Stars of “Green Book” stand with their Oscars. | Recensioni.TV

On Sunday night, as actors and actresses denounced Pres­ident Trump, Amer­icans watched the most pro-life Oscars cer­emony in the history of Hol­lywood. One after another, the nom­inees affirmed the pro-life values that many con­ser­v­a­tives hold dear.
Con­sider the case of “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which pro­duced an Academy Award for Best Sup­porting Actress for Regina King. The film, based on the novel of the same title written in 1974, follows the romance of Tish and Fonny in Harlem. Tish carries an unex­pected preg­nancy to term as she and her family attempt to free her fiancé, Fonny, from a wrongful con­viction. One of the most moving scenes in the movie takes place when Tish tells her family she is pregnant. The family waits expec­tantly for Tish’s father to react, when he bursts out in laughter and exclaims, “I hope it’s a boy!” The joyful reaction at unex­pected life, even in chal­lenging cir­cum­stances, embodies the char­acter of the pro-life cause.

Dr. B.J. Miller’s words to a patient: “We’re here to con­tinue to talk through this crazy thing called death,” are the first dia­logue in the trailer of “End Game,” a Netflix doc­u­mentary nom­i­nated for Short Subject. The film’s intimate por­trait of Zen house, a hospice project seeking to change the per­spective of ter­mi­nally ill patients, explores how we die and what is important in death. The mission of the project is obvious on its straight­forward, delib­er­ately-designed website with large, bold text: “We believe that dying is both sacred and unknowable, which allows us to be fully present with each indi­vidual.” End-of-life care is one of the medical field’s greatest ethical threats at the moment. In our society’s des­perate chase for comfort and avoidance of suf­fering, we have actually for­gotten the meaning encoun­tered through the process of dying, grieving, and letting go. The doctors fea­tured in “End Game” have made it their life’s work to restore meaning and beauty to the ends of our life.

The Left calls the pro-life stance an oppression of women and the Right glosses over it as hating abortion. Obvi­ously, neither one of these shallow dis­missals can accu­rately portray an entire movement. Some are keen enough to remember the esca­lating issue of euthanasia and end-of-life ethics, but the pro-life cause encom­passes the entire timeline starting at a little dot called Birth and ending at another dot called Death. At its core, the pro-life cause is the defense of human dignity fueled by com­passion, not any reli­gious, sci­en­tific or political argument used to support one’s opinion. Its mission includes the pro­tection of infants at risk of being aborted by unpre­pared and vul­nerable parents, but the mission does not stop when a baby is suc­cess­fully born alive (unfor­tu­nately, an accom­plishment today). The pro-life movement is a warrior fighting for the dignity of every vul­nerable person. A flour­ishing culture of life honors the intrinsic worth of every human life — to respect persons of all ages, all races, all abil­ities, and all priv­i­leges.

Best Picture went to “Green Book,” a film about Tony, an Italian-American man becoming the driver of Dr. Don Shirley, an African-American clas­sical pianist in the seg­re­gated Deep South. In one of their first rides together, Tony garbles through a mouthful of fried chicken, “You people love the fried chicken!” To which Dr. Shirley responds, “You have a very narrow assessment of me, Tony.” Their unlikely friendship explores the necessity of per­sonal rela­tionship in rec­on­ciling the wounds of racism. Racism has carved deep scars into rela­tion­ships in America. While policies can solve insti­tu­tional injus­tices, the injury will only be healed through a per­sonal encounter and rec­on­cil­i­ation with their dif­fer­ences and assump­tions.

“Lifeboat,” nom­i­nated for Short Subject Doc­u­mentary, por­trays the trau­matic journey of refugees fleeing Libya because of the poverty, vio­lence, traf­ficking plaguing the country. The preview holds an uncom­fortably long shot of a small motorboat occupied by the wailing of one of its six cramped pas­sengers, letting the ugliness of under­priv­i­leged life rear its face. “Minding the Gap” examines the cycle of poverty in America from the per­spective of the teenagers forging com­munity in a half-pipe. The beauty of the family is empha­sized in “Bao”’s por­trayal of a tur­bulent mother-son rela­tionship and “One Small Step”’s story of a Chinese-American girl, her dream to become an astronaut and her father’s unwa­vering support. Both films were nom­i­nated for Ani­mated Short Film.

It is easy to despair in a society as divided as our own. Today’s culture of effi­ciency and comfort gravely threatens the dignity of life. Earlier this week, every Democrat senator blocked the Born Alive Act, leg­is­lation requiring medical attention for babies born alive after failed abortion attempts. Just last month, a doctor in Ohio was fired for euth­a­nizing 27 ter­minal patients against their will by admin­is­tering fatal doses of painkillers. Offenses against life are no longer rare, but the Oscars gives hope in what can some­times appear to be a losing battle. Life is still pre­cious, and many still rec­ognize its beauty. Most of this year’s film nom­i­na­tions capture the beauty of life, and they provide a perfect starting place to meet others, encounter our dif­fer­ences, and begin restoring this broken society.