The lessons celebrated at the U.S. Military Academy of selfless leadership and duty to do the right thing no matter what are not always confined to the Army.

Characters in popular culture can inspire and demonstrate integrity. Some thought-provoking characters in 2008 movies have been nominated to receive the Cadet Choice Award.

"The whole point of the awards is to give credit to movie makers and producers that come up with characters of value that can inspire young Americans to do the right thing," Cadet Cristin Browne, who led the panel that chose the award finalists, said. "Producing characters in movies that people, especially young people, can actually exemplify and look up to is a noteworthy accomplishment -- especially in today's society that glorifies sex and violence."

Finalists are Bruce Wayne of "The Dark Knight," Col. Claus von Stauffenberg of "Valkyrie," Indiana Jones of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," John Hancock of "Hancock," Harvey Milk of "Milk" and James Bond of "Quantum of Solace."

Cadets may vote on which character best demonstrates USMA leadership qualities via a SharePoint on the Corps of Cadets' Web site. The winner will be announced during a ceremony next month. The actor who portrayed the character and the movie's writers, director and producer will be invited to West Point for an award ceremony in the spring to be presented with a Cadet Tar Bucket award, a black and gold cadet parade cover with feather plume.

Last year's winner was Robert Neville, Will Smith's character in "I Am Legend." Smith was not able to attend last year's ceremony, which was the first for the awards.

"My hope is that the winner will come this year," Browne said. "I think it would be great for the morale of the Corps of Cadets and great for someone from the film industry to see what the academy is all about."

Actors representing the characters up for the award are Christian Bale as Wayne, Tom Cruise as von Stauffenberg, Harrison Ford as Jones, Will Smith as Hancock, Sean Penn as Milk and Daniel Craig as Bond.

Page last updated Mon January 26th, 2009 at 16:29