What All the Oscar Movies are About

I saw an interview recently where a movie critic pointed out that there was very little variety among this year’s Best Picture nominees. Only Brooklyn had romantic themes, he gave as an example. In a category where romance is common place, the uniformity struck him as a bit odd.

I have seen every movie up for Best Picture except Brooklyn, and I would assert that they have another thing in common, and it’s a revealing truth about the status of our society.

Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, The Martian, The Revenant, Spotlight, Brooklyn and The Big Short are all up for the grand prize at the Oscars. Even though I’ve not seen Brooklyn, thanks to the internet I can get the gist of the plot line. In addition to being the only romance of the group, it might also be the exception to what I’m about to suggest links all the other movies.

All the Best Picture films are movies which tell of a wrong being righted. 

In Bridge of Spies, a prisoner swap illustrates the need for tough, messy, patient negotiation. It’s about getting the deal right, not getting the deal done.

In Spotlight a group of journalists in Boston’s second most respected institution (The Boston Globe) take on the leadership of Boston’s first-most respected institution (The Catholic Church) to expose coverups to abuses at the hands of priests. It’s not right, the viewer often thinks to themselves as the drama unfolds.

Mad Max: Fury Road takes on justice and vengeance and the overthrow of malevolent forces to bring good and peace to inhabitants of a dystopian society. Slaves are freed. It’s my least favorite movie of the set, but still on point theme-wise…maybe most of all.

In The Martian a group of astronauts go on a mission to save a man left behind. Themes of loyalty and sacrifice are obvious, with the goal of correcting a mistake. Wrong made right.

The Revenant may be the most beautifully captured story, but it is contrasted by a gruesome trek of a half-dead man across the frozen tundra of the pioneer northwest to right a wrong done to him and his family.

In The Big Short a group of eccentric investors bet against the U.S. housing market and watch as the horror of the collapse unfolds in front of them. They don’t so much right a wrong, but they certainly confront a systematic wrong that they see and shine light on the lunacy of it, not exactly reveling in the fact that they are correct in the end (for they profit handsomely).

Room was the toughest to watch, as a woman and her young son are imprisoned by a cruel abductor and abuser and seek to escape into the world. It’s uncomfortable to view, but in Room we’re faced with the notion that confronting a wrong isn’t easy at all, and may lead to greater obstacles on the other side of the confrontation.

87th

(Photo Credit)

Two years ago I wrote a blog that asked the question whether or not a Christian should watch the Oscars.  One may justifiably ask if a believer should watch the movies I just mentioned (I admit to averting my eyes a few times during The Big Short). While the films vary in terms of how gritty they were, if you accept motion pictures as a mirror of our society, in this year’s batch I saw more good than ill.

I saw a set of movies that are representative of a generation of humanity that wants to fix problems, not perpetuate them. We want to confront injustice, not shy away from it. We want to right wrongs. All the movies in the Best Picture category tackle that theme. It is encouraging to me that even a secular group of film makers understands this, and is attempting to urge people into further action. Movies have a way of moving us in ways mere words cannot…not only to get us to admit, “Enough’s enough,” but to further assert, “I can no longer sit still.”

The thing is, people shouldn’t be held against their will, abused, systematically oppressed, tricked, trapped, or abandoned. Those things are not okay. We’ve all got work to do. We should be more emphatic about getting this deal called life right, not simply getting this deal called life done. 

You don’t need to watch the Oscars (or the films vying for Best Picture) to be convinced of this, but you might be moved to greater commitment if you watch them. I would particularly recommend Spotlight as my favorite…it moved something inside me. In fact, I wept through the credits.

Hollywood gets a lot wrong. They are not considered a particularly moral or altruistic bunch. There are plenty of things to critique, but for their film making this year and their interest in addressing important issues plaguing our society, my reaction is enthusiastic:

Two thumbs up.

2 comments

  1. Oscars:

    What you were watching was a well choreographed and highly planned social decent from “Americanism” – to the planned and celebrated isolation of forces found only in tribalism – white, black, red, yellow, Jewish, Christian, etc. Holding up of American Values and Ideals is not the motive of last night’s disgusting rant and foray.

    It’s not “new news” that if dark forces can segregate – and pit key tribes against each other – saying one has benefits or preference over the other – or criticize for a look, heritage or behavior – the then isolated groups will not join forces and address the real problems and issues they all share as citizens.

