Siblings, both cruel and supportive, were big winners in the Oscar nominations this week.


Corrosive sibling cruelty by a princely older brother  who mocks his younger brother’s disability, then forces him to be king, won a nomination as best picture in” The King’s Speech” along with 10 other Oscar nominations.


The Fighter about  impoverished half brothers who rally against the brutality of boxing and dysfunctional family to support each other and find redemption, was nominated for  best picture.


The Coen brothers ,two brothers who make up  an extraordinary maverick director team were nominated for best directors , in “True Grit” along with  9 other  categories.


Both Oscar nominated sibling films are  based on true stories about the plights and triumphs of reestablishing  sibling bonds

Many  siblings ,like the director/partners the Coen Brothers, have super glued life long relationships. They are what is called beloved or buddy siblings.  These  siblings make music together like some musical brother and sister  groups. You can hear that genetic connection in Van Halen, Radiohead, Heart, Oasis and even a hip-hop group named Clipse.

What we listen to is that deep family relationship translated into a musical link. These brothers and sisters grow up in the same house. All hear their parents’ music and start playing instruments at the same time. What we see is sibling connection, similar DNA translated into a creative musical splicing. Siblings have that same genetic song to sing, leaving auditory fingerprints for us to dance to.


Some alientated  brothers and sisters find the redemptive power of forgiveness like the Mickey Ward and his half brother former fighter, Dickie ,played by Christian Bale ,in "The Fighter", who got the best supporting actor nod.

Brothers and sisters sometimes suffer serious sibling rivalry along with becoming victims,  like the future King George VI  ( Bertie) and his villainous brother David, the abdicating Edward VIII .

Creedence Clearwater Revival spun into chaos when younger brother Tom Fogerty tried to dominate their music and older brother John Fogerty rebelled. Their group fell apart and disbanded. When Tom died of AIDS from a blood transfusion in 1990, the brothers had never reconciled.

So that sibling connection can also sound like chalk scraping on a blackboard. Mirrored in the relationship of  the abdicating King Edward VII and the triumphant king to be King George the VI in the “The King’s Speech.

Find out what kind of sibling relationship you have and how you might take steps to repair it 







About the Authors

Cathy Cress M.S.W.

Cathy Cress, M.S.W., holds a degree in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. She is the coauthor of Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships.

Kali Peterson MS, MPA

Kali Cress Peterson MS, MPA, is the co-author of Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships.

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