Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ last year on Ash Wednesday, February 25. Our anticipation was well worth it. His instant classic has been a resounding success commercially and artistically. Indeed, Mel almost single-handedly pulled Hollywood out of the red in the Spring quarter for had his film not been released, the industry could possibly have had their worse record in history. As it turned out, filmmakers saw one of the best bonanzas for this usual slow period of box office success since few blockbusters are ever released between January 1 and April 15.
So how did the industry repay Mel for bailing them out? By snubbing him in a most obvious way. Now let's be realistic here. None of us thought that Mel's masterpiece was going to sweep into the nominations for the Oscars as The Lord of the Rings did last year. Yet, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and even Best Picture were not out of the possibility realm. After all, earlier this year in the People's Choice Awards, Mel was not only present in person, but took home the awards big-time, leaving the rest of the competition in the dust. But that was the extent of any honors.
As far as the industry is concerned, one has to ask, how could a movie that was not even nominated for a Golden Globe, was passed over by the Directors and Producers Guilds, ignored by critic's awards, and has been left off many top 10 lists for 2004 even think about being nominated for the biggest Hollywood recognition of all? Just because the movie has been nothing short of a phenomenon and has made over 600 million dollars, did we really think that Hollywood would ever admit that this epic exists? The film which dragged Hollywood's well-known distaste for Christianity and Catholicism out into the light for all to see has now made that distaste as plain as the nose on their hypocritical faces. While it is plain that Mel never made this film with red carpets in mind, the audacity and obviousness of the expected snubs still boggles the mind. I guess we all held out a slim hope that the movie would at least garner one or two major nominations to recognize its cinematic quality. All Mel was given were a few breadcrumbs with the nomination of three technical awards. Big deal!
At the end of the day, this whole thing reminds us of Christ's promise that all who stood for Him would be ridiculed, mocked, and snubbed. Mel should feel right at home and know he's on the right track. Though I don't like to say this, literally we know it's true: Hollywood be damned!
Hypocrisy For All To See
Tinsel Town is all about delusions, distortions, and facades. Anyone who develops his or her perception of reality based upon Hollywood's presentation of that "reality" is in a sad state indeed. For Hollywood to level accusations of inaccuracy on any film is the height of hypocrisy. Tinsel town is also about subjective perceptions and biased spins on facts. Stories which feed Hollywood's modernist, liberal agenda usually get a positive spin and those which contradict that agenda usually get a negative spin. For Hollywood to level accusations of bias or prejudiced portrayals of fact or history is a pathetic hypocrisy as well. Tinsel Town waxes poetic about injustice and noble causes, yet any injustice or cause which contradicts Hollywood's agenda does not exist in the industry's eyes. Tinsel Town pretends to be a nation's, a world's lens to the past, present, and future.
However, any past, present, or future which counters Hollywood's taste is ignored, banished, or twisted before our eyes. Despite the fact that many respected film critics and experts cited the quality of Mel's film, it has been ignored precisely because its content, subject, and presentation does not fit Hollywood's taste or political views.
Commenting on the snub, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Frank Pierson stated that while Gibson did not get nominated for a major award, he made enough money to "set up his own studio" once again proving that Hollywood thinks money heals all injustices.
The Oscars and other awards pretend to be about the quality of acting or filmmaking, but obviously this is not the case. While The Passion of The Christ was nominated for cinematography, makeup, and score, it clearly merited nominations for film, directing, and acting, yet received none of these major nominations. What all of this shows, as if this truth needed further verification, is that film awards celebrate film which is either neutral or consistent with Hollywood's social, political, and cultural agenda. These awards shows are not about film quality devoid of such agendas, but subject to those views. The industry which pretends to be so "liberal", so "tolerant", and so foreign to limitations on freedom of speech is steeped in hypocrisy, intolerance, and censorship when its pet agendas and biases are involved.
I have read where The Passion was ignored in the major categories because of its controversial nature, but we can all list many controversial films which received at least one major nomination if not an award. I have read where it is argued that awarding controversial, violent, graphic, or touchy subjects which might offend some is to reward such efforts, yet we all know of numerous such films and documentaries which have been so recognized. Was not Mel himself recognized for his work in the violent and graphic Braveheart? This and other examples clearly show that graphic violence is not the reason The Passion was snubbed in major categories. Was not Hitler's Nazi propaganda filmmaker given honorary recognition at a recent Academy Awards? Was not a film depicting convicted child molesters as victims nominated as Best Documentary last year? Where are the cries of Anti-Semitism at the Nazi propaganda filmmaker's recognition? The recent election clearly showed the controversy surrounding abortion, yet The Cider House Rules and now Vera Drake have received major nominations. Look at Million Dollar Baby. It promotes assisted suicide. So controversy seems to be acceptable when a film applauds Hollywood's agenda but not when the movie does just the opposite. How tolerant!
