The Movies and America 2018 Banner

The Movies and America: What the Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture Tell Us About Ourselves

6:00–7:15 p.m.
Center for Christian Study

Why do we enjoy talking about good films so much? Many reasons come to mind: because we like a good story, an engaging character, a trip to an exotic land or place that can take us out of ourselves for a few hours and give us an experience that stretches us as people.

But movies also help us to recognize the problems our society faces and the benefits it enjoys, and they give us a platform to discuss these with friends, fellow workers, and even strangers on a bus. Recognizing the power of film as a significant shaper of American society has become a commonplace in cultural discussion in the last half century.

This popular lecture, delivered annually for more than 15 years in a variety of church, school, and other public settings, seeks to understand this phenomenon. Dr. Trotter makes a case for the Academy Award nominees for best picture as both a barometer of, and an influence on, current American moral and intellectual standards. He looks at common themes expressed in these and other films of the year and relates those ideas to societal norms and questions present in America today.

Media Resources
Movies and America 2018: Call Me By Your Name. Lady Bird. Get Out. Shape of Water. Phantom Thread.
Movies and America 2017: Arrival. Fences. Hacksaw Ridge. Hell or High Water. Hidden Figures. La La Land. Lion. Manchester by the Sea. Moonlight.
Movies and America 2016: Spotlight. The Big Short. Bridge of Spies. Brooklyn. Mad Max: Fury Road. The Martian. The Revenant. Room.
Movies and America 2013: Argo. Amour. Beasts of the Southern Wild. Django Unchained. Les Miserables. Life of Pi. Lincoln. Silver Linings Playbook. Zero Dark Thirty.
Movies and America 2011: The King's Speech. Black Swan. The Fighter. Inception. The Kids Are All Right. 127 Hours. The Social Network. Toy Story 3. True Grit. Writer's Bone.
Movies and America 2010: The Hurt Locker. Avatar. The Blind Side. District 9. An Education. Inglorious Bastards. Precious. A Serious Man. Up. Up in the Air.
Movies and America 2009: Slumdog Millionaire. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Frost/Nixon. Milk. The Reader.
Movies and America 2008: No Country for Old Men. Atonement. Juno. There Will Be Blood. Michael Clayton.
Movies and America 2006: Crash. Brokeback Mountain. Goodnight, And Good Luck. Capote. Munich.