    Issues like;

    the removal of God from society,
    the poor economic results of wrong Keynesian economics,
    the constant war footing demanding trillions of future generational taxes,
    the confiscatory theft of the fruits of labor,
    the continual dilution of purchasing power through inflation,
    the removal of individual rights,
    the poisoning of our food so cancer is our last contribution to corporate profit,
    the push towards their “One World Order” and finally,
    the hijacking of hard fought national history and a belief in self government – only to replace it with some distorted view of Utopia based on collectivism and altruism principles quite akin to “elective human slavery.”

    The Oscars, the mutual admiration event that it is, was yet another validation we need a different social model and a different set of heroes. The montage was not about “black anything” – even though that was used as the current backdrop. It’s was about the systematic destruction of this great Nation’s heritage and undermining the very foundation of Individual Liberty. Tribal Separation was clearly the goal and while we pay attention to this false front – intelligent and rational folks will be distracted from turning their attention towards the real dark forces “behind the curtain.” We have lived under the dark forces of the rich and powerful for now 100 years. What was warned of by our founders has indeed come to pass.

    When people wake up and see “the serf’s they have become over the last 100 years” – it’s my hope they will once again rise in voice and actions to reclaim the same liberty our forefathers claimed from a tyrannical King over a few cents of taxes on tea. Cold, hungry and without shoes in the snow, these brave and courageous “men fighting on principle” marched towards a new Nation – one based on a steadfast belief in personal Liberty and self-government – laying on the line their lives, property and wealth – all on the solid foundation that God would bless their cause and the nation they wished to create. Are you willing to do the same, or is a meger handout from a master less trouble?

    I fear the latter. After 100 years of gradualism, citizens don’t pay cents, but much much more just to live. It’s true some 45% of the fruits of our labor go directly to these dark forces – and if that is not serfdom, I don’t know what the term means.

    Not one tribe or cultural steering group speaks out in abject decent for the abomination over-taxation is – or the countless fees required just to live.

    (Listen: If you have to buy your life just to live it, you’re a “serf” – and we do buy our life every single day. The test is simple: Stop paying your property taxes and find out who really owns your largest and most prized possession – your house and land – I assure you…the real owner is not you.)

    Back to this well funded and well choreographed display of selective tribalism, opulence and celebration of immorality called the Oscars.

    I hope good people will reject these displays for the distortions they are.

    They will demand through “a clear collective voice of decent” to uphold the individual rights God has grated no State can grant or take away – including the right of strict privacy and the foundation of all Americanism – the right to keep all forms of property “in perpetuity” without either challenge, loss, or dilution.

    They will speak clearly that anyone who believes in our collective American values of God, morality, right and wrong and personal responsibility are “welcome here and far good enough” to join this 240 year “March to Achieve Liberty” and make a better place for out children to grow up in. However, there’s one condition to acceptance of your inclusion – leave your ambition to change our culture, laws, heritage or values at the border – or simply don’t ask to come in. Become an “American”, stay out or leave, the choice is simple. Being American, means acting like one.

    (The key word above was “ask” – for crossing our sovereign borders illegally is not “asking” it’s taking…and there’s nothing that separates this act from the act of a dishonest thief who takes what is not theirs and does so without asking.)

    So for 2 hours, the Oscars had a moment in time to make a positive contribution that would uplifting society – what it means to be an American – and why The American Dream matters. Instead, it spewed more hatred, disconnect and tribal isolation as it bowed to the Global Warming gods – right on cue.

    In this writers humble option, the producers of this theft of time should apologize to every American for the insult to our senses this display of ignorance projected as an insult to 80 million people – but instead we will see and read hours of commentary of why “further isolation matters.”

    I’m sorry but tribal isolation is not the answer.

    God, Morality, Liberty and Prosperity for All is the answer – and always has been.

    Our forefathers knew we would lose our way and vote more largess. This is why they projected right there on the Declaration of Independence of this Republic the right of good citizens to throw off an overarching tyrannical government in favor of a new one…this time perhaps a little more west.

    “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    Stand up for Liberty, before it is too late. The hour is near.
    No one will take your place at “The Table of Liberty”
    No one will fight in your steed to restore what you are losing at an accelerating pace.

    (Forward this if you believe in Liberty.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s