Beyond Best Picture: Five lower-profile Oscar nominees worth watching

Mustang is up for Best Foreign Language Film.

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) British character actor Rylance is expected to lose to Sylvester Stallone (Creed), but his dignified performance as an accused Soviet spy is the kind the Academy should recognize more.

Best Documentary: Cartel Land Although it follows the Academy-approved path of tackling a hot-button social issue, Cartel Land isn’t a bludgeoning lecture. Its account of two vigilante groups on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border makes the abstract policy issue of drug smuggling visceral and engrossing.

Best Foreign Language Film: Mustang The intense Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul is a runaway favorite to win this award, but this joyous, uplifting Turkish film is an equally wonderful achievement, a celebration of sisterly bonds in the face of the harsh realities of rigid patriarchy.

Best Animated Short Film: World of Tomorrow Animator Don Hertzfeldt has been making simple, deceptively profound short films since ’95, and this sci-fi meditation on regret is funny, moving and weird. Unlike a lot of nominated shorts, this one is easily accessible: You can watch it now on Netflix.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Carol Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy was a longtime friend of author Patricia Highsmith, and she spent nearly 20 years working to adapt Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt. While the nominated performances are excellent, it’s Nagy’s well-constructed screenplay that forms the movie’s backbone.

Academy Awards February 28, 5:30 p.m., ABC.

Tags: Film
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