A look at how faith and religion manifest themselves in some of this year’s crop of Oscar and awards-hopefuls.
For the most part, Hollywood seems to try to ignore God as much as possible. Outside the occasional wedding or funeral scene or possession-centric horror movie, priests, pastors and prayer are as rare as an upstanding businessman or happy stay-at-home-mom in popular film. And in some ways it makes sense: Movie makers want to draw as many people as possible to their films, and religion is inherently controversial.
But things change this time of year. This is when studios start pushing what they consider their best, most award-worthy films into the marketplace. These flicks aren’t necessarily built to make $300 million at the box office. They’re meant to be art (whatever that means in the world of film). They’re more topical, more daring, more powerful, and more provocative than a would-be blockbuster. And what’s more powerful and provocative than faith?
But how faith manifests itself in these works is all over the map. Sometimes religion is in-your-face, while at others its lurking under the surface. For every instance where Hollywood gets faith right, there’s another where it seems to miss the point.
Let’s take a look at how faith and religion manifest themselves in some of this year’s crop of Oscar and awards-hopefuls — all of which are playing now (albeit some in limited release). Oh, and a quick word of caution: All but one of these films is rated R.