The Oscar countdown has begun! This Sunday, Hollywood will be a buzz with Oscar fever as the Academy Awards will begin in the afternoon. There are a lot of great films nominated this year and as we have done in the past, we want to highlight a few of the environmentally friendly messaged movies.

Unfortunately, this year has a bit of slim pickings. Over the past few years, there have been fictional feature films with deep environmental messages nominated including Wall-E and Avatar. However, this year the only truly Green films are documentaries. While documentaries are very interesting and entertaining, they are not the most popular art form and will not have the greatest impact. Still, they should be honored for their work.

Two films really stand out this year and they include Gasland and Waste land. Gasland is the story of one man’s investigation into the hydraulic drilling called “fracking” done by natural gas companies such as Haliburton. In the film he uncovers contamination and government deceit, even finding a town where they can light their drinking water on fire. The film is a great expose on natural gas extraction. Often we are focused on the dangers of oil, while not paying attention to other energy sources which are extremly harmful to the environment as well as our health.

Waste Land is a heart wrenching story of the largest landfill on Earth in Rio de Janeiro. It focuses on the lives and poor working conditions of  garbage workers, as well as the story of modern artist Vik Muniz. Muniz creates art from the garbage pickers and gives them money from the profits. He also works to gain recognition and better living conditions for the workers. The film is a beautiful story of excess, trash, art, human connection, and human rights. This is definitely worth a view!

Even if no feature film focused on the environment, we are crossing our fingers that either Waste Land or Gasland are recognized as winning films. Check out the trailers for both films above and let’s hope the Academy honors one of these “land” films. Pun intended.