Monday, 03 February 2014

The Oscars' Road to Perdition

Written by  Dr. Ted Baehr and Dr. Tom Snyder

Hollywood just announced its 2014 Oscar nominations for 2013 movies, and we have to say that these are among the most disappointing Oscar nominees in years.

The vast majority of the nominees are boring, uninspiring, tasteless, elitist, senseless, or politically correct.

For example, in the Best Picture category, Oscar voters senselessly nominated sloppily made, mostly R-rated, and sometimes politically correct, adult dramas; often with disagreeable, unsympathetic characters.

They nominated only two really superb movies, Gravity and Captain Phillips. Nebraska had some uplifting moments, but its director foolishly refused to delete one obscenity from his movie to get a PG-13 rating instead of an R rating.

Also, only one of the Best Picture nominees, Gravity, appealed to families. Why couldn’t they nominate a couple of animated family movies? Movieguide liked Frozen and Despicable Me 2 the most, but The Croods and Monsters University were also very good.

The press keeps talking about the Oscar snub against The Butler and the hype surrounding 12 Years a Slave, but there were two much better movies this year about African Americans: the crowd-pleasing and inspiring 42 and the lesser known Black Nativity, one of the most moving films of the entire year.

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Unlike 42 and Black Nativity, The Butler and 12 Years a Slave contained some politically correct attacks on Christians and conservatives.

For instance, The Butler levels some false, anachronistic slanders against President Reagan at the end. The film 12 Years a Slave, which has a lot of thematic and structural problems, stereotypes Southern Christians during the time of slavery. It also depicts its protagonist as rather less than heroic, more as a cardboard cutout victim than a heroic individual willing to sacrifice himself for others.

The less said about The Wolf of Wall Street, the better perhaps. But this shameless, depraved, and painful movie is 20 minutes longer than the Hobbit movie!

Speaking of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, why not give this exciting, well-structured movie some major kudos? The acting performances in Smaug, for instance, are terrific, especially those of Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman.

While we’re at it, why not send some love to such blockbuster action movies as Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and the second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire?

Robert Downey, Jr. continued to astound audiences in Iron Man 3. He was supported by Oscar-worthy performances from Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Kingsley.

Man of Steel, meanwhile, brings Superman back to full life in a heroic movie worthy of the accolade “super.”

And, the script, direction, and editing in Catching Fire had a much better screenplay and better editing and direction than Oscar-nominated dramas such as American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Finally, what about Tom Hanks in both Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks (two of his best performances in years), Emma Thompson and Paul Giamatti in Saving Mr. Banks, the great performances in Black Nativity (not to mention the fine acting in the small Christian movie Grace Unplugged).

Or, what about George Clooney’s wonderful performance in Gravity, probably his best so far? Or Matthew McConaughey’s performance in Mud, which was far more interesting than what he did in the obscene Dallas Buyers Club.

At least the Oscar voters nominated Sandra Bullock for her tremendous performance in Gravity, a real tour de force.

The American public tends to agree with us about all this. The movies listed above that we prefer generally made the most money at the box office.

Also, American Hustle garnered a measly “B+” with the audience poll CinemaScore, the same rating that recent flops such as 47 Ronin and Grudge Match received.

Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street is one of the least-liked movies in theaters currently, with a “C” grade on CinemaScore.

Movieguide has heard story after story about moviegoers getting disgusted at Wolf’s first couple of minutes and walking out of the theater. One eyewitness told us he talked with an older couple who walked out of the movie and went to see Frozen instead.

Of course, you can find out what were the truly great movies of 2013 by seeing who Movieguide nominates for its 22nd Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, to be held February 7 at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

Ultimately, it’s movies like Frozen, Gravity, Despicable Me 2, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Black Nativity, Grace Unplugged, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and 42, which reach audiences with larger-than-life, inspiring messages, that deserve your celebration, acclaim, and entertainment dollars.

 

Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of Movieguide and the founder and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission. Dr. Tom Snyder is the editor of Movieguide.

   

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