Best Screenplay: The Disciples
It’s Oscar time again, and that means seeing what all the stars are wearing, listening to speeches delivered by professional dramatists, and finding out which unwatched films were actually masterpieces mysteriously overlooked at the box office.
The truth about those little golden statuettes is that they aren’t much of a measure of critical acclaim or success, though they will up the asking price of any film-making professional awarded one.
But this celebration of what made American great (movies, of course) is filled with the glamour and glory that audiences love to give good reviews. It’s enjoyable in part because it is so unpredictable.
Some, however, have already rated the 77th Annual Academy Awards a bomb. These are people who followed ‘The Passion of the Christ’ Oscar plight religiously.
It turns out that a lot of people are really passionate about the Academy’s voting members’ decision not to nominate ‘The Passion’ for Best Picture or Best Actor. One Web site collected 25,000 signatures and submitted them to the academy but received no response.
One Internet poll was split even when it asked whether ‘The Passion’ should be nominated. The Web site rottentomatoes.com compiled 71 reviews for the film and found 54 percent favorable.
The repeated argument by ‘Passion’ promoters is that the film was snubbed for its Christian content. However, critics have consistently said that there were simply better films released in 2004. Cannes, The Golden Globes and The New York Film Critics Circle must have all been involved in the conspiracy if ‘Passion’ was worthy.
How can the film not be nominated with a massive, eighth-highest box office gross of $370 million?
Oscar has frequently said that millions of dollars can be wrong. Somebody find the ‘Shrek 2’ petition.
At the 31st Annual People’s Choice Awards, ‘The Passion of the Christ’ was selected by Internet voters as tops in the favorite drama category, but Michael Moore’s ‘Farenheit 9/11’ won the favorite movie award. And you won’t find ‘Farenheit’ in the running for Best Picture either.
Imagine the uproar if ‘Farenheit 9/11’ had been nominated.
‘The Passion’ was nominated for musical score, makeup and cinematography, but what happened to the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actor?
‘The Passion’ was devoted to accuracy, Director Mel Gibson said time and time again. He wasn’t concerned about the use of dead languages, the torture fixation or the one-dimensional characters that caused some to label the film ‘anti-Semitic.’
He wasn’t concerned about those things, because he wasn’t concerned about awards.
Jim Caviezel is an actor capable of broad range. He can be equally convincing in a modest, unassuming role or as a defiant aristocrat.
He’s a talented actor and likely didn’t expect to be nominated playing a role that requires little emotional fluctuation and contains little dialogue. Caviezel’s Jesus faced his fate with consistency and dignity, and showed only a moment of doubt in his final minutes.
It would be hard for anyone to say with credibility that ‘The Passion’ isn’t powerful, profound, moving and tightly based on the most accurate account available. The film benefits largely from context as opposed to what takes place within the work itself. And since it sacrificed none of its message in the interest of Oscar, maybe some pride should be taken in its unworthiness.