Article Mar 2, 2018

Why the 2018 Academy Award nominated films reveal our longings

Each year, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences offers up nominations for what it believes to be the best work in film from the previous year. This year’s upcoming ceremony looks to be particularly interesting after last year’s debacle in which the film “La La Land” was mistakenly named Best Picture only to have to bow out quickly once it was realized that “Moonlight” was actually the big winner.

On top of that, many high-profile Hollywood men have recently fallen from grace as the #MeToo movement has gained momentum, and women are more empowered than ever to speak out against abuse. It will be very interesting to see how both of these issues are addressed at the ceremony.

That said, you’ll have to judge whether watching the awards is worth your time. But the films being celebrated are worth interacting with, even if it means just knowing what they are about, simply because they are well-told stories. And good or bad, stories give us a way to understand the world around us, revealing the wrestlings of our day and age.

So, here are the nine Best Picture Oscar-nominated films and their synopses.

  1. “Call Me By Your Name” offers a coming-of-age story of a 17-year-old boy who engages in a same-sex relationship with an older man.
  2. “Darkest Hour” tells the true story of Winston Churchill at a crucial moment in world history as he is forced to choose whether to negotiate or fight.
  3. “Dunkirk” uses a fascinating story structure to tell of a massive Allied evacuation in an intense battle during World War II.
  4. “Get Out” takes a genre story and offers up insightful social commentary on racism when a young black man goes to meet his white girlfriend’s family at a secluded estate for the weekend.
  5. “Lady Bird” drops us into the coming-of-age story of a dramatic high school senior who faces off against her loving but overbearing mother.
  6. “Phantom Thread” shows a famous London dressmaker whose life is complicated by the arrival of a beautiful woman who will both irritate and inspire him.
  7. “The Post” tells the true story of a female newspaper publisher in the 1970s who risks it all to speak truth to power as a major U.S. cover-up is unearthed.
  8. “The Shape of Water” is a fable telling the story of a mute janitor and her relationship with an amphibious creature that is held captive and studied at a secret research facility.
  9. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” follows a heartbroken and angry mother who seeks justice after her daughter is raped and murdered in a small town.

And as long as sin remains we will continue to long instinctually for love, peace, justice, racial reconciliation, truth, hope, and ultimately, for a Savior.

While I don’t recommend many of the top films from 2017, the reality is that they all seem to express longing. Indeed many of the best stories we hear, read, or watch express this notion of a desire that remains unmet. Whether it is the longing for truth to have its day in “The Post,” a longing for salvation in “Dunkirk,” or the longing for justice in “Three Billboards,” these films voice something that dwells within all of humanity. This is fitting because of the broken world in which we live.

And as long as sin remains we will continue to long instinctually for love, peace, justice, racial reconciliation, truth, hope, and ultimately, for a Savior.