A quick look at this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Picture…

Synopsis: Bruce Dern and Will Forte play father and son in a bleakly beautiful, black-and-white road movie, set during a trip to collect what the old man believes to be $1 million in lottery winnings.

Total nominations: 6 (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography)

Directed by: Alexander Payne (nominated for Best Director; third nomination)

Starring: Bruce Dern (nominated for Best Actor; second nomination), Will Forte, June Squibb (nominated for Best Supporting Actress; first nomination)


Will Forte as David Grant, left, and Bruce Dern as Woody Grant in “Nebraska.” (Merie W. Wallace/

Why it should win: The best-photographed film of the year, “Nebraska” makes the empty vistas of America’s increasingly stale breadbasket look somehow majestic and melancholy at the same. It’s a movie that belongs on the walls of an art museum.

Why it won’t win: While poignant, the film is also wryly funny at times. And comedies never win.

Ann Hornaday’s review: 4 stars

“An ‘American Gothic’ for 21st-century, post-recession America.”

Box office as of Feb. 24: $16 million domestic

Related Reading:

Will Forte’s impressive turn to the dramatic

Why ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ should win the Best Picture Oscar