The Oscars are the most prestigious and highly watched award show in entertainment right now. Whether you love Hollywood or hate it, there’s no denying the night draws a large crowd, and creates platforms on which artists proudly speak. In the past, many Christians have chosen to forego the awards for personal or political reasons. However, all that may change now that the official nominations have been revealed. Not only do the proposed films speak to the high level of tension facing our society today, but many have crossed the threshold into spiritual territory, asking new questions about God, faith, and human purpose.
Here are a few thoughts on the 2017 Oscar Nominations,
Best Picture Nominees
Hell or High Water
Manchester by the Sea
La La Land
What should particularly interest Christian viewers about this year’s Best Picture nominations is that one film centers on the life of a Christian soldier. Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Desmond Doss, a devout Christian who refused to fire a gun in WWII but nonetheless saved countless lives as a medic. Though the film was hailed by critics, it faces stiff competition against La La Land, which appears to be the favorite to win. Other notable entries include Hidden Figures and Fences, both of which explore the effects of poverty and racism in America society.
Best Actor Nominees
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
Denzel Washington - Fences
As with Best Picture, Hacksaw Ridge makes itself know with a nomination for Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss. Ironically, this is the second time Garfield has played a persecuted believer this year, as he also starred as a Portuguese monk in Martin Scorsese’s historical drama, Silence. Denzel Washington also snagged a nomination for his performance in Fences, which is encouraging news as Washington has never been shy on speaking about his faith.
Best Actress Nominees
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Emma Stone – La La Land
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Meryl Streep caused quite a stir during this year’s Golden Globes when she delivered a speech calling Donald Trump to accountability.
“Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence, and when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
Though many hailed her speech as the highlight of the night, some Christians felt Streep should not have used her spotlight to engage in political rhetoric. Regardless, Streep earned herself another Best Actress nomination for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins, one of the earliest movies to receive rave reviews in 2016. Still, she’ll have to beat out hopefuls Emma Stone and Natalie Portman for their roles in La La Land and Jackie respectively.
Best Animated Movie Nominees
Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Though often seen as a throwaway category by most critics, this year’s nominations for Best Animated Feature have demonstrated a surprising amount of depth and commentary. Per usual, Disney leads the charge with box office hits Zootopia and Moana.The first, tells the story ofa rabbit police officer trying to solve a case of missing mammals, and tests its audience with questions about race, profiling, and police culture. The second, taking on the studio’s familiar princess tropes, follows the journeys of a young Polynesian girl while challenging the viewer to ponder the consequences of greed and forgiveness. Last, but certainly not least, is Kubo and the Two Strings the new stop-motion film from Laika studios which hopes to break Disney’s stranglehold on the award.
To view a full list of this year’s Academy Award nominees and categories, simply follow this link!
What movies do you believe should have been included in these categories? Be sure to leave your comments in the space below!