In the last week, I was able to watch three Oscar nominated films.
In Hidden Figures, based on a non-fiction book by the same name, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae play mathematicians integral to the early US space program. We haven't heard about them before now, probably because they were African American and women. The action centers around John Glenn's mission that made him the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth. Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons also star. The acting was superb. I really liked it.
Lion is also based on a book called A Long Way Home. It's the true story of Saroo, a 5-year-old boy, who fell asleep on a train that took him almost 1000 miles away from his home village in India. He spent some time surviving on the streets until authorities placed him in a state orphanage. Ultimately, an agency places him with an Australian couple who adopt him. When he gets older, he searches for his birth mother. Dev Patel plays the adult Saroo, amd Sunny Pawar, who played the 5-year-old is a real charmer. Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham also star. It was very good.
I thought Fences had the feel of a stage play. There were only a handful of actors, limited sets and it was mostly dialogue driven. I did a little research and discovered that the film is adapted from an award-winning play of the same name. Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) is a refuse collector. He has a great sense of duty to provide for his family, but he is no angel. Rose (Viola Davis) is his long suffering wife. Troy's choices and prejudices impact his marriage and his relationships with his two boys. It was alright.
Three more down, a gajillion more to go...