The Oscars can be considered to be the pinnacle of the movie industry. Winning an Academy Award is no mean feat, and it has been the gold standard in the industry when it comes to judging the quality of a particular movie. Of course, not all Oscar winners are money printing movies, but generally, they would not end up as a flop on the silver screen. Actors and actresses who win an Oscar for their performance will also see a boost in their profile. Will Christian movies be able to dig in and make an impact at this year’s Oscars?
Hacksaw Ridge, Silence, et al
For the 2017 Oscars, movies with a very strong Christian theme do happen to be in the running -- and not just for one or two awards, but for multiple awards in different categories. For instance, Mel Gibson’s war biopic that focuses on Christian conscientious objector Desmond T Doss would see Hacksaw Ridge receive nominations in half a dozen key categories. Not only is Hacksaw Ridge nominated for one of the most coveted Oscars of all, Best Picture, leading actor Andrew Garfield is also recognized for his contribution by being nominated as Best Actor. The power of the Christian faith portrayed on the silver screen and receiving so many nods of approval by moviegoers is few and far in between. Hence, will this be Hacksaw Ridge’s year, as it edges out other silver screen Goliaths? This coming Sunday will reveal all as you catch the 2017 Oscars live.
Of course, I find it interesting to note that in the movie’s opening scene, Isaiah 40 was read out in full. In Muslim-majority countries like Malaysia, who has had a chequered past when it comes to censoring movies with Christian elements (The Passion of the Christ was not allowed to be shown to Muslim audiences, Babe was banned because it featured a pig -- which was strange since Sing, having animated pigs as well, was not, while the 2016 remake of Ben-Hur saw scenes of Jesus Christ removed completely), actually did not mute or black out the local language translation in the subtitles.
How about Silence? Silence is a film that is set in the 17th century, where a couple of Portuguese priests (Father Rodrigues and Father Garupe) decided to make their way over to Japan in search of their mentor. Apparently, their mentor disappeared and word on the grapevine was, he had already walked away from his faith. The Japanese Imperial government at that point in time was extremely wary and fearful of colonial powers, having outlawed Christianity. Hence, this made the priests' mission all the more difficult and challenging, one where the idealistic Rodrigues has his fundamental beliefs shaken right to the core. Awarded for Best Cinematography, it would be interesting to see whether this particular movie will be able to bring home an Oscar statue or not. If it could, then it would also be another breakthrough for Christian movies on a artistically successful level.