Recognizing the power that films have to influence and reflect the human condition, on the eve of the 74th Annual Academy Awards we present our own Cinema In Focus “OSCARS” for
the best films of 2001:
Best Picture: “A Beautiful Mind”
The true story of Nobel-prize winner John Forbes Nash, Jr. (Russell Crowe) is inspiring. Directed by Ron Howard, we travel with this amazing mathematician through a journey that not only gives us a glimpse into his life but into his soul as well. This inspiring story is a parable greatly needed in our day. In a world where our brilliant intellects have not only split the atom but also created amazing weapons that increasingly threaten our safety and future, there must be attention given to creating an equal power of love and faithful commitment to one another to preserve our humanity and keep what is truly real paramount.
Best Picture Depicting Spiritual Values: “A Walk To Remember”
Finding our way to adulthood is not an easy journey. For most of us, the most difficult part of the path is the teen years as we experience the tremendous pressure of our peers. Victimized by their demands, we are tempted to either surrender our individuality in order to be accepted and belong or to choose our individuality and experience peer rejection and isolation. In Adam Shankman’s “A Walk to Remember,” this journey is presented with a spiritual authenticity seldom seen in film.
Best Picture Depicting Community Values: “The Count Of Monte Cristo”
The power of evil to destroy innocent people did not begin with the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in 2001. Evil has been destroying innocent people for millennia. Often beginning with envy and quickly evolving into murderous rage, evil’s destruction not only turns strangers into enemies, but also can turn brother against brother and friend against friend. Although the film alters the historic ending of the book, the success of love’s transformation is the story’s clear message.
Best Actor In An Inspirational Role: “I Am Sam”
Inherent in “I Am Sam” is the attempt to describe what it means to be human. If we, like Sam Dawson (Sean Penn), had to stand trial to defend who we are and what we are capable of being, the justice system has no method for exoneration. We are only imprisoned in the impotence of its process. To truly describe a human being, the language of love is the only means and love is obviously not the language of the courts, but Sam demonstrates the power of love to not only define but refine us into our deeper, spiritual selves.