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Is Hollywood copping-on that Religion matters in people's ordinary-day lives? The latest batch of Oscar nominees seems to point that way. It's interesting how they deal with spirituality. Movies are a business and few movie-makers want to risk alienating their audience by inserting overt references to religion. Sex? Fine. F-words? Fine. But Faith?

Ironically, even as life grows more secular, some filmmakers seem more willing to grapple with faith than ever before. And while their depictions of religion are not always positive - indeed, sometimes it’s just the opposite - just acknowledging that religion is important, and that it can be a huge motivator in people’s lives, is refreshing.

This year, for instance, in Hacksaw Ridge, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) joins the army in World War II, but because of his religious convictions, refuses to carry a gun. Despite tremendous pressure and sometimes withering abuse, he holds true to his faith and eventually wins the Medal of Honour - all without ever pressing a trigger.

Other contenders: Fences (about relationships), Hidden Figures (going to church and praying at the dinner table), Manchester by the Sea (fervent “born-again” Christians), Jackie (the nature of God), Silence (all about religion), Captain Fantastic (organized religion), etc.

Faith moves us like nothing else. And you know what? Any force that strong is a great ingredient for drama. It’s nice to see that Hollywood may be catching on.


I seldom trust Hollywood to do the subject justice, but it's wonderful when a filmmaker makes an interesting attempt.
One of my favourite films - Chariots of Fire - took best film, and deservedly so. Both that and Gandhi looked very seriously and respectfully at what faith means.

The winning film last year - Spotlight - also had a spiritual dimension, in the way it covered the abuse of the church's power.