Not that this year’s event was as pristine as the
awards ceremonies of the Golden Age. There were some references to
bodily functions, domestic partners, sexual innuendoes, and light
obscenities, but actually they were far less than the Billy Crystal
hosted Oscars ceremonies of the last few years, and the Academy seemed
less uptight about the heart of the event, which is the emotional
responses of the award winners.
Although a few of the awards went to some bad, immoral
movies, in Christian terms, such as the pro-lesbian IRIS, or the
politically correct, pornographic MONSTER’S BALL, many of the awards
went to movies MOVIEGUIDE® could commend, even if they weren’t our first
choice. A BEAUTIFUL MIND has a wonderful redemptive base, and
producer/director Ron Howard even intoned, "God bless you." The highly
redemptive LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING got four
awards, but none of the big ones. NO MAN’S LAND, which explored the
sinfulness of man in an unique way, was our first choice for the Best
Foreign Language Film, and it beat out the secular favorite, AMELIE.
For many years, the Academy has been accused of
neglecting minorities, which this year’s vote radically changed by
giving awards to some very good actors, Denzel Washington and Halle
Berry, though, quite frankly, these were not their best roles. This
recalls the fact that it has often been said that the Academy Awards are
given in hindsight to performers and filmmakers who should have been
awarded for better work in earlier productions. Randy Newman’s award for
best song certainly falls in that category. I have interviewed Randy
several times. He has good values, but he seemed off his game in this
reception speech, noting, "I don’t want your pity" after he won his
first Oscar after 16 nominations. He thanked the Academy "for giving me
so many chances to be humiliated."
Denzel Washington opened his acceptance speech with,
"God is good…God is great from the bottom of my heart…God bless you" and
ended with another "God bless you." Several of the recipients for BLACK
HAWK DOWN and PEARL HARBOR expressed patriotic themes. Julian Fellowes,
scriptwriter of GOSFORD PARK, offered a heartfelt, God bless America,
and some of the LORD OF THE RINGS people gave clear endorsements of
enthusiasm for the United States of America. Furthermore, professing
Christian Kevin Spacey, who should choose his roles more in line with
his faith, presented a memorable patriotic moment.
In spite of his politics, Sidney Poitier has been a
positive influence on the movie industry. He deserved the lifetime
achievement award much more than last year’s winner did. His LILIES OF
THE FIELD brought many people closer to Christ, including me. This may
have been unintentional, but he always portrayed people with good
values, strong common sense and strong spiritual concerns. His
acceptance speech was very moving and thought-provoking, in a good way.
Although, regrettably, Halle Berry usually does not
portray the same kind of values in her recent movies, she seems to have
those values lurking in her past. We need to pray for her, and all the
other celebrities and filmmakers in Hollywood.
It was also disappointing that the Academy used Woody
Allen to introduce the tribute to New York City. Although his homage to
New York in his movie MANHATTAN is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, most
of his movies and personal behavior in recent years have left a lot to
be desired, morally speaking.
Whoever wrote Helen Hunt’s introduction to
documentaries gave an incredible nod to faith. Helen said, "We are now
going to honor movies where God is the director," then proceeded to talk
about God four more times. This type of God-talk was practically unheard
of in recent years, when MOVIEGUIDE® was writing very disappointing
articles about the Academy Awards.
In all, the good outweighed the bad at this year’s
Academy Awards. They were more in line with the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards, and
this is a great encouragement to us and a great testimony that God is at
work in Hollywood.