In like a LionCongrats to Luke Davies who just won the BAFTA for his adaptation of Saroo Brierley’s memoir A Long Way Home. Lion—an absolutely gorgeous and emotional film—was up against the equally beautiful and thoughtful Arrival adapted by Eric Heisserer from Ted Chiang’s novella, the soaring Hidden Figures by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi from Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction book, and the stylish Nocturnal Animals adapted by director Tom Ford from Austin Wright’s novel, Tony & Susan. Also in the category Hacksaw Ridge, screenplay by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight. The film was based on a documentary about the soldier who served as a conscientious objector and saved 75 men without ever touching a gun.
Words Have Power
These are all extraordinary films, all powerful films that leave you awed. The fact that three of them—Lion, Hidden Figures and Hacksaw Ridge—are based on true stories is one big thumbs up for humanity, revealing light and love in the darkest situations. In Lion, a little boy, separated from his family, lost in a jaw-dropping sea of humanity, manages to survive on his wits until he is finally rescued. In Hidden Figures, a black female math whiz and her friends are routinely made to feel their second class citizenship but they PERSIST until finally their contribution to the US’ space program is recognized. In Hacksaw Ridge a conscientious objector serves as a medic and heroically, almost miraculously, saves 75 men in one battle. Lion left me in tears, Hidden Figures had me cheering, and Hacksaw Ridge just left me awed and amazed at what one man can do. The fictional screenplays Arrival and Nocturnal Animals are equally compelling. Arrival’s nonlinear tale of a mother’s love set against a sci-fi background of an alien invasion takes you to unexpected places and feelings while Nocturnal Animals with its story within a story looks at revenge, greed and love in a world full of disposable commodities.
The Oscar RaceWhen it comes to the Oscars, Lion, the BAFTA winner is not the front runner. Moonlight, based on an unpublished play is the odds on favorite. Written by Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, based on his unpublished play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” Moonlight won the USC Scriptor award.
The list of Oscar-nominated films in the category differs too. I shared my thoughts on those on my Full Oscar List post earlier this month.
ARRIVAL Screenplay by Eric Heisserer
No surprise Heisserer is nominated! Beautiful job on this script based on the story by Ted Chiang, I shared my thoughts in this earlier post)
FENCES Screenplay by August Wilson
I still haven't seen this one but my son thought it was fantastic. Choked up.
HIDDEN FIGURES Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Adored this funny, uplifting film about a trio of important but unknown black women, central to the success of America's space race!
LION Screenplay by Luke Davies
Beautiful heart wrenching tale of a lost little boy who returns to India years later to find his family. Stunning true story had me sobbing. You know me! I'm a cryer.
MOONLIGHT Screenplay by Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney
A great film but it wasn’t the big uplifting movie I've heard it touted as. I've heard the director say he wanted to take people out of their comfort zone. He did. About a young boy living with a junkie mother in the ghetto who we see grow into manhood. Thought provoking and heavy.
CONGRATS TO DEV PATEL WHO TOOK HOME THE BAFTA FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR LION