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Hollywood films that delved into real life stories

It is said that art imitates life and if some of the recent English films are anything to go by, Hollywood cinema certainly believes in the adage. This year’s Oscar lineup, for one, has a fair share of films that have been inspired by true incidents/events. HitList gives the lowdown on these movies.

'American Hustle'
'American Hustle'

Director: David O. Russell
Protagonist: Melvin Weinberg
Actor: Christian Bale
Oscar nods: 10
Storyline: This period crime comedy begins with the disclaimer: ‘Some of this actually happened’. And for his convincing performance — he even put on more than 25 kilos for the role — Bale is rightfully nominated in the Best Actor category for the first time in his career.

'The Butler'
'The Butler'

Director: Lee Daniels
Protagonist: Eugene Allen
Actor: Forest Whitaker
Oscar nods: 0
Storyline: Loosely based on the real-life story of Allen, who served as a butler in the White House for 34 years, the film not only takes us through the various events that shaped modern America, but also touches upon the way different presidents reacted to different events during their tenures.

'Captain Phillips'
'Captain Phillips'

Director: Paul Greengrass
Protagonist: Richard Phillips
Actor: Tom Hanks
Oscar nods: 6
Storyline: This thriller is based on the 2009 hijacking of merchant mariner Maersk Alabama and the incidents that followed it. It may be recalled that Captain Phillips was taken hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean and he was eventually rescued.

'12 Years A Slave'
'12 Years A Slave'

Director: Steve McQueen
Protagonist: Solomon Northup
Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Oscar nods: 9
Storyline: Based on the memoirs of a New York-based violinist who was mercilessly sold into slavery during the pre-Civil War era, this bone-chilling big screen adaptation follows the character’s 12-year-long travail as a plantation worker in racist America. Ejiofor is said to be the favourite to bag the Best Actor statuette on Oscar night.

'Lovelace'
'Lovelace'

Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Protagonist: Linda Lovelace
Actor: Amanda Seyfried
Oscar nods: 0
Storyline: Linda was the protagonist in the 1972 adult film Deep Throat, which is known to be the most profitable film ever made. The movie Lovelace captures the abuse that Linda faced at the hands of her then lover Chuck Traynor (played by Peter Sarsgaard), who also forced her to star in
adult films.

'Saving Mr. Banks'
'Saving Mr. Banks'

Director: John Lee Hancock
Protagonist: Pamela Travers
Actor: Emma Thompson
Oscar nods: 1
Storyline: The film traces the tussle between the creator of Mary Poppins, PL Travers, and filmmaker Walt Disney, who was adamant on making a film on the famous character. Despite fine performances by both Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, the film didn’t receive any nominations in acting categories.

'Behind The Candelabra'
'Behind The Candelabra'

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Protagonist: Liberace
Actor: Michael Douglas
Oscar nods: 0
Storyline: A black comedy that revolves around the last decade in the life of famous pianist Liberace (Douglas) and his love affair with Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon), this film was feted at Cannes followed by wins at the Golden Globes and nominations at BAFTA but the Academy completely ignored it

'The Fifth Estate'
'The Fifth Estate'

Director: Bill Condon
Protagonist: Julian Assange
Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch
Oscar nods: 0
Storyline: Assange didn’t approve of this biopic — even before it was made — which is ironical given his stance on freedom of expression. The film, given its shortcomings, did a decent job of taking audiences on Assange’s journey from a common hacker to the leader of an online movement against the establishment.

'Jobs'
'Jobs'

Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Protagonist: Steve Jobs
Actor: Ashton Kutcher
Oscar nods: 0
Storyline: This particular biopic failed to impress critics across the globe. Despite the facial fuzz and a rather sharp performance by Kutcher, the film’s overall pace left one asking for more.

'Dallas Buyers Club'
'Dallas Buyers Club'

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Protagonist: Ron Woodroof
Actor: Matthew McConaughey)
Oscar nods: 6
Storyline: Set in the ’80s in the USA, when AIDS spread rapidly, this biopic depicts the life of a homophobic Texan cowboy, who — despite being infected by the deadly virus — displays his human side even as he tries to save other patients’ lives by smuggling anti-retroviral drugs from Mexico.

'42'
'42'

Director: Brian Helgeland
Protagonist: Jackie Robinson
Actor: Chadwick Boseman
Oscar nods: 0
Storyline: Dwelling on the post-World War II period when African Americans weren’t welcome in the white supremacist world of baseball, this sports film focusses on Robinson and his achievements under the guidance of his coach Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford.

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