Recognizing the power that films have to influence and reflect the human condition, on the eve of the Academy Awards we present our own Cinema In Focus OSCARS for
The Best Films of 2002:
Best Picture: “The Pianist.”
Based on the autobiography of Wladysaw Szpilman, “The Pianist” is a lonely exception to the horror of the holocaust as he survives the hellish machinations of the Nazis in Warsaw. Though the director gives us few glimpses of the faith and worship of any of the Jewish people, nor does he portray their struggle with a God who would allow such atrocity to fall upon them, the nature of Szpilman’s survival speaks through the rubble of the war. Living until July 6, 2000, Szpilman went on to create beautiful music for both his people and his world, and that is a gift of God to all of us.
Best Picture Depicting Spiritual Values: “The Emperor’s Club.”
The training of our children for moral lives of lasting contribution requires a partnership of parents and teachers. When united in a common set of faith and values, the character of the child is given an environment in which virtues can flourish and service is expected. This truth in all its realistic struggles is presented in Michael Hoffman's "The Emperor's Club." This is a clear message for a world in search of moral answers to the complex problems we face. When completed by living with a faith in God, it is a message that could change the future as we build on the lessons of the past.
Best Picture Depicting Community Values: “Changing Lanes.”
In all of our lives, there are moments when we make decisions to either care for one another in honesty and love or destroy one another with whatever resources we have at our disposal. Though "Changing Lanes" doesn't provide the answer it hints at throughout the film, it clearly presents the choices we are called upon to make. The story revolves around two men whose souls are exposed when their lives become intertwined by an accident caused by their attempts to change lanes on the F.D.R. freeway in New York City.
Best Actor In An Inspirational Role: “Antwone Fisher.”
Although the autobiographical nature of the film greatly simplifies both the process of recovery from childhood abuse as well as idealizing Antwone as a person, the journey is so universal that we don’t mind these weaknesses. The memories of both our childhood pains and our first loves are more like those Antwone brings to the screen than they are to the realism we often see presented in films. The effect causes the entire film to feel like “home” to the viewer who recognizes its emotional truth.