By David Outten
After three years of nominating almost exclusively R-rated movies for best picture, the Academy Award nominations for the best pictures of 2009 include UP and THE BLIND SIDE. Perhaps this is because the Academy has doubled the number of nominees from five to ten, but nevertheless it’s refreshing to see even two family-oriented films appear in the mix. This year there are six R-rated nominees, three PG-13s, and UP, which is rated PG.
UP is the first movie given a +3 acceptability rating by MOVIEGUIDE to be nominated for best picture since BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in 1991. THE BLIND SIDE received -1, four movies received a -2, three received a -3, and AVATAR received a -4 because of its strong pantheist worldview.
It’s been some time since a really family-friendly movie like THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966), OLIVER! (1968), CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981), or DRIVING MISS DAISY (1989) have won best picture. UP is the first Pixar movie to be nominated for Best Picture and only the third Disney film (following MARY POPPINS, 1964, and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, 1991).
The 2010 Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture are:
Avatar 20th Century Fox
*** -4 (PG-13)
AVATAR is a visually stunning, but sometimes slow, often shallow, and ultimately abhorrent, science fiction adventure pitting evil human beings against heroic, spiritually sensitive, one dimensional aliens on the planet Pandora, who worship a false diety and nature. Too graphically intense for children, AVATAR has an abhorrent New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist, anti-human worldview that promotes goddess worship and the destruction of the human race.
The Blind Side Warner Bros.
**** -1 (PG-13)
THE BLIND SIDE is a compelling, feel-great drama that tells the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless young black teenager who is welcomed into a wealthy white Christian family. Though there are minor elements requiring caution for children, this wonderful drama is a faith filled, truly inspiring movie with overt Christian values.
District 9 TriStar Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
**** -2 (R)
DISTRICT 9 is an intense science fiction thriller that portrays a man’s attempt to hide and survive, after an alien virus he contracted makes him the most hunted – and most valuable – man in the world. DISTRICT 9 is very well produced, putting viewers on the edge of their seats, but, despite some redemptive content, moviegoers should use extreme caution because of the movie’s anti-human agenda, graphic violence, excessive foul language, slightly mixed pagan worldview, and occult content.
An Education Sony Pictures Classics
*** -2 (PG-13)
Set in Britain in 1961, AN EDUCATION is the story of Jenny, a high school senior whose plans on attending Oxford are jeopardized when she meets a wealthy older man who introduces her into a “high society” life. Caution and discernment is required because of the nature of the older man and minor girl, although the movie ultimately has a moral outcome.
The Hurt Locker Summit Entertainment
**** -2 (R)
THE HURT LOCKER is a compelling, suspenseful war drama centering on three soldiers who are part of an elite squad that disarms bombs in Iraq. This thrilling drama is extremely well written and well directed, but contains very strong wartime violence, plenty of foul language and a false equation of war with pushing the edge excitement, so extreme caution is advised.
Inglourious Basterds The Weinstein Company and Universal Studios
**** -3 (R)
Quentin Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS stars Brad Pitt in a suspenseful story about two plots to kill Adolf Hitler and the German High Command during World War II in 1944. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is an exhilarating, audacious, and riveting war movie, but it includes extreme and gratuitous bloody violence, plenty of strong foul language, a short sex scene, and a message of revenge and brutality that is too merciless.
Precious Lions Gate Entertainment
*** -2 (R)
PRECIOUS is the true story of a 16-year-old African-American woman, Claireece “Precious” Jones, who was raped by her father repeatedly from the age of three and was hated and abused by her mother until a lesbian teacher helps her survive and triumph. Disturbing abuse, rape, and foul language, combined with eclectic production techniques, slightly diminish this powerful story.
A Serious Man Focus Features
*** -3 (R)
A SERIOUS MAN is a quirky comedy from the Coen Brothers about a Jewish professor in 1967 in Middle America who suffers a host of personal and family problems but receives little valuable help from the rabbis at his synagogue. A SERIOUS MAN is well made and has some positive moments but lacks theological depth, contains some lewd content, and eventually leaves the viewer groping for guidance, insight, and closure.
Up Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
**** +3 (PG)
UP, another classic animated feature from Pixar and Disney, is about a 78-year-old widower and a young boy scout who find the adventure of a lifetime on a jungle plateau in Venezuela full of unknown dangers. UP is another heartfelt, family-friendly, utterly delightful animated classic from the wonderful team at Pixar and Disney.
Up in the Air Paramount Pictures
*** -3 (R)
UP IN THE AIR stars George Clooney as a cynical, hedonistic corporate downsizer who fires people. UP IN THE AIR is an often funny but very dark cautionary tale with no hint of a solution to life’s problems. It also has many obscenities, some strong sexual content, a scene of explicit nudity, and a completely depressing, godless ending.