The Big Short is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Adam McKay. Written by McKay and Charles Randolph, it is based on the 2010 book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis showing how the financial crisis of 2007–2008 was triggered by the United States housing bubble. The film stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, with Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, John Magaro, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Finn Wittrock, and Marisa Tomei in supporting roles.
The film is noted for the unconventional techniques it employs to explain financial instruments. Among others, it features cameo appearances by actress Margot Robbie, chef Anthony Bourdain, singer-songwriter Selena Gomez, and economist Richard Thaler, who break the fourth wall to explain concepts such as subprime mortgages and collateralized debt obligations as a meta-reference. Several of the film’s characters directly address the audience, most frequently Gosling’s, who serves as the narrator.
The Big Short began a limited release in the United States on December 11, 2015, followed by a wide release on December 23 by Paramount Pictures. A critical and commercial success, the film grossed $133 million on a $50 million budget and received acclaim for the performances of the cast (particularly that of Bale), McKay’s direction, editing, and the screenplay. The film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in addition to nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bale), and Best Film Editing.