Oscars previous winners

Is 'Brooklyn' the new 'Casablanca'? Best picture nominees recall past winners

The nominations are in, which means weeks of prognosticating on who and what will win and why. From now until Oscar night on Feb. 28, no odds will be left unscrutinized, no tea leaves left unread. That means it's time for our annual attempt to judge the best picture nominees' chances by comparing them with previous winners of a similar nature. And if they each can be related to a past winner, where does that leave us in prognosticating this year's victor? Well, nowhere, but with fond memories of films gone past.

"The Big Short" | "The Sting"

Here we have a sharp, funny, David-and-Goliath battle, if Goliath were a dirtbag. In "The Big Short, " little guys face off against a giant Wall Street deception. In "The Sting" (1973), they tackled a giant Robert Shaw. In both films, the Davids beat the house and won piles of money, but more critically, they achieved vindication.

"Bridge of Spies" | "Argo"

For a period piece set in dangerous territory, a half-baked CIA plan to rescue Americans that by all reasonable expectations shouldn't work, and a clever everyman committed to doing the right thing against all odds, look no further than 2012's "Argo."

"Brooklyn" | "Casablanca"

Pardon our reach, but for a heartbreaking love triangle with a beautiful woman at its center, we'll have to go with "Casablanca" (1943). Sure, there's no war raging in Brooklyn, but it was once as exotic and full of intrigue as the Moroccan city. Oh wait, maybe that was Staten Island.

"Mad Max: Fury Road" |"Gladiator"

Look to another epic of clashing metal in "Gladiator" (2000), where we find good versus evil writ large, a noble woman in a sheet and gruesome battles to the death, all set on a sandy stage.

"The Martian" | "Lawrence of Arabia"

"Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) gave us breathtaking vistas that looked as alien as Mars, and a leading man who held the screen from first to last, often alone with his impossible vision in a sea of sand.

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