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Oscar nominations preview: 10 movies that are likely to get best-picture nods

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in "The Revenant."

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in "The Revenant." Credit: 20th Century Fox

Who and what will be nominated at the Oscars? We’ll find out when the announcements are made Thursday morning, but for now it’s anyone guess. The awards race has been wide open so far, with only a few films emerging as obvious front runners.

Could Pixar’s “Inside Out” land on the best picture list? Unlikely, given the Oscars’ habit of overlooking even the best animated films. Some Oscar-watchers are predicting a nod for the crime-thriller “Sicario,” though the sleeper hit “Brooklyn” could take its place. As for “Concussion,” an anti-football biopic starring Will Smith, its chances seem slimmer than ever.

Here are the 10 movies we’re likely to see in the running for best picture:

THE BIG SHORT Adam McKay’s semi-comedic take on the 2008 financial crisis was wildly uneven, but the film has topicality and populist outrage on its side. Look for acting nods for Christian Bale and Steve Carell as well, both nominated at the Golden Globes.

BRIDGE OF SPIES When Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks make a movie, a nomination seems guaranteed to follow. Hanks wasn’t a Globe nominee, but the Oscars may be more inclined to give him a nod.

BROOKLYN Saoirse Ronan won the New York Film Critics Circle for outstanding actress in this Irish-immigrant romance. Locally, it proved a hit; anecdotally, it seems to charm everyone who sees it.

CAROL Cate Blanchett won the Globe for her portrayal of a married lesbian in the 1950s, and the New York critics voted “Carol” its top film of the year. A snub by the Oscars would be a shocker.

MAD MAX Even after its strong box-office and widespread critical acclaim, this gonzo action-epic wouldn’t have been on anyone’s Oscar list. Surprise: Warner’s awards campaign that has worked so well that even a win doesn’t seem out of the question.

THE MARTIAN Who didn’t love this movie? Well, a few of us, but “The Martian” has been too much of a crowd please for the Oscars to overlook. The big question is whether Matt Damon, as a stranded astronaut, gets a nod.

THE REVENANT Alejandro Inarritu’s brutal survival epic isn’t “fun,” exactly, but the jaw-dropping camerawork can’t be ignored. Look for nods for cinematography, score and Leonardo DiCaprio as best actor. He just might win it, too, which would be a career first.

ROOM A dark-horse prediction, but the Globe win for Brie Larson — as a woman raising a child in captivity — suggests that this indie movie has momentum.

SPOTLIGHT Here’s your odds-on favorite for the win. Tom McCarthy’s true-life journalist drama seems to be a consensus favorite, even if the ensemble cast members — including Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo — aren’t singled out for nods.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON A gangsta-rap biopic at the Oscars? This could be the year thanks to F. Gary Gray’s unexpectedly hard-hitting and timely film. If this movie doesn’t at least place — especially after so much criticism about the Academy’s Caucasian bias last year — you can bet the Oscar voters will hear about it.

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