Some say that Taiwanese-American Ang Li emerged as the winner of the 2013 Oscars. Yet, hope and salvation were the “main melody” of this year’s nominated films. The films with salvation themes fought for glamour, and they emerged as the real winner.
In the 85th Oscars, the nominated films “Les Miserables,” “Lincoln” and “Life of Pi” all carried obvious Christian overtones. They tell the stories of mankind’s longing for and meditation on salvation. Yet, there are differences in the films’ direction, perspective and degree of thinking.
Many Christians regretted that these three films did not receive the Best Picture Award. Instead, “Argo”, which depicts the story of how CIA rescued the officials and civilian prisoners in Tehran, Iran. While the film kept the audience tense, it did not leave much room for the viewers to reflect on salvation.
In contrast, “Life of Pi” inspires the audiences to meditate on the meaning of life and to search for God. To the atheists, the film guides them to understand religion and inspire them to search for the way.
Yet, “Life of Pi” does not offer direction to those who are lost. Strictly speaking, the God painted in the film is not the God of Christianity, and the film’s interpretation of salvation is far from that of Jesus Christ. Even this year’s best director Ang Li is still searching for the truth.
“Lincoln”, directed by Steven Spielberg, was thought to win the Best Picture, but it ended losing slimly to “Argo”. The artistic value of “Lincoln” and the Christian theme should be acknowledged.
Known as the greatest president of United States, Abraham Lincoln was a reputable Christian. He governed with biblical values, promoting governing of the people, by the people, and for the people. This political philosophy has influenced America and the rest of the world.
Lincoln, though was not an evangelist, exhibited the presence of Jesus Christ in his life. From his words and actions, political doctrines, and perseverance, one can see the influence of Christianity, which is illustrated in the film.
As a result, media analysts pointed out “Lincoln” illustrated how Christianity influenced the development of the United States of America and in turn brought out the nation’s spirit, of which many Americans are proud of.
Holding on to the Bible-inspired theory of equality and freedom, Lincoln fought without compromising to seemingly insurmountable oppositions and ended slavery, where black people were emancipated. This is a story characterized by faith. On a certain level, “Lincoln” testifies to a Christian politician’s faith.
The other film that received acclaims and Oscars nomination was “Miserables”, which received much attention among the religious communities. This film is the clearest in the depiction of the meaning of salvation. Non-Christians were moved by the main character’s story of salvation. Viewers watching this film can deeply experience the gospel’s power of transformation like listening to a touching sermon.
While “Les Miserables” received only two technical Oscars of Best Sound Effects and Best Make-Up and Hair, it is reputed as the “Oscar of Christians”. At the annual Movieguide Award Ceremony, it won the $100,000 Epiphany Award as the most inspiring film in 2012.
The reality is that various films with salvation overtones were nominated in last year’s Oscars. In recent years, Christian-themed films have gradually gained favor in Hollywood. There are churches that take advantage of the opportunity to spread the gospel to Hollywood, hoping to channel spiritual influence through Christian artists and professionals and to influence positively the culture of the film industry.
[Editor's note: Carol Lee translated the article.]