of the border and as their system crumbled everyone else’s, including Canada’s, slowed right down. The result was that when I was done hitting the slopes for a year, the high paying entry level jobs that I had assumed would be waiting for me after graduation weren’t there.
Now, here it is almost eight years later and while I and everyone else have mostly recovered to a sense of normalcy, people are still unsure of what really happened. This is why a movie like The Big Short is so important; it helps us to understand a very complex situation in its simplest terms while being very entertaining.
To say that The Big Short is educational is an understatement, as it is the most forthright and transparent account of what happened in ’08 that I have ever seen. Unlike the countless documentaries that came before it, The Big Short is like getting a crash course in macro-economics from your cool older brother (if your cool older brother was Ryan Gosling), and through a series of fourth-wall breaking clips from celebs like Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, and Chef Anthony Bourdain, it is able to really cut through the Wall Street doubletalk that misled everyone in the first place and lay these concepts out in their simplest terms.
Additionally, the fact that the story is 100% true and is presented in such a blunt manner makes The Big Short one of the darkest comedies I have ever seen. Are the bankers exceptionally greedy? Yup! Did anyone learn anything from this? Nope! Is it going to happen again? Probably!
If you haven’t already, go check out The Big Short. With any luck, people will pay attention this time and we won’t soon see a repeat of 2008.