Sorry, folks, but it’s the next logical news question

textPerhaps there needs to be a sub-blog that ONLY covers press reactions to “The Passion of the Christ.” No, I don’t think so. But Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News does have one of the first takes on the story that will keep this media fest alive for, oh, 11 more months.

If you think the debate over Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” will be over once the movie has taken in its last piece of silver at theaters, consider next year’s Oscar race. Will it or won’t it receive nominations? And if not, true believers will say, why in the hell not? …

It’s brilliantly filmed by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, a four-time Oscar nominee. And given the graphic flesh trauma borne by blood-drenched star James Caviezel, one would think a makeup nomination is in the bag.

But what of the movie itself, and Gibson as Best Director? Is “Passion” going to divide Academy voters along the blue state/red state fault line the way it seems to be dividing the general population? It only takes 20 percent of a branch’s membership to get a nomination.

P.S. Excellent comment from a reader: “Better yet … since the film is almost entirely in Aramaic, will it be nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category?”

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Tim Drake

    Better yet… since the film is almost entirely in Aramaic, will it be nominated in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category?

  • Stacy L. Harp

    I will be watching and waiting to see what the Hollywood elite does.

    I’ve seen the movie twice and I think it is deserving of best picture, best foreign film, and best everything else!

  • noname

    Money talks. The film may get a costume or cinematography nomination but it probably won’t get a best picture or best director nomination or award because elaborate Hollywood lobbying — often fueled by money — talks louder. And the biggest lobbyists probably don’t like the picture. But now that it is making money they may not want to declare that so loud going forward. What will probably also happen is release of a spate of other, milder, spiritually themed films. I think Mitch Albom is poised to make a lot of money.

  • Victor Morton

    THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST cannot be nominated for best Foreign-Language Film because the FLF procedure starts with submissions from other nations’ academies. In PASSION’s case, the submitting country would probably have to be the United States, but the Academy simply has no procedure for submitting an American foreign-language film, essentially to itself. There is also a requirement (and precedent for an FLF submission being rejected on failing this test) that the film be made primarily by that nation’s creative talent. By that standard, Italy *might* be able to submit it (the film’s crew, locations, technical credits and the majority of its actors are Italian), but that might set up other difficulties. And in any event, it would be entirely a call by the Italian Academy that has other fish to fry (and which the US Academy could justifiably veto in any event).

    Or in one phrase, no country is likely to claim THE PASSION as its own. And unless one *does,* there is noway, nohow, nomatter, that it could be nominated for best FLF.

    In general, I think PASSION will get no nominations. Between the lack of a pushing studio, Gibson/Catholic-hate in Hollywoof, its February release, and Gibson’s indifference to the Hollywood establishment, I think it’ll get shut out.

  • noname

    I agree somewhat with Victor in that Hollywood power hates Gibson and Gibson doesn’t care and therefore it’s unlikely he would get a nomination … but I think there may be individual elements from within the production of “Passion” who may lobby for certain awards. And although Hollywood will likely snub Gibson Hollywood may not want to totally alienate him because it’s also a town that is incredibly fearful. A star once told me: “be nice to people on your way up because you might just meet them on your way down.” So somebody might throw his movie a bone. In addition, what is most respected is money. That’s the bottom line. You can’t deny the profits.

  • Victor Morton

    No name:

    I’d agree that PASSION now has a *chance* and it might get the CITIZEN KANE treatment (a bunch of noms, boos at the ceremony and a string of losses) iff it keeps its legs and passes TITANIC as the all-time biggest film, a mark I think it’s got a shot at that mark if its legs hold up. We actually might see another crest at Good Friday and Easter (for obvious reasons), SIX FRICKIN’ WEEKS after its initial release.

    But money isn’t *everything,* not when it comes to the Academy Awards. Money alone won’t do it if a film isn’t the right *kind* of film. How much Oscar love did the MATRIX movies, HULK, SPIDER-MAN, the STAR WARS prequels and all summer blockbusters practically ever, get? Little or none because they don’t fit the Academy-Award-Winning™ mold — serious subject matter, a conventionally (or conventionally-unconventional) liberal worldview, late-year release, made by the “in crowd,” a prestige offering from a major studio, etc. We’ll obviously have to wait and see, but I think there’s just too many factors working against Gibson’s film.

  • noname

    okay, you may be right. by the way, as i have not been following this too closely, have we heard yet from sarandon and robbins on the subject — (sarandon being a graduate of catholic U)?

  • noname
  • noname