Throughout the embroilments that plagued the release of "The Passion"--the most hilarious of which were charges from the Jewish community that the film incited too extreme a notion of good and evil (duh)--Hollywood's general attitude toward the film was blatantly stand-offish. Apparently, Hollywood is not comfortable with the idea that morality is fairly black and white.
However, much like the post-election Democrats scrambled to piece together some sort of morality platform, uncomfortable with the fact that a "faith film" was making money of which they had no part, Hollywood scrambled in search of some values. And just like the Democrats, Hollywood failed.
Unfortunately, the idea of morality, which suggests some form of absolutes just didn't jibe well with the general "ho-hum", NC-17 masquerading as PG-13, who cares if it's disgusting, "whatever's going to sell movie tickets", attitude that has so overtaken the film industry. Sharon Waxman of the New York Times writes:
"As divisions of major media conglomerates concerned with their public image, Hollywood studios have historically shied away from all but the most benign values, like friendship, family and love. Movies with strong points of view — political and particularly religious — have had difficulty receiving green lights."
In all fairness, "The Passion" was
nominated for "Best Cinematography", "Best Make-Up", and "Best Musical Score". And in all fairness, those are pansy categories.
Critics have listed a number of reasons for why they believe "The Passion" was "deservedly overlooked", the number one being lack of critical acclaim.
Reviewers were generally split 50/50 on the film as CNN's list of reviews displays. Reviews ranged from "absolutely loved it" to "this is the worst film I've ever seen". Most negative reviews were directly connected to the film's graphic depictions. The fact that all of a sudden, critics decided to get squeamish is a bit ironic. For all the gore and raunchiness that's come out of Hollywood, it's amazing how hard it was for people to watch a depiction that didn't even come close to what Jesus actually looked like during his crucifixion.
Oh and then there's that other part about the film assigning Jewish responsibility to Jesus' death. The reality of what the Bible says doesn't really flow well with a lot of peoples' doctrine.
Critics' issues with the film's violence is merely a smoke screen. Let's just be honest. The main reason why "The Academy" and the other "powers that be" have overlooked "The Passion" is because of the controversy stirred up as a result of cries of anti-Semitism. There is nothing in the film even remotely anti-Semitic, but the accusation alone could kill a career in the historically Jewish-run Hollywood.
When Gibson refused to go the typical route and market his film for an Oscar nomination, a man named Patrick Hynes stepped up via his website passionforfairness.com and collected 25,000 signatures on a petition, demanding the Academy consider "The Passion" in some of the main award categories.
In an interview with CNN, Hynes declared:
"I think, given the success of 'The Passion of the Christ,' other people will start generating some faith-based films. And we're going to watch to see if those continue to get snubbed and ridiculed and receive the same kind of enmity that Hollywood ladled on Mel Gibson and 'The Passion.' And if they are, we're going to speak out against them."
Hynes reasons that just as Hollywood has long imposed their values upon the masses, the time has come to flip the script. If the revolution is televised, I might have to re-think my "turn-off the TV" policy.
(For reference, here are past "Best Picture" winners over the years.)