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Which Podcast To Try Based On Your Favorite Oscar Nominee

Podcasts are basically free, choose-your-adventure movies that you can absorb while still operating a car or walking around the street. So the next time you're bored, download one of these options based on the movie you loved most this year.

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The Martian – StarTalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

If only Mark Watney had had access to the podcast app. If you loved The Martian, can appreciate the science behind the science fiction. Just like in The Martian, host Neil DeGrasse Tyson uses StarTalk Radio to explain complicated scientific concepts in layman’s terms, and with plenty of jokes. Also, like The Martian’s star-studded cast, Neil has a host of celebs, comedians, and scientists on to make the science go down easier. His podcast is basically if a cool science teacher invited the class clown up to the front of the class to add commentary to the lesson.

Suggestion: Cosmic Queries: Time Travel with Colin Jost

The Revenant – Lore

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The scenic wilderness, the tense atmosphere, the bursts of adrenaline…The Revenant really knows how to set the mood. If you liked this take on the mythologized frontiersman, you should try Aaron Mahnke’s Lore. In his dulcet tones, Mahnke tells the chilling tales behind folklore and urban legends. Some stories, like the real-life zombies of Haiti, are stranger than fiction; and some, like origin of the Pied Piper, reveal that sometimes the most horrific things are what humans do to each other. If you like being transported and chilled to the bone, give this one a listen.

Suggestion: Episode 12: Half-Hanged

Bridge of Spies – Stuff You Should Know

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Probably before seeing Bridge of Spies, you didn’t know that James Donovan negotiated the release of US spy pilot Gary Powers during the Cold War. If you loved finding out about this, the perfect podcast for you is Stuff You Should Know. In each episode, co-hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark cover something you might not have learned about before. Bridge of Spies fans will appreciate their historical episodes, like Operation Mincemeat and the March on Washington, but their wide range of topics (on blood types, homing pigeons, alcoholism, polyamory, ESP, bridges, road rage, etc.) and their delightful banter make this podcast a calm and enjoyable listen.

Suggestion: That Time Nazis invaded Florida

Room – Criminal

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Though it has a terrifying premise, Room is, at its heart, a movie about at the human consequences of a crime. Likewise, the Criminal podcast isn’t just about broken laws—it’s about the people affected. Host Phoebe Judge interviews criminals, victims, bystanders, and law enforcement: everyone from a cocky bank robber giving up his ways to a scuba-certified police officer diving for evidence to a man who thinks his neighbor was murdered by an owl. It makes for a fascinating and colorful portrait of the people whose lives brush up against broken laws every day.

Suggestion: Episode 26: Angie

The Big Short – What’s the Point

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The Big Short takes the time to explain the facts behind the economic crash of 2008, and FiveThirtyEight's What’s The Point podcast is all about the facts. These two are a match made in heaven for someone who wants to be entertained and also wants to understand things that are relevant to our modern society. Hosted by Jody Avirgan, this podcast puts dry data into fascinating contexts, so while you think you're hearing about the newest Pixar movie, you might actually be learning about US Geological Survey data mining. Win-win.

Suggestion: .25 The Dark Side of Forensic DNA

Brooklyn – The Memory Palace

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Brooklyn and The Memory Palace are cut from the same, nostalgic cloth. In The Memory Palace, host Nate DiMeo delves into small, forgotten corners of the past with care and respect for the subject. The short episodes illuminate overlooked historical figures like Edwin Booth (brother of a certain John Wilkes), and Margaret Knight, who has been called the most famous woman inventor of the 19th century (though not nearly as famous as her male contemporaries). Like Eilis’s, their stories are an engaging step back in time.

Suggestion: Episode 75: The Ballad of Captain Dwight

Mad Max –

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There are a lot of things to love about Mad Max: Fury Road—the cinematic shots of the desert, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, that guy playing guitar on the front of the truck—but perhaps the best part was the surprisingly feminist tone to the movie. Such is the unexpected pleasure of listening to the Podcast: whatever you might be expecting from a humor website, it’s one of the most intelligent and articulate shows out there right now. Their topics vary wildly, from a serious debate over The Best and Worst Fictional Places to Work to look at how Internet Subcultures Combat Free Speech, and even polarizing topics like gun laws and Bill Cosby merit their own, surprisingly thoughtful—and funny—episodes. Give it a listen if you’re in the mood to seriously explore complicated issues while appreciating plenty of references to Pulp Fiction and Back to the Future.

Suggestion: The Rise of White Supremacy in America

Spotlight – The Moth

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f the smooth arc of a well-told story, especially one based-on-real-events like in Spotlight, is your kind of thing, The Moth is the podcast for you. In each episode, people tell their most personal stories to a live audience: some are light and hilarious; some are sad and unsettling; some, like the story told by Ed Ganavgar—who survived a stabbing only to get injured in a car accident, and then had to endure speaking at his attacker’s trial—are both. Anyone who appreciates good journalism and an unexpectedly touching human interest feature will love the stories they hear here, including a Mormon’s attempt at dating an atheist, a mother discovering her daughter's autism, and a teenage boy dealing with oral surgery and headgear.

Suggestion: Blue Men, Psychopaths and a Bad Date

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