16 Family Friendly Films Nominated for the 2016 Oscars

As the weather gets colder, what better way to spend a chilly evening in than with an Oscar Nominated film. From record-breaking hits to dramas based on historical events, we’ve selected the best Oscar-worthy films for viewing with your kids. Some even offer educational benefits! Check out this list of family friendly picks, and be sure to watch the awards on ABC February 28 at 7 PM (ET) to see if your favorites win!

[divider]The Martian[/divider]


Nominated for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (Matt Damon), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead and left behind when an unexpected storm hits Mars, forcing his crew mates to abandon their mission. Watney, a botanist, must engineer ways to find food and survive the harsh environment and, after he reestablishes communication with NASA, scientists around the globe race against time to rescue him. Read about the educational value of this film in our Learning Liftoff review.  Before seeing the film, encourage your child to read the book, The Martian, by Andy Weir, and compare the movie to the well-researched science fiction novel.

[divider]Bridge of Spies[/divider]


Nominated for Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role (Mark Rylance), Music (Original Score), Production Design, Sound Mixingand Writing (Original Screenplay)

Based on a true story, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane during the Cold War. Sentenced to ten years in prison, Powers’ only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Read our Learning Liftoff review and see how you can  turn this movie into a great history lesson.

[divider]Star Wars: The Force Awakens[/divider]


Nominated for Best Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects

Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights. Don’t forget to check out these free Star Wars printable activities and learn about the real science behind the fiction in this film.

[divider]Steve Jobs[/divider]


Nominated for Actor in a Leading Role (Michael Fassbender) and Actress in a Supporting Role (Kate Winslet),

With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve “Woz” Wozniak get ready to unveil the first Macintosh in 1984. The film is set before the launches of three key products: the Macintosh, NeXT Computer, and iMac G3. Rated R for language. This film provides a behind-the-scenes look at the digital revolution and the man who played such a big role in it.

[divider]Inside Out[/divider]


Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and Writing (Original Screenplay)

Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions—led by Joy (Amy Poehler)—try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event.



Nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jennifer Lawrence)

A story of a family across four generations, centered on the woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Facing betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence, and the scars of love, Joy becomes a true boss of family and enterprise.



Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Sylvester Stallone)

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born. However, boxing is in his blood, so he seeks out Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and asks the retired champ to be his trainer.

[divider]Boy and the World[/divider]


Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film

A Brazilian animated film about Cuca, a boy who lives in a distant world. One day, he sees his father leaving in search of work, embarking on a train toward an unknown capital. The weeks that follow are of anguish and confusing memories. Until, one night, a breath of wind breaks into the bedroom window and takes the boy to a distant and magical place.

[divider]Shaun the Sheep Movie[/divider]


Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film

All is well at Mossy Bottom Farm, except for the fact that the animals will do anything to get out of work. So, Shaun the sheep and his scheming friends devise a plan to put their master to sleep. However, the ruse backfires when the poor farmer finds himself transported to the big city, having lost his memory. Now, it’s up to Sean, Timmy the lamb, Shirley the ewe, and the rest of the gang to travel to the metropolis and get him back, while not landing in even more trouble themselves.

[divider]When Marnie Was There[/divider]


Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film

A Japanese anime film written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle) and produced by Studio Ghibli. It’s an imaginative story about a tomboy (Sara Takatsuki) who explores a long-abandoned villa and meets a mysterious blonde girl only she can see.

[divider]Sanjay’s Super Team[/divider]


Nominated for Best Short Film (Animated)

A Pixar short animated film directed by Sanjay Patel. Inspired by his own childhood when he felt conflicted by the modern world and the Hindu traditions of his family, Sanjay’s Super Team follows the daydream of a young Indian boy, bored with his father’s religious meditation, who imagines Hindu gods as superheroes.

[divider]World of Tomorrow[/divider]


Nominated for Best Short Film (Animated)

An animated short film by American filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt. Illustrator Julia Pott performs the voice of the short’s lead character opposite Hertzfeldt’s then-four-year-old niece who was recorded while drawing and playing. Her spontaneous, natural vocal reactions and questions were then edited into the story to create her character.



Nominated for Best Costume Design

After her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella (Lily James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters, who reduce her to scullery maid. Help arrives in the form of a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) who has a magic touch for ordinary things. Read Learning Liftoff’s review of this film and learn the surprising message it offers parents and children.

[divider]What Happened, Miss Simone?[/divider]


Nominated for Best Documentary (Feature)

A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the “High Priestess of Soul.” Simone’s fascinating life offers an interesting perspective on the civil rights movement and another learning opportunity for kids. Streaming now on Netflix.

[divider]Chau, beyond the Lines[/divider]


Nominated for Best Documentary (Short Subject)

An American short-documentary film about a 16-year-old teenager disabled by the effects of Agent Orange, who aspires to become an artist and clothing designer.



Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

In 1916, Theeb lives with his Bedouin tribe in a remote part of the Ottoman Empire. When his older brother has to escort a British officer across the desert, Theeb tags along for the adventure.

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