Watching the Oscars

Watch movie reviewer Rebecca Cusey, Georgetown University adjunct professor Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, and syndicated religion columnist Terry Mattingly talk with Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly production assistant and researcher Fabio Lomelino about the movie “Avatar.”

Watch more of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly production assistant and researcher Fabio Lomelino’s conversations with movie reviewer Rebecca Cusey, syndicated religion columnist Terry Mattingly, and Georgetown University adjunct professor Diane Apostolos-Cappadona about some of this year’s Oscar nominees.

  • M Raghavan

    My compliments on the truly objective commentary/critique of Avatar. As a Hindu, I found the film both interesting and challenging in suggesting that the hero of this film would take on the role of the 10th incarnation of Vishnu. In Hinduism, the word “avatar” means “to descend”, which suggests something Higher than man descending to earth for the benefit of all. Such a descending is not suggested by the hero. In fact, in his “natural state”, he is disabled. This would indicate that his “avatar” is actually an ascension, an acquisition of something that he does not have in his actual world. This would go against the grain of Hindu thinking, since it is the Supreme that becomes human, not a human becoming super-human.


    I AM A MOVIE CRITIC and I have always thought that I would love good critical analysis of the meaning in good movies but this time I feel totally annoyed but respecfully so. I mean, did anyone miss the obvious political message in the movie about ruthless colonialists blowing up the homes of indigenous people; afterall, this all occurred on another planet. It’s like even when certain people go to another planet they will do what they have done on Earth. I was truly annoyed watching the video here because people were using words like enviromentalists while indigenous creatures were being bombed. Some millions of species of insects went into extinction I read somewhere…for our ancestors to found America on this indigenous soil because our pioneering forefathers used brute force and killed people, animals, and insects. I have a beautiful picture over my desk of an American buffalo and the caption reads: “SO MUCH HAD TO DIE FOR AMERICA TO COME TO LIFE.”

    When it comes to enviromentalism, I have made up my mind on the subject forever–IF us, in the Western World are not going to live with lions and tigers and elephants the way the indigenous Africans and others have done (instead of living on them and ontop of them); IF we, in the Western World are not going to create better biodegradable garbage, IF we are not going to create Earth friendly cars and planes and spaceships then we can never, ever, engage thinking that put us in the enviromentalist role or the conservationists role. We would not have one elephant, one tiger, one giraffee if it was left up to colonialists. These animals are in life due to the indigenous people of the world. And, the indigenous people also bequeath us clean air and clean water when they could.

    GOD is a word, just a word. Other people can borrow that word. But what I think is more important is that we realize that it is just a word and other people may use it to name their child, name their movie or name their city or their garbage can…that word can have many meanings to many people in many context. (This time the meaning created a lot of employment.)

    Having blue beautiful creature-people should have gave us a lot more to think about; afterall we have lived in a black and white world for centuries; we are just adding more colors; I would like to have some blue people added. It was like a visit to Utopia, all that praying and not wanting to harm anything compared to the brute force the invaders were using. It’s like we saw two different movies.
    –Respecfully submitted, Margaret Opine

  • Margaret Opine

    The movie “The Last Station’ about Tolstoy’s life left me with the impression that the movie was about the complexity of relationships especially the one between Tolstoy, the great writer and philosopher, and his wife who wants to sell his work to add funds to the family accounts to take care of the 12 or so children they had. Tolstoy and the Russians who adored his work wanted the work for prosperity, they wanted Tolstoy to give his work to the Russian people. In the end, the countess won and gained possession of his body of works (in court) and then she sold that work (to the Russian people, I think) for a million dollars.

    That’s why I saw this well done drama three times. It was just moving the way the question was so ambiguous yet as a mother I felt it was clear and certain which side I was on. In the end both the mother fighting for her children’s security won and Tolstoy’s country won too; he is still celebrated and his works are sold every year. I loved this sense of it.
    –Margaret Opine