God makes appearances in a number of Oscar-nominated films, but the Almighty doesn’t play a leading role on screen or preach a theologically orthodox message from the clouds. Rather, spirituality plays a supporting role in those films that either focus on characters’ quest for redemption or provide a fresh take on the eternal battle between good or evil.

A year ago, films like Avatar (with its sci-fi eco-gospel) and The Road (with its depictions of a lonely, post-apocalyptic world) duked it out for Oscar statuettes. This year, films competing for the 83rd Academy Awards, which will be broadcast February 27, focus on an obsessive ballerina, a hard-working boxer and a handful of families struggling to do the best they can against difficult odds.

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