Life Lessons from Oscar-Nominated Films

The film award season has just ended with the Oscars, and I’m reminded of some of the memorable and moving films of 2016. A few were filled with some meaningful messages for me. Here are the lessons I’ve learned from three of them.

“Hidden Figures”

This is one of my favorite movies of the year, if not the last few years. One of the pertinent themes is the benefits of inclusivity. Striving to be more inclusive in business leads to a diverse talent pool, which can result in extraordinary results.

In the movie, Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is hired as a “computer” because Harrison’s Space Task Group needs people to perform manual

Hidden Figures. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Hidden Figures. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

calculations. NASA Langley Research Center began recruiting women of color when there was a shortage of skilled labor in the 1940’s a result of World War II. Johnson and other African-American female mathematicians were known as “computers who wore skirts”.  While Johnson, who calculated correctly trajectories for the Apollo 11 flight, and Mary Jackson, who became NASA’s first black engineer, and Dorothy Vaughan who became the first African-American supervisor at Langley all faced hostility and discriminatory treatment, they endured and persisted ultimately making spectacular contributions to NASA. When an openness to talent and skill is prioritized over gender and skin color, extraordinary results can happen for the benefit of many.

“Fences”

The main character, Troy Maxson, is an African-American garbage collector and a father embittered by the belief that racism robbed him of his dream

Fences. Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Fences. Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

to play professional baseball. He’s harsh, sometimes cruel and battles with his wife and sons, especially Cory. It’s easy to despise his actions stemming from his own pain. You have to look really hard for love in Troy, but it’s there. We’ve all met, perhaps even have people in our own families, who are deeply flawed like Troy. To cope, one either has to separate for self-preservation or to look for the love. To intentionally and deliberately find the love in that person. And forgiveness in one’s heart. It’s not easy, nor always possible, but many times it is with a conscious decision.

“Manchester by the Sea”

If there was ever a movie that drives home the point that life goes on, this is it. Even after the most horrific disasters, life goes on. In this heart-breaking film, Lee, played by Casey Affleck, is stuck in the anger phase of grief. Sullen, heavy and gruff, Lee is forced to confront his grief in his New

Manchester by the Sea; Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate

Manchester by the Sea; Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate

England hometown after his brother’s death requires him to return to look after his nephew. The unexpected ending isn’t a happy ending. But it’s real life. It’s hard for some people who have not suffered an unspeakable tragedy to understand, that it’s not always possible to heal and move on. There is often an expectation, that after enough time, the grief should pass and a bereaved person should get back to living life the same as before tragedy struck. That’s not always the case. The kindest act is having compassion for people who’ve suffered a loss, even years later. It’s impossible to know the depth of their pain, and important to recognize, a grieving parent can’t be fixed. Sometimes, their sense of brokenness doesn’t go away. Ever. Accepting that and them is one of the greatest gifts you can give a person who’s lost so much.
If you’ve missed these great films which I highly recommend, you can order the movies through services like Frontier VOD

 

This post is sponsored. Frontier Communications is a partner and I have been compensated as an influencer.