Sunday, 20 February 2011

Christian Oscars Celebrate Family Films

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Chronicles posterWhile award shows like the Oscars and the Golden Globes acquire all of the media hype, the Faith and Values Movieguide Awards are beginning to gain more traction in some Hollywood circles. Dubbed the “Christian Oscars,” the Faith and Values Movieguide Awards celebrate films that espouse uplifting, inspirational, patriotic and spiritual elements. Held at the Universal Hilton Hotel on Friday, February 18, the 19th Annual Faith and Values Awards Gala handed out a number of awards to family-friendly films.

Categories for the awards range from Best Films for Family Audiences to the Grace Awards, which are handed to actors or actresses whose performances best exemplify God's glory and mercy.

According to Dr. Ted. Baeher, founder of Movieguide, the awards are for those who continue to promote positive values within the motion picture industry.

"Since we've been doing this, the number of R-rated films has dropped from 82 percent to about 30 percent. The number of movies with positive Christian content has gone from 1 percent to 60 percent and movies with moral content has gone from 10 percent to 80 percent. We see the studios wanting to make money."

Dr. Baehr handed out over 25 awards on Friday night, including the coveted $100,000 Epiphany Prizes that are given to one movie and one television program epitomizing “man’s love for God for understanding of God.”

The winner of the Epiphany Prize for the Most Inspiring Movie of 2010 is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader from 20th Century Fox Pictures. The movie, which is based on the C.S. Lewis classic, focuses on the Christians’ struggles with temptation from sin.

Amish Grace received the Epiphany Prize for the Most Inspiring TV Program of 2010. Based on a true story, Amish Grace, which premiered on Lifetime Television, depicts what transpires when a gunman senselessly takes the lives of five girls in an Amish community.

The prestigious Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance in Movies was awarded to Kevin Sorbo for What If, a film about a man’s journey back to God after the man abandoned Him years earlier in pursuit of a life of glitz and glamor. The Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance in Television went to Madison Mason for Amish Grace.

Toy Story 3 from Pixar and Disney Pictures was Movieguide's pick for Best Movie for Families, followed by Despicable Me, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, Shrek Forever After, Tangled, What If, How to Train Your Dragon, Letters to God, and Megamind.

For Best Movie for Mature Audiences, the winner was Secretariat from Walt Disney Pictures, followed by The Book of Eli, The King’s Speech, True Grit, Letters to Juliet, Mao’s Last Dancer, Iron Man 2, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Alice in Wonderland, and Get Low. Secretariat is based on the true story of a race horse and the woman who owned him.

Mao’s Last Dancer earned the Faith and Freedom Award (for movies) for promoting positive American values. The film was a very worthy candidate for this award since it told the true story of professional dancer Li Cunxin, who, on a visit to the United States, defected from China and made a life for himself. Christmas With a Capital C, which aired on the Gospel Music Channel, received the Faith and Family Award for television programs.

It seems each year that the number of family and Christian-based films continues to grow, and as such, the Movieguide Awards grow in popularity. As families flock to the theaters and tune into these quality films on their television, they send the mass media conglomerates the message that Americans continue to have a taste for Christian values.

Graphic: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader poster