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ANALYSIS: R & PG-13 Oscar nominees call for viewer discretion

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (BP)–Just because a film has been nominated for an Oscar doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a must-see artistic statement.

Use your judgment as to how edifying a film will be to your soul, especially when a movie is rated R or PG-13 — as are all five of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture, which were announced the morning of Feb. 12 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“The Lord of the Rings” received 13 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. “A Beautiful Mind” followed with eight. Interestingly, this year’s most hyped movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” received no major Oscar nods.

The synopsis, content and a video alternative for each of the Best Picture nominees follows:

THE LORD OF THE RINGS. New Line Cinema has transformed J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginative “Lord of the Rings” into a trilogy of live-action feature films — “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King.” “The Lord of the Rings” will collectively re-tell the story of Frodo Baggins, who battles against the Dark Lord, Sauron, to save Middle-earth from the grip of evil. In their adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth, Frodo and The Fellowship attempt to rid the world of Sauron’s greatest strength, the One Ring — a ring that can only be destroyed by being thrown into a lake of fire.

PG-13 (constant violence and many nightmarish sequences, but no inappropriate language or sexuality).

Video Alternative (for children): “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.”

A BEAUTIFUL MIND. John Forbes Nash Jr. is a mathematical genius. But he discovered early on that he suffers from schizophrenia. We join him on a scary journey that ultimately leads to triumph.

PG-13 (8 profanities; 2 obscenities; a couple of crude sexual discussions when college boys come on to girls in a bar; there is some drinking and the lead smokes throughout; a disturbing look at shock treatment used as therapy; enemy agents chase the lead and fire upon him).

Vid. Alt.: “A Man Called Peter.”

GOSFORD PARK. Gosford Park is the magnificent country estate to which Sir William McCordle and his wife, Lady Sylvia, gather relations and friends for a weekend shooting party. A deep dark secret affects the entire group and leads to murder — murder most foul.

R (One misuse of Christ’s name and 8 obscenities, mostly from a crude American character; some brief sexuality, including two explicit and very coarse sexual encounters, but no nudity; adultery; homosexuality implied; a serious crime goes unpunished).

Vid. Alt.: “Sense and Sensibility.”

IN THE BEDROOM. The film focuses on grieving parents whose son was murdered by the estranged husband of the older woman he’s dating. Writer/director Todd Field sensitively handles the portrait of a family grieving over the unjust death and the casting is superb, but once again Hollywood portrayed a nonreligious family. In a country where more than 90 percent of the population profess some sort of belief in God, why is it that spiritual values are almost never represented or seriously explored in films dealing with issues of life and death?

R (11 profanities, 11 obscenities, 5 expletives; an implied sexual situation between the teen and the older woman; adultery; an abusive man causes a palpable danger every time he appears; two men are shot and killed; we see a quick shot of a gory gun wound to the face of a young man; a fist fight leaves a man with stitches and a black eye; both of the females smoke; some drinking).

Vid. Alt.: “Les Miserables.”

MOULIN ROUGE. A young poet is plunged into the heady world of the Moulin Rouge, the infamous, gaudy and glamorous Parisian nightclub. There he begins a passionate affair with the club’s most notorious and beautiful star.

Although visually opulent and colorful, this latest attempt to resurrect the musical is emotionally aloof, overly frenetic and outlandish for bizarreness’ sake. Along with last year’s depressing “Dancer in the Dark,” starring Bjork, a punk/new wave songstress, Moulin Rouge gives evidence that the musical has not evolved, but rather mutated.

PG-13 (There is one expletive, but I caught no harsh or profane language. There are several sexual references and situations, with the female lead pushing sensuality to the limit by incorporating titillating routines into her musical act; the dance routines are bawdy, often erotic, with a tinge of perversity; partial nudity; a death occurs).

Vid. Alt.: Moulin Rouge (the 1954 version).

In other Oscar categories:

Best Actor
Russell Crowe, A BEAUTIFUL MIND.
Sean Penn, I AM SAM.
Wil Smith, ALI.
Denzel Washington, TRAINING DAY.
Tom Wilkinson, IN THE BEDROOM.

Best Actress
Hallie Berry, MONSTER’S BALL.
Judi Dench, IRIS.
Nicole Kidman, MOULIN ROUGE.
Sissy Spacek, IN THE BEDROOM.
Renee Zellwegger, BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY.

Best Supporting Actor
Jim Broadbent, IRIS.
Ethan Hawke, TRAINING DAY.
Ben Kingsley, SEXY BEAST.
Jon Voight, ALI.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Connelly, A BEAUTIFUL MIND.
Helen Mirren, GOSFORD PARK
Maggie Smith, GOSFORD PARK
Marisa Tomei, IN THE BEDROOM
Kate Winslet, IRIS

Best Director
Ridley Scott, BLACK HAWK DOWN.
Robert Altman, GOSFORD PARK.

Best Foreign Film
AMELIE, France.
ELLING, Norway.
LAGAAN, India.
NO MAN’S LAND, Bosnia.
SON OF THE BRIDE, Argentina.

Best Animated Feature (new category)

The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 24, at the new Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland and televised live on ABC. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. (PST). Whoopi Goldberg returns as host of the ceremonies. A half-hour arrival segment will precede the presentation at 5 p.m.

On Monday morning, March 25th, Baptist Press will publish a list of winners and comment on what the winning films said about our culture and the times we live in.
Phil Boatwright provides the synopsis and content of new theatrical and TV-made films, so you can decide if they are suitable for your viewing. For details, check out Boatwright’s website at www.moviereporter.com.

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  • Phil Boatwright