Academy Awards 2009

It is officially award season and the most prestigious of them all, the Oscars, is fast approaching. This year accolades have been lauded on five films in particular. We look at them and ask what spiritual aspects of their stories might have contributed to their success?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Nominated for 13 Oscars
Inspired by the 1921 short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this tells the inspired tale of Benjamin Button, a man who lives his life backwards. Born old, he grows younger every day and by doing so, forces audiences to ask questions about the way we view life and death. Fitzgerald’s story is especially interested in the idea of fate and intertwining destinies and encourages all to respect and appreciate the preciousness of life and its many miracles.

Slumdog Millionaire
Nominated for ten Oscars
Hailed as the ‘feelgood film of the decade’ Slumdog Millionaire follows Jamal, who goes from the slums of Mumbai to winning India’s version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ His journey is littered with tragedy and turmoil, all of which enriches his life, making his triumph even more rewarding. Religious conflict and the concept of destiny are also prominent, all of which make a rounded film that’s proved a hit with critics and the public worldwide.

The Dark Knight
Nominated for eight Oscars
The Dark Knight sees the superhero franchise move to altogether different levels. More than a simple Good vs. Evil storyline, this chapter in Batman’s history follows his rocky spiritual journey as his beloved Gotham City is terrorised by The Joker (played, of course, by a captivating Heath Ledger who received a posthumous Oscar nomination). Plagued by self doubt, Batman has to dig deep for a reason to continue his quest and he finds it in the people of the city who strive for a new kind of hope for the future.

WALL-E
Nominated for six Oscars
Absolutely one of the finest animated features of recent times, WALL-E tackles some of life’s most complex questions, moral dilemmas and ethical debates - all in a kids film! It’s an Old Testament-style fable about the future of the mankind and the concept of existence beyond life as we know it… as told by robots and a cute (yes cute!) cockroach! The film looks at how we learn from past mistakes and with its ‘love-conquers-all’ element it’s impossible not to fall for WALL-E and his companions.

Doubt
Nominated for five Oscars
Two acting heavyweights Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman take on the subject of God, religion and an unwavering faith in this multi-award winning film. Set in a Bronx based Catholic Church in 1962, Streep plays a severe nun who suspects newly appointed Father Flynn of having an inappropriate relationship with an altar boy. Despite not having any proof, she has an underlying doubt, and as Father Flynn says during a pertinent sermon: "Doubt can be a bond as powerful as certainty."

The 81st annual Academy Awards will take place on 22nd February, 2009.

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