Both the Golden Globes and the Broadcast Film Critics passed over The Passion of The Christ for any major nominations this year. The American Film Institute made no mention of The Passion in its 2004 best films of the year announcement. And according to USA Today’s Oscar Oracle, The Passion isn’t on the radar screen for even a single nomination when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out nominations at the end of January.
In the shadow of a public debate over the propriety of the words “Merry Christmas” at department stores, a big battle in the culture war is looming. The Passion of The Christ, one of the most powerful, commercially successful, and, by any measure, brilliant films of the year is being utterly rejected by the Hollywood elites this award season, demonstrating yet again their tone deaf disdain for all things middle-American.
What’s going on here? Well, the cultural elites took a whooping on Election Day, 2004. And they are taking it out on Mel Gibson.
The official reasons for denying The Passion an Oscar nomination are fivefold. Herewith, I will attempt to discredit them all:
The Passion is just a sadomasochistic bloodbath with quasi-religious overtones.
The body count in The Passion is one (actually it’s zero, but that argument is too big a leap for the average Academy member, so we’ll just stick with one), far fewer than Mel Gibson’s 1995 Best Picture winner Braveheart, 1974’s The Godfather Part II, or even 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs in which the main character is a cannibal.
In 1994 The Academy nominated Pulp Fiction in which an overdosed woman is resuscitated with a hypodermic stab to the heart. Fargo, in which a murder victim is shredded to bits in a wood chipper, was nominated for Best Picture in 1996. And two years later Saving Private Ryan was nominated because it depicted some of the most graphic and realistic war scenes in cinematic history, not despite it.
The Academy has a long-running love affair with blood and guts, so the idea that The Passion was just too gory doesn’t hold water.
The Academy doesn’t do religious films.
This argument is a little sturdier. But on closer examination, we determine it, too is a fallacy. Ben Hur won the Best Picture Oscar in 1959. Schindler’s List won in 1993. The Ten Commandments was nominated in 1956. The Diary of Anne Frank was nominated in 1959, as was The Nun’s Story. The Exorcist was nominated in 1973.
Just last year The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King won the Oscar for Best Picture and its director Peter Jackson won for Best Director. Said J.R.R. Tolkien of his master work, “The Lord of the Rings is, of course, a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”
The Passion just reflects Mel Gibson’s obscure brand of extreme Catholicism.
Not true. Regardless of Mel Gibson’s own denominational oddities, the film depicts an event no orthodox Christian — Catholic or Protestant — denies occurred. Contemporary non-Christian texts from Roman Jewish historian Josephus substantiate at least the gist of what Gibson captures on screen.
Moreover, Martin Scorsese was nominated for his direction of 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ, which includes artistic creations for which there is no scriptural support.
The factual errors disqualify the film for any nominations.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?