Stephen Frears

Oscar past-present

This year's Oscar nominees carry the heritage of art houses and revival theaters into the mainstream and offer vivid similarities or contrasts to past great art and entertainment.

Danny Boyle did spectacularly dextrous work to open up the mind of a canyoneer trapped between a boulder and a rock wall — and determined to escape — in "127 Hours." Decades ago, Robert Bresson used more austere means to even more indelible effect, conveying the spellbinding concentraion and vaulting faith of a French Resistance fighter who springs himself from a Nazi prison fortress in "A Man Escaped" (1957). If you thought Christopher Nolan's "Inception" blazed trails...

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