It is a yearly tradition at CINE FEEL YEAH to play a twisted version of the classic party game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon once the Academy Award nominations for Best Picture are announced. To celebrate, I connect all of the finalists for the most coveted of film trophies to each other, using the names of co-stars who appear in other films with people in other nominated Best Picture contenders from the current year. This exercise illuminates the interconnectedness of the (kinds of) films that are nominated for Best Picture or any other kind of Oscar year after year. It pains me to say that this edition of “The Circuitous Route to Best Picture” is also as lily white as the nominees in the twenty-strong acting field this year. Again, this is indicative of how systemically racist Hollywood–and not just the Academy–truly is.
Before I solve this puzzle (and invite you to make your own connections in the comments section), allow me to enumerate some ground rules that I followed. First, I eschewed consulting “the Bible” (also known as IMDb), because I wanted to test my general knowledge of film history and individual actors’ filmographies. This leads me to my second restriction: I connected the eight films only through actors–never through directors, editors, production designers, screenwriters, and so on. And I never invoked actors’ TV roles or appearances. This is about film.
Without further ado, I give you the nominees for Best Picture of 2015:
1.) The Big Short with Max Greenfield, who’s in Hello, My Name is Doris with Sally Field, who’s in Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks, who’s in
2.) Bridge of Spies with Amy Ryan, who’s in Jack Goes Boating with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who’s in The Talented Mr. Ripley with Matt Damon, who’s in
3.) The Martian with Kristen Wiig, who’s in Knocked Up with Jonah Hill, who’s in 21 Jump Street with Brie Larson, who’s in
4.) Room with Joan Allen, who’s in Pleasantville/The Ice Storm with Tobey Maguire, who’s in The Cider House Rules with Charlize Theron, who’s in
5.) Mad Max: Fury Road with Tom Hardy, who’s in
6.) The Revenant with Domhnall Gleeson, who’s in
7.) Brooklyn with Saoirse Ronan, who’s in The Lovely Bones with Stanley Tucci, who’s in
Now, it’s easy to connect #8 Spotlight to #1 The Big Short:
8.) Spotlight with Rachel McAdams, who’s in The Notebook with Ryan Gosling, who’s in
1.) The Big Short.
They do say that it’s a draw between Spotlight and The Big Short, after all.