Anisha Koilpillai, Staff Writer

As the calendar ticks down to the Oscars, it is worthy to note a film that made the Best Picture list that almost sticks out like a sore thumb: “The Martian.”

To be clear, I absolutely love The Martian. It was definitely one of the more noteworthy movies of 2015. However, looking at the list for best picture and seeing names like “The Revenant” and “Room,” both of which are notorious for making audiences uncomfortable in some way, it is shocking, to me at least, that The Martian made the list.

There are several factors of the movie though that are great, and perhaps these added together to edge out other movies for a spot amongst the big dogs.  The screenplay for one sticks to the novel extremely well, so it is no surprise that the film is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. The visual effects, yet another nomination The Martian has received, reminds us all that space is this beautiful yet mysterious place that humans have been studying for centuries.

Even the production design, something most moviegoers overlook, did a very convincing job of appearing as if Matt Damon’s character was on Mars. The amount of detail put into the set is astounding.

As to the actual plot of the film itself, actors such as Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Michael Peña all work together to blend the perfect mix of humor and solemnity, transitioning from genius astronauts to friends “stuck” in space together in a very smooth manner. The actors were all well versed in their roles and it definitely showed in the final product.

Unlike its space predecessor “Interstellar,” The Martian managed to keep audience members captivated with the struggle of Matt Damon’s character, Mark Watney, by not verbalizing too much of the scientific details found in the plot. Rather, the film took a more humoristic approach throughout using Mark Watney. The Martian kept things simple enough to keep the audience interested yet did not damper on the intelligence of the characters. It was a well-blended mix that was much needed if the film wanted to distinguish itself from Interstellar. I think it did.

Overall, The Martian was easily one of my top five movies of 2015. While I still may be slightly confused as to why it is nominated for Best Picture (I’ve noticed that a lot of the Best Picture films aren’t very funny), it is easy to see why it was nominated for so many other Oscars. I’ll be rooting for it to win at least one Oscar.