Academy Awards 2016 – Best Picture Nods

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This year’s Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture features several films centering on legal issues. In 2015 there were no Best Picture nods to serious legal issues in film apart from Selma, a film that focused on civil rights and political activism. In 2014 the nominations included films that involved legal issues, but none really focused on the law itself.

Among the 2016 nominations we find The Big Short, a film based on a non-fiction book of the same name that dives into the interaction between financial institutions and financial regulators in the lead up to the 2008 stock market crash. We also have Spotlight, which follows the story of Boston Globe reporters as they investigate child sex allegations within the Roman Catholic Diocese–unearthing a rampant problem with sexual assault committed by Boston priests.

There are also an equal number of films on lawlessness that are up for Best Picture this year, from Mad Max and its dystopian future of total anarchy, to The Revenant and its tale of a lawless wilderness and man set out for revenge. Two of the other films feature major crimes at their centre, with Room focusing on the aftermath of a brutal kidnapping and false imprisonment, and Bridge of Spies focusing on prisoner exchanges and the secretive world of Cold War espionage.

As 2016’s nominations are especially thick with legal issues and ramifications in comparison to previous years, it will be interesting to see how these films will fare come Oscar night.

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