There’s still time to see Oscar nominated films before the awards show


Oscar nominees continue to come and go from local theaters, and the latest one, “Lion,” is a great film. Based on Saroo Brierly’s autobiography “A Long Way Home,” his incredible story is documented by director Garth Davis from a script written by Brierly with the help of Luke Davies.

When he was 5 (played by young Sonny Pawar), Saroo was separated from his older brother at a train station and ended up traveling over 1,500 miles to Calcutta on a decommissioned train as its only passenger. After some harrowing trials, including not being able to speak the language and a near kidnapping, Saroo winds up in an overcrowded orphanage where he was eventually adopted by an Australian couple, Sue and David Brierly, played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham.

As a young adult (now played by Dev Patel), Saroo meets Lucy (Rooney Mara) and begins to experience recollections long suppressed about his mother and siblings and his real home, leading to a first that I’ve seen — Google Earth playing a major role in a movie.

For the second time in two weeks, I’ve seen an Oscar contender that deals with a young man, played by multiple actors, in a coming-of-age story. There are parallels between this and “Moonlight,” the Barry Jenkins movie, also nominated in the Best Movie category.

“Lion” will also recall the Danny Boyle film “Slumdog Millionaire,” which won the Best Movie category in 2008, if only for the reason that they both deal with impoverished Indian children growing up in less than ideal circumstances. And they both star Dev Patel, who was also featured in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and its sequel.

Kidman, though featured only briefly in “Lion,” is so powerful as the mother who desperately loves her adopted sons that she also earned a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category. This might be some of her best work in a long time.

With Oscar night set for Feb. 26, there is still a chance to see most of the major nominees in the theaters or on DVD. Feb. 21 “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Nocturnal Animals,” and “Manchester by the Sea” will be released on DVD and will be available for pay-per-view. “Moonlight” is scheduled for release Feb. 28.

I’ve been asked several times recently about “Jackie,” the Natalie Portman film about the immediate aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Portman plays Jackie Kennedy in a performance so spot on it’s uncanny. She would have been my choice for the Oscar, but as of now it looks like the heavy favorite is Emma Stone for “La La Land.”


“Jackie” is set to appear on DVD on March 7. Another Best Actress nominee will have her film out the same month, with the Isabelle Huppert film “Elle” set for release March 14. “Lion” is set for a March 28 release, and although Annette Benning was overlooked for an Oscar nomination for “20th Century Women,” you can still see it beginning March 28.