Oscar nods include many films without much objectionable content

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 5:15 a.m. MST

This film image released by Disney/Pixar shows the character Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, in a scene from "Brave."

Pixar, Associated Press

The 2013 Academy Awards aren't presented until Feb. 24, but for now family-friendly fare occupies the catbird seat at this year's Oscars.

In announcing Oscar nominees last week, the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed elevated distinction on “Lincoln” and “Life of Pi” — a pair of films with minimal objectionable content. What’s more, several safe-for-kids and fun-for-adults titles are also nominated for Academy Awards this year.

Recognition for wholesome fare

“Lincoln” and “Life of Pi” received 12 and 11 Oscar nominations, respectively, the highest totals for next month’s Academy Awards. The two films share several characteristics: Both are among the nine contenders for Best Picture, and their content is generally fit for tweens and teens.

The nominations for “Lincoln” include some of the biggest names in show business: Steven Spielberg (Directing), Daniel Day-Lewis (Actor in a Leading Role), Tommy Lee Jones (Actor in a Supporting Role), Sally Field (Actress in a Supporting Role), John Williams (Original Score) and Tony Kushner (Adapted Screenplay), just to name a few. Couple that with the fact “Lincoln” has the biggest box office gross among the Best Picture nominees — to date, more than $152 million domestically — and it’s no surprise the presidential biopic is the consensus favorite to beat back the other eight nominees and take home the top prize.

“Lincoln” is grounded in zealous attention to historic detail by luminaries like Spielberg, Day-Lewis and Kushner. The result is a movie that creates ample educational value for American families.

“Lincoln” is rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language. Two groups that monitor movies for family friendliness — Ok.com and Common Sense Media — effectively signed off on "Lincoln": 97 percent of Ok.com users said the film is worth your time, while Common Sense Media gave the movie five stars. Both deem it appropriate for ages 13 and above.

“Life of Pi” offers moviegoers a steady stream of pleasant surprises. The plot centers on a teenage boy and a tiger that are alone on a small boat lost at sea. Although the film lacks for big names compared to a star-studded cast like that of “Lincoln,” director Ang Lee fuses rich texture into “Life of Pi” via seemingly disparate — but ultimately harmonious — tools like a heavenly soundtrack, cutting-edge digital animation, old-fashioned storytelling and even religious overtones.

Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout as well as some scary action sequences and peril, “Life of Pi” earned positive marks from 86 percent of Ok.com users. Common Sense Media awarded four stars to “Life of Pi” and recommended the film as appropriate for ages 10 and up. Ok.com recommends it for ages 12 and up.

Safe for Kids

Each of this year’s five nominees for Animated Feature Film can reasonably be considered “kid-friendly.” However, even though all five movies bear a PG rating, recommended ages for this quintet range from 6-plus all the way to 12-plus.

"Brave": Pixar's latest is about a fiery red-haired Scottish princess searching for her own identity. Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor. OK.com rating: 83 percent positive, ages 8+. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 7+.

"Frankenweenie": This black-and-white affair from distinctive filmmaker Tim Burton is about a young Victor Frankenstein bringing his deceased pooch back to life. It’s more sweet than scary — but still better suited for tweens than young kids. Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images and action. Ok.com rating: 67 percent positive, ages 9+. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 9+.

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