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'Carol,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Trumbo,' 'Bridge of Spies' show outsider views of the '50s

'Carol,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Trumbo,' 'Bridge of Spies' show outsider views of the '50s

Often pigeonholed as placid, the 1950s strike a dramatic chord for Oscar voters this year with four films that refract the decade through the experiences of women in love, an Irish immigrant, a Hollywood Communist and a Russian spy. Nominated collectively for 16 Academy Awards, "Carol," "Brooklyn," "Trumbo" and "Bridge of Spies" offer a group portrait of white midcentury America that goes beyond postcard-pretty visuals to depict a postwar era brimming with an optimism tinged with strict conformity and below-the-surface anxieties.

Oscar nominees Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in "Carol" as a well-to-do housewife and an aspiring...

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