There should be no doubt that films like The Song of Bernadette would not have received the Oscar recognition they received if they had been made today since they dare to deal with Catholic content without bashing that content and, heavens, actually applauding that content! I am convinced that Fahrenheit 911 would have received some kind of recognition by The Academy Awards if not for the presence of The Passion of The Christ. To have recognized Fahrenheit while ignoring The Passion would have been to open a can of worms which even Hollywood does not want to deal with now. Another strong possibility for 911's snub is that Hollywood did not want to be reminded of its bitter election defeat. In fact, if John Kerry had won, 911 would likely have been nominated and nobody would care what Passion fans thought.
Connect The Dots
There are those who argue that Mel's film was ignored because he did not follow the system, he hurdled the conventional way of doing things, but this argument is a smokescreen because Mel was forced to do things on his own in order to get his film done his way by a system which would not have tolerated his message. As much a Hollywood insider as anyone else, Mel knew that the usual way of doing things would have either compromised or destroyed his vision. While circumventing Hollywood's usual route did not win him any friends, this was not the reason for the snub. All things considered, this snub is the industry's last attempt to make The Passion go away.
It is clear that Hollywood never thought that anyone could circumvent the usual path to success due to the enormous financial and practical issues involved. Moreover, they never thought that anyone would dare try to buck Hollywood's social, cultural, and political agenda in this way, especially when swimming against the currents of the industry's modus operandi. Once Mel proved that he had both the ability and the intent to buck Hollywood's usual routine, the industry did its best to destroy, subvert, undermine, tear down, defame, demonize, and censor Mel's effort. Once it became clear that this film was going to be very successful despite Hollywood's intent and efforts, the only weapon left was to simply ignore the movie, and that is what has happened, at least from an industry standpoint, with the snubbing by major awards organizations of any recognition of a masterpiece that will live on as an all-time classic.
In a very eerie way, The Passion of The Christ and its genius director are experiencing a re-enactment of Christ's original Passion.
Just as Christ grew in fame and popularity among many through His works, so too Mel grew in fame and popularity among many for his work as well.
Just as Christ dared to buck the system and tell the truth regardless of the earthly consequences, so too Mel dared to buck the entertainment machine and present his vision regardless of the effects.
Just as Christ's message did not tune well with the secular, selfish, influential, powerful hypocrisy reigning at the time, so too Mel's vision was a nightmare for those in power today.
Just as Christ's own turned on Him and sought to crucify Him to silence Him and make Him go away, so too Mel's own fellow actors, directors, and industry types have turned on him seeking to silence and isolate him hoping that he, too, will just go away.
Just as those in power pretended that Christ was something He was clearly not in order to justify their treachery, so too many in the social, political, and media leadership seek to falsely portray Mel in an attempt to discredit his efforts.
Just as Christ's sacrifice of self changed many lives, so too Mel's sacrifice of career to some extent has likewise changed many lives for the better.
Just as Herod Agrippa's mocking ridicule of Christ merely served to show the integrity and depth of Christ's quality and the superficiality and despicable nature of Herod's nature, so too Hollywood's mocking ridicule of Mel and his film merely serve to show the integrity, sincerity, and depth of Mel's purpose and message.
Just as Christ soared above and beyond these hypocrites' attempt to silence Him, so too Mel will rise above and beyond the attempts of today's hypocrites to stifle and censor his efforts.
It is now official…Hollywood is in denial. In announcing no major Oscar nominations for Mel Gibson's masterpiece The Passion of The Christ, the film industry has officially recognized what many already knew. Christianity and Catholicism do not play well in the backdrop of Hollywood's cultural, social, and political agenda. The industry which leads masses against censorship, intolerance, and bias in film has itself become stained in censorship, intolerance, bias and subjective agendas. Considering that Mel has likely already won many Heavenly awards for his efforts, being snubbed by the superficial, anti-religious, secular, pro-abortionist, modernist, feminist, sodomite, liberal entertainment and political elite is of little importance and consequence. Mel has gained a ton of rewards in the only Awards Show that matters - Heaven; and Hollywood will surely someday fall under the weight of its hypocrisy, superficiality, intolerance, censorship, and liberal agenda.
We don't care what the Academy Awards thinks, for the Oscar for the best performance by a disciple of Christ and a servant of God for 2004 goes to Mel Gibson, and the award for best depiction of true hypocrisy by an industry steeped in perdition and spin goes to the clueless imbeciles who think that ignoring Christ in some awards ceremony will make Him go away!
Perhaps Hollywood wishes it could ignore the recent elections as well by simply refusing to nominate the results. What those elections, and Mel's success once again prove is that Hollywood's agendas, red carpets, gossip, motives, and opinions are trivial in the grand scheme of things. When the ultimate eternal "Awards Show" comes, it is Hollywood that will fail to be nominated. Yes, his promise holds, for all who follow him truly are ignored, mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted. However, we will stand firm by our Divine Director because His Production is salvation and that is worth far more than a silly golden calf!