An Oscar Challenge That’ll Make Your Head Explode

Happy Oscar Season!

As we’ve done in past years at Nerdonomy,  we’re hosting a challenge to prepare our movie-loving followers for the 88th Academy Awards.  This year, however,  we must warn you, the challenge is steeper than it’s been in the past.  While usually the Oscar Challenge can be completed in watching 17-19 films, this year the challenge requires a MINIMUM of 20 films to be seen, and as many as 25 if you’re really pushing yourself.  So get ready to do some sitting.

Just like the previous challenges, this will be completed in three phases.  Are you ready to begin?


Phase One: The Best of the Best 

This is a great start.  Seeing all of the following films will complete the categories of Best Picture, Directing, Production Design, and Film Editing (because let’s face it, WE ALL saw Star Wars).

  • Room
  • Spotlight
  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Revenant
  • The Martian
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Bonus Film: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (if for some reason, you didn’t see it. This is purely for movie nerd bragging rights)

Phase Two: Choose Your Own Adventure

Complete all from ONE of the following categories.  This is the catch-up round, so try not to hurt yourself, here.  You’ve still got a lot of sitting ahead of you.

Animated Feature

  • Anomalisa
  • O Menino E O Mundo
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie was There

Costume Design

  • Carol — Sandy Powell
  • Cinderella — Sandy Powell
  • Mad Max: Fury Road — Jenny Beavan
  • The Danish Girl — Paco Delgado
  • The Revenant — Jacqueline West

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Mad Max: Fury Road — Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
  • The Revenant — Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

The Shorts (2 Categories)

  • Live-Action Short Film Nominees
  • Animated Short Film Nominees

Note:  These are often presented together in their entirety through your local theater chain, or are available to download from iTunes or Rent through streaming services.

Phase Three:  It’s About to Get Rough

You must see ALL the remaining films in the Acting and Writing categories.  This one is tough.  Even if you’ve already completed Phase One, this means you still need to see another 6-7 movies (depending on your Phase Two choices) to complete the challenge.

Actor in Leading Role

  • Bryan Cranston — Trumbo
  • Eddie Redmayne — The Danish Girl
  • Leonardo DiCaprio — The Revenant
  • Matt Damon — The Martian
  • Michael Fassbender — Steve Jobs

Actor in Supporting Role

  • Christian Bale — The Big Short
  • Mark Ruffalo — Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance — Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone — Creed
  • Tom Hardy — The Revenant

Actress in Leading Role

  • Brie Larson — Room
  • Cate Blanchett — Carol
  • Charlotte Rampling — 45 Years
  • Jennifer Lawrence — Joy
  • Saoirse Ronan — Brooklyn

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Alicia Vikander — The Danish Girl
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh — The Hateful 8
  • Kate Winslet — Steve Jobs
  • Rachel McAdams — Spotlight
  • Rooney Mara — Carol


  • Mad Max: Fury Road — George Miller
  • Room — Lenny Abrahamson
  • Spotlight — Tom McCarthy
  • The Revenant — Alejandro G. Iñárritu
  • The Big Short — Adam McKay

Writing — Adapted Screenplay

  • Brooklyn — Nick Hornby
  • The Big Short — Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
  • Carol — Phyllis Nagy
  • The Martian — Drew Goddard
  • Room — Emma Donoghue

Writing — Original Screenplay

  • Bridge of Spies — Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
  • Spotlight — Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
  • Straight Outta Compton —  Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff
  • Ex Machina — Alex Garland
  • Inside Out — Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen

If you possess the fortitude, passion, and free time to complete this challenge, we PROMISE you will be the most authoritative (Read: annoying) guest at your friend’s Oscar Party this year.  If you need proof, completing the challenge fulfills the following categories:

Best Picture


Film Editing

Production Design

Sound Mixing

Actor in a Leading Role

Actress in a Leading Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Writing (Adapted)

Writing (Original)

Visual Effects

But wait…there’s ONE. MORE. TEST.

Phase Four:  The Ultimate of Ultimates

  • Sicario

Right now you’re thinking “…that’s it?  All that build up for ONE FUCKING MOVIE?!”


This film is arguably more brutal than The Revenant in content and tone.  And if you watch this seemingly easy film, you will have added the following ADDITIONAL categories to your belt:


Sound Editing

Music – Original Score

This is now 15 categories you would have completed.  Depending on your Phase Two choices, you will have seen all the films in 16-17 categories of the 24 up for adjudication.


But keep in mind, this is a BONUS phase for bragging rights only.  Completing Phases 1 2 and 3 will complete the challenge.

But I’m sure right you’re thinking “well, what’s my incentive?”  Well we were just getting to that.


The Prize

If you complete the challenge by 5 PM PST, on February 28, you will receive a FREE embroidered Nerdonomy duffel bag!  Prize quantities are extremely limited, and will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Runners-Up (Read: QUITTERS!) will at least get a shout-out on Nerds on Film with the number of films you did end up seeing, and our respect.


How to Play/The Rules:

  1. If you’ve won in previous years, you are not eligible for the first prize. However, if you do complete the challenge, reach out to us through our Talk to Us link, and we’ll figure something out.
  2. You may e-mail us at [email protected] with the subject Oscar Challenge 2016 with your name and shipping address.
  3. You MUST keep track of your ticket stubs and receipts to prove that you’ve seen those movies.  In the case of online rentals, screenshots will suffice.  If for some reason you’ve already seen some of the movies and thrown away your ticket stubs, you must provide some physical proof you’ve seen the movies by legitimate means.
  4. Send the photos of your stubs and screenshots by 5 PM on February 28th to the address and subject above to complete your challenge and claim your prize.



And there you have it!  Now let’s get watching!



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