If Hillary Clinton is 'Spotlight,' is Donald Trump 'The Revenant'? A presidential-Oscar guide

You’ve been following the presidential primary season with an unhealthy obsession. So unhealthy, in fact, that you haven’t had a chance to pay much attention to this year’s Oscar race.

Fear not. There are many similarities between best picture candidates and the presidential kind; in fact, like a dog taking on the expressions of its owner, each Oscar movie seems to be manifesting the characteristics of its corresponding political personality.

As this Oscar day unfolds, then, here’s a handy guide.


(Open Road Films)
(Bryan R. Smith / Associated Press)

It aims to do good in the world. It’s not the exciting choice. It seems to have been the front-runner forever — yet people can’t really seem to fully get behind it. Hillary Clinton is, indeed, the “Spotlight” of the presidential campaign, and the movie is the madam secretary of Oscar races.

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"The Revenant"

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

All he does is win, win, win. El Trumpo? No, Señor Alejandro G. Iñarritu, who has made winning his own ideology after his “Birdman” scored director and picture prizes last year. "The Revenant" is the flashy choice, the one that people didn’t think could make a run early on, what with so much tabloid mockery, and the one that seems to engender the biggest backlash. The movie is the Trump of best picture nominees (it remains to be seen whether Iñarritu would fall into Trump's category of “good” Mexicans who would return even if President Donald puts up that wall).

"The Big Short"

(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Bernie Sanders. Yeah, we don’t need to explain this one.


(John Locher / Associated Press)

We’re not saying that listening to Ben Carson try to hold his own in a debate is a certain kind of claustrophobic pain. But are there parallels to being locked in an airless room with little but a bathtub and skylight for company? We’re just asking.


(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Like the heroine of this movie, Marco Rubio’s parents hailed from a different country and were forced to endure a tough journey across treacherous waters to make it in America. Also, there are moments when the film does seem to repeat itself.

“Bridge of Spies"

(Jim Cole / Associated Press)

There’s a well-meaning quality to its candidacy. You want to give it a hug without knowing why. It’s the one no one really objects to but no one can quite remember is in the race. Yes, “Bridge of Spies” is the John Kasich of Oscar season .

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

There is energy galore. There is a Texas-like wasteland. There are people who wonder how exactly it’s gotten this far. Clearly Ted Cruz could relate.

"The Martian"

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Well, that’s Jeb Bush, of course. What, you say he’s not really in the race anymore? Well…

Full coverage: Oscars 2016 | List of nominees | #OscarsSoWhite controversy

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