Oscar Pop – The 2016 Best Picture Nominees as Pop Art Posters

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We’re in the final stretch leading up to the 88th Annual Academy Awards, which means it’s time to show off our 2016 Oscar Pop! posters. Oscar Pop! is a project in which our internal design team creates pop art posters for each year’s Academy Awards Best Picture nominees. We always love this project because it challenges us to incorporate imagery from the Shutterstock library in creative ways.

As we broke down similarities between the films we discovered they all converge on the same theme of struggle. This theme is woven throughout each film in different ways, whether it’s the physical struggle of surviving on Mars, in the American frontier, or in a post-apocalyptic wasteland; or the internal struggle of upholding the Constitution during the Cold War or remaking the meaning of home when torn between two countries.

We took these films apart and rebuilt them through various visual styles, giving us an intimate understanding of not only the plot and characters, but also our personal interpretation of the films. Check out our posters and let us know–did we do the films justice?

The Martian

“In his ‘Barcelona’ series, Mario Corea Aiello forms a grungy collage made of newspaper and magazine cutouts and heavy paint strokes. I felt this style would parallel the vicious storm that left Mark Watney for dead on Mars in The Martian. For the color scheme, I deferred to Eric White’s cover art from the original novel by Andy Weir to capture the characteristics of an otherworldly storm.”


Mad Max: Fury Road

“I looked to Warhol’s subversive dictator portraits to shape this poster of Immortan Joe. Warhol had a remarkable ability to distract from the meaning of his art with flashy colors and icon styles. On the surface his work simply looks ‘cool,’ but this shallow analysis misses the irony behind his cultural representations. Mad Max: Fury Road has the same effect: The stylized nature of the film gets more attention than the meaning behind it. I chose to feature Immortan Joe because he is a terrible person, but his iconic look makes him instantly recognizable.”


The Revenant

  • Poster by Cristin Burton
  • Artist Inspiration: Flirst

“Flirst is collage artist who assembles disparate pieces to explore how he can change the harmony of the whole. For my poster, a homage to The Revenant, I assembled pieces to create a vast, sinister, and lonely landscape. The poster features a figure with very few people on his side; this represents the film’s main character, Hugh Glass, who was brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead in the winter wilderness.”


The Big Short

The Big Short takes a comedic approach to a dark subject, and I wanted to portray the same witty, chaotic vibe in my poster. Keith Haring was my inspiration because his high-contrast, brightly colored political work, which touches on grim subjects like rape, death, and war, hinges on the same contrast as the film. The poster is based on the film’s alligator-in-an-abandoned-pool scene; the alligator represents the main characters in the movie, who took advantage of the 2008 housing bubble and left the world in desperation when it burst.”



“Set in the eponymous 1950s borough, Brooklyn features then-contemporary imagery that now exemplifies the commodification of Brooklyn as a global brand. Just as the Pop Art movement utilized mass advertising and irony to re-contextualize commercial art, I drew from today’s vintage, artisanal design trends, which are inspired by that era and setting. In that vein, I applied the animated footage and vector elements to illustrate how the contrasting settings of Brooklyn and Ireland re-contextualized the protagonist’s identity through a fluctuating sense of ‘home.’”



  • Poster by Abbey Katz
  • Artist Inspiration: KAWS

“When I first read the plot summary for Room, I envisioned lonely, sterile characters, who had been institutionalized by their secluded environment. Of course, when I saw the movie that perception quickly changed; the characters are full of life, love, and joy, and the audience instantly empathizes with them on a raw, human level. KAWS’ statues play on a similar deceit. Initially they have a sterile, robotic feel, but when you view them in their human-scale sizes and see their playful aesthetic, you experience an unexpected sense of connection.”



“My inspiration for this poster is one part Roy Lichtenstein and one part Stefan Sagmeister. Spotlight is about journalists uncovering a massive scandal in one of Boston’s oldest institutions, and I found that the perfectly contradictory homophone ‘pray/prey’ encapsulates the shock and horror felt by the community when this scandal was made public. To illustrate this, I pixelated an image of a priest, then tore off his head and replaced it with an image of a wolf.”


Bridge of Spies

“I chose to focus on the muddy gray areas and loopholes within Bridge of Spies. The Cold War was fueled by each side’s increasingly dire hypotheticals, causing mass paranoia among citizens and governments alike. A large part of the film’s narrative focuses on the extent of protection under the law, especially for a Soviet spy. I reimagined Lady Justice, mixing her blindfold with the American and Soviet flags to represent how both countries were tied to their individuals principles of justice even while locked in an unending battle for the upper hand.”


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Do you like this kind of posts? It is part of our “Movie Posters” section: a special page showing everything we've published related to this subject.

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About the author

This post is originally published at Shutterstock by Lead Designer for the Shutterstock Blog, Jordan Roland. You can follow him on pretty much any social site under the username @drawjordan.

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