The 2015 Oscar contenders were just announced, and we’re excited to see that there are quite a few movies incorporating science (and scientists). Of course, the following films also lean (sometimes heavily) on fiction to create the entertainment experience moviegoers seek, but if you’re into science like we are, they're all worth checking out.
So without further ado, the scientific nominees are:
The Imitation Game: With eight nominations including one for best picture, this intense film tells the story of mathematician Alan Turing. Turing was credited with cracking the presumably unbreakable codes of Germany's World War II Enigma machine, used to encipher and decipher secret messages, through his creation of one of the world’s first computers. Unfortunately, Turing’s life became complicated when, in 1952, authorities came to his home after he reported a burglary. Turing was a homosexual, and what authorities uncovered led them to charge him with the then-crime of “gross indecency”. The movie has been called “an intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man.” View the trailer here.
The Theory of Everything: Another best picture contender! If you’re a fan of Stephen Hawking’s work, perhaps you’d like to learn a bit more about his personal life. While this heart-wrenching film focuses more on the challenges he encountered battling motor neuron disease and how they affected his relationship with his wife, the touching personal exploration imparts the viewer with a deeper understanding of the theoretical physicist and explains, in part, how Hawking’s worldview influenced his work. View the trailer here.
Interstellar: Criticized by some for its failure to maintain 100% scientific accuracy and praised by others for its originality and exploration of metaphysical possibilities, Interstellar is nothing if not an awe-striking visual journey through space. A theoretical physicist acted as both executive producer and scientific consultant for the film, but this did not stop scientists everywhere from engaging in a love/hate relationship with Interstellar. Regardless of what the critics say, if you’ve ever wanted to know what a black hole would look like up close, Interstellar has probably created the most accurate simulation to date. Watch the trailer here.
Virunga: Ecologists, environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy this sobering documentary about a group of park rangers fighting to protect the Democratic Republic of Congo’s gorgeous wildlife-rich Virunga National Park from destruction at the hands of a British oil company. A powerful and moving film that reveals the best and worst of humanity while driving home how responsible we are not only to our planet but also to the creatures we share it with, "Virunga" has received near-universal acclaim by critics. Unfortunately, the World Wildlife Fund warns that the battle for Virunga is still ongoing. Watch the trailer here.