Oscars 2016

Best supporting actor nominees
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Best supporting actress nominees
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best actor nominees
Bryan Cranston
, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best actress nominees
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best director nominees
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best film nominees
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant


Director: Lenny Abrahamson (2016)

Disturbingly dark and horribly tense, this modern day fable is all the more gripping for the love at the heart of its story.

It’s told through the eyes of five year old Jack via Jacob Tremblay’s astonishing emotionally truthful performance.

He’s grown up in a decaying and cramped single room, entertained with tales of imaginary worlds told by his only companion, his mother Joy.

She’s played by the staggering excellent Brie Larson and the pair share a wonderfully warm chemistry.

Larson has been deservedly BAFTA nominated for leading actress and named as one of their Rising Stars of 2016. An Oscar nom should also be forthcoming.

At night Jack must hide in the cupboard to sleep because a bogeyman called thrusts himself into their world.

We hear of him and hear his voice long before we see him and Sean Bridgers is brilliantly and pathetically creepy as the predatory Old Nick.

Joan Allen and William H. Macy provide strong support as Joy’s parents Nancy and Robert.

As adults we can guess at the truths hidden from Jack and our fears for him and Joy make for a thoroughly unsettling watch.

A great deal of this could have oozed from the mind of Terry Gilliam in his disturbing Tideland (2006) phase.

After confronting Old Nick it is Jack’s turn to keep Joy from the grasp of the room’s demons.

Their mutual love is the thin thread of hope to which they cling to survive

The extraordinary central performances are supported by smart direction, scriptwriting and cinematography.

Emma Donaghue’s screenplay from her novel (pub. 2010) has been nominated by BAFTA for best adapted screenplay. Apart from this category and Larson’s acting nod, the film has sadly been overlooked for British honours.

Room was lensed by Danny Cohen, one of Britain’s most illustrious and hard working cinematographers.

Along with Roger Deakins, Cohen seems destined never to win an Academy Award for his work.

He was nominated for Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (2010) and worked again with the director Tom Hooper on the The Danish Girl (2016). Other recent work includes X+Y (2015) and London Road (2015).

Cohen has frequently collaborated with Shane Meadows on the This Is England TV series and his ability to capture grimy realities is fully exploited in Room.

There’s always room at the top for films this good.