I’ve seen several articles and blogs writing about the fact that Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ was snubbed in the Academy Awards nominations.
(Of course it was nominated in a couple of minor categories like cinematography and original score.)
Personally, I just don’t feel any outrage about the whole thing. Now I’m not a serious film critic, but I did think that the film was powerful art and quite an experience for me as a viewer. Were I making the nominations I would have given several to it. But when its all said and done, I just am not really concerned with what the Motion Picture Academy (or whatever their formal name) says about it.
The whole enterprise of the Academy Awards is terribly narcissistic, if you ask me. There seems to be a different awards show every other week where the Hollywood set gets all dressed up for an extravagent night of self-congratulations and self-promotion. There’s nothing wrong with an industry recognizing annual achivements, but something about the overblown way its done in Hollywood just bugs me. Maybe its the obsession over who wore what or showed up with whom, the E! factor if you will, or the fact that rather than one event, there seem to be dozens, but the whole thing is just a little tired to me.
Anyway, so my perspective on The Passion’s place in the Academy Awards is probably a bit jaded. But beyond that, I just don’t see where that kind of validation is required for a film like Gibson’s. Sure it seems likely that most Hollywood-types hate the film or at least its message. Conversely, there are many who probably put too much stock in it.
My question is this: Why do we take a film that speaks to many so powerfully and clamor for the attention of the establishment? Why do we need validation from the Academy that it was a good movie? Do we think that it helps validate the message of the gospel in some way? The gospel is necessarily an offense and affront to the systems and thinking of this world. We shouldn’t be surprised when the world doesn’t reward those who seek to portray a part of that message.