During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. (IMDb)
So, a lot of the nominated this year are being criticized/called out for a lot of them being "a white man faces adversity" movies. And this one is no different. This is not only a white man facing adversity movie, this is a also a survivalist movie, in a year that already has The Revenant. And it is really hard to not notice the similarities. Hell, even the posters look similar. But, what makes this one stand apart is how undeniably human it is. Most survivalist movies show our main character gritting his teeth, self fixing an injury, eating some raw bison meat, and toughing it out. Instead, we see a man who while he does grit his teeth and yank an antenna out of his side, and eat some dehydrated space food, he also get upset, gets his hopes lifted, gets angry, and even laughs. This is thanks to a wonderful performance form Matt Damon. I think this may be a personal favorite for me. The rest of the all star cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Kristen Wiig, and Donald Glover (to name a few) only makes this even better. I actually would have loved to see Chiwetel Ejiofor get nominated for supporting actor, I thought he was great. My only complaint was that while there were some moments of peril, I never actually believed that he was going to die. And apparently the original book has him almost die multiple times? Maybe at least one of those was needed to amp up the stakes, instead of a dude chilling on Mars for like a year and a half. However, at the end of the day, I really enjoyed this and deserves every nomination.