This is an excerpt from the Adoption at the Movies awards post, you can see all of the winners here.
Welcome to the 2015 Adoption at the Movies Awards! It’s been a year full of cinematic releases, and many of them dealt with adoption, foster care, and related themes. In this online award ceremony, we pay tribute to the best of the best, the films and characters that captured adoption in a positive, entertaining, inspiring, and helpful light. The winners were selected by the readers of Adoption at the Movies.
You might have seen several of these films, and maybe you’ve missed some. As we’re approaching the Oscars, why not host an “Adoption at the Movies Awards” marathon, and spend a family movie night watching one or two of the best cinematic treatments of adoption.
The red carpet is out, the seats are filled, and without further ado, it’s time for the awards.
Best Adoptive Parent or Adoptive Parent Figure
Many of this year’s films featured adoptive or adoptive-like families. This year, eight characters were nominated for the title of Best Adoptive Parent or Adoptive Parent Figure:
Paddington – Mrs. Brown: When a lonely bear shows up at a London train station, it’s the matriarch of the Brown family who first takes notice of him. In an interesting parallel to foster care adoption, Mrs. Brown helps Paddington in his attempts to reunify with people who are almost like family, and eventually provides a family for him, herself.
St. Vincent – Vincent: Middle-aged Vincent is crass, rude and prickly, but he still agrees to babysit 12-year-old Oliver. In his own way, Vincent cares for Oliver, protecting him from bullies and teaching him how to protect himself. Oliver learns that there’s more to Vincent than his exterior – he has a caring, gentle side.
Annie – Mr. Stacks: Entrepreneur and mayoral hopeful Mr. Stacks initially took Annie into his him as a foster placement because he believed it would help his chances for election. However, Annie’s optimism and perseverance touched Mr. Stacks’ heart. He came to love her, and ultimately went to great lengths to protect her. Stacks was sensitive to Annie’s needs, and helped her overcome her challenges without shaming her for them. He also affirmed strongly that Annie’s place with him was a permanent one that couldn’t be endangered by anything Annie would do.
Big Hero 6 – Aunt Cass: Hiro and Tadashi lost their parents; later, Hiro lost Tadashi. While Big Hero 6 focuses on the relationship between Hiro and Tadashi’s robot Baymax, one of the pillars of constant support for Hiro is Aunt Cass. Cass is loving and encouraging to Hiro, giving him time to grieve his losses while also inviting him to move forward.
The Boxtrolls – Fish: Fish is a troll who is raising a human boy, named Eggs. Although his words are very limited, Fish is heartwarmingly tender and nurturing to Eggs. When Eggs begins to question why he does not look like a Boxtroll, Fish shares with Eggs the whole story of how Eggs came to be part of the Boxtrolls community, and part of Fish’s family. The Boxtrolls define a father as “someone who raises you, looks after you, and loves you.” Fish fits nicely into that box.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Splinter: The anthropomorphic rat, Splinter, taught himself martial arts. He found four turtles, and taught them how to be safe. Splinter explained, “I became their father, and they became my sons.” Splinter believes in his sons, reminds them that they must trust him, and encourages them to believe in each other. Part father and part sensei, Splinter has created a coming-of-age ritual for the turtles where he entrusts them with their trademark weapons. Splinter is nurturing, firm, selfless, encouraging, and wise.
Belle – Lord Mansfield: Lord Mansfield is the Lord Chief Justice in 1769 England. As the highest judge in all of England, he must rule on a case which threatens to disrupt the nation’s slave-based economy. He is also raising his two nieces, one of whom is Dido, the biracial daughter of Mansfield’s nephew and a slave. Throughout the film, Dido and her sister grow from children into young women, and Mansfield helps Dido grow into a woman who is able to value her heritage while living in a prejudiced society. Mansfield renounces slavery as something which is “not legal, neither is it right.” His refrain throughout the film is “Let justice be done.” Mansfield is just, but also merciful and loving.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman – Mr. Peabody: Mr. Peabody is a highly intelligent dog who has adopted Sherman, a seven-year-old human boy. As a young pup, Peabody waited to be adopted, but never was. He fought in court for the right to adopt Sherman, who he had found abandoned. Peabody explained that he never had a family, and wanted to provide one to Sherman. Mr. Peabody basically aged out of a group home, and managed to succeed as an adult, anyway. Remembering his own experiences, he tries to help someone in a similar situation. Peabody is a good father in many ways; he always considers Sherman’s best interest and promises that he will always be there for Sherman.
And the winner is…
The Winner for Best Adoptive Parent or Adoptive Parent Figure is… Fish from the Boxtrolls! Fish raises, looks after, and loves the young human boy named Eggs. Fish is nurturing, educational, and shares Eggs’ adoption story fully with Eggs. Fish challenges his neighboring humans’ stereotypes of Boxtrolls, while also showing that fathers can be very nurturing.
More Adoption at the Movies Awards
This is only one of six categories that were awarded during this year’s Adoption at the Movies awards. Other categories included: Best Adoptive Family, Best Short Film, Best Foreign Film, Best Animated Movie, and Best Movie. To see all of the winners, visit the full awards post here.
About the Author: Addison Cooper is a licensed clinical social worker who writes reviews of adoption-related movies to help families use movies to improve their communication about adoption. This is the second year he has allowed us to share his awards. You can find Addison on Google + and Twitter.