Monday, December 06, 2004

I learn from Free Republic that Pat Hynes -- the fine, upstanding citizen behind the Web site -- has a new hobby: demonizing anyone who dares to suggest that Mel Gibson splatter film The Passion of the Christ doesn’t deserve every Oscar nomination it can theoretically be awarded.

Hynes is making this point at his new site,

…Sadly, even after an election in which more that one in five voters cited “Moral Values” as their primary concern, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may actually omit the hit film The Passion of The Christ, its direct [sic] and its actors from consideration for their respective awards.

We are not surprised. Hollywood has long mocked and discounted mainstream American values. But to add further injury to insult, the odds-on-favorite for Best Picture is Michael Moore’s dishonest political tirade
Fahrenheit 911. All the information one needs to understand where Hollywood’s sentiments lie is contained in the contrasting reviews and commentaries of The Passion and Fahrenheit 911. Indeed, many have speculated that The Passion will cost Gibson his career.

OK -- let’s stop right there. “Many have speculated that The Passion will cost Gibson his career”? Sure, that’s true -- or it was true about 300 million box-office dollars ago. After ticket sales of The Passion went though the roof, Gibson was named Innovator of the Year by The Hollywood Reporter and Producer of the Year at the Hollywood Film Awards; according to Entertainment Weekly, one studio said of Gibson, “He’s an entity now -- a Spielberg, a Bruckheimer.” ABC put a Gibson-produced sitcom, Complete Savages, on its fall schedule. In the entertainment business, he can now do pretty much whatever he wants.

And as for Fahrenheit 9/11, who thinks it's the "odds-on favorite for Best Picture"? Scott Bowles of USA Today said a week ago that it's "losing awards steam"; Anne Thompson of Premiere doesn't think it's a "front-runner" or a "dark horse"; and the online betting shop TradeSports has it tied for 14th among its Best Picture contenders, way behind The Aviator, Ray, and Finding Neverland. (The Passion is #6.)

But Hynes isn't letting the facts get in the way of a good denunciation. And he's not weighing his words:

Therefore, we are circulating a petition to make ourselves loud and clear to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson, and the various actors and actresses of this important film had better receive a fair hearing when nominations are handed out on January 25th, 2005. We are asking -- no demanding -- Hollywood put aside their own cultural bias against Christians, conservative and other mainstream Americans. We hope you will join our cause, as we seek to impose our values on Hollywood for a change, instead of the other way around.

"Impose." Isn't that lovely?

You may think this is trivial, but if The Passion doesn't get a large number of nominations, and if one of those nominations isn't for Best Picture, the snub will dominate the news in late January. It won't just be entertainment news -- it will be real news. The story will monopolize radio and cable talk; it will be op-ed fodder in major newspapers; thoughtful men and women will discuss the snub as if it's representative of worrisome trends in American life.

And liberals will be demonized -- even though I don't vote for the Oscars and you probably don't either.

Yeah, it'll be fun. And I can't wait to see what happens a few months after that, when Jane Fonda's memoir comes out.

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