(Photo: Ted Baehr)
Although Oscar may not want it, the title song for "Alone Yet Not Alone" will be heard by guests at the 22nd Annual Movieguide Awards gala, celebrating faith and values-based entertainment at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles Friday evening.
Organizers of the event plan to feature inspirational Christian speaker and quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada singing "Alone Yet Not Alone," the song that the Academy first nominated for best song then revoked two weeks later. One of the song's co-writers, Bruce Broughton, was accused of improperly emailing Oscar voters, bringing the song to their attention.
"Many people are saying it was removed because it's Christian and that's not the case because you have the movie 'Frozen' that opens up with 'Fairest, Lord Jesus,' right at the beginning in Danish," Dr. Ted Baehr, co-founder and chairman of Movieguide, told The Christian Post Thursday. He said that although many people don't speak Danish, "you can immediately recognize" the Christian hymn.
Baehr believes that movies that have Christian content are more readily accepted these days and that having a faith-based theme certainly doesn't seem to cut them out of Academy Awards running. The pulling of the song from the Oscar nominations list was about something else, he said.
"I think it was more about that a couple of the big-name writers, and the big movies, felt that they weren't getting the respect that they should and so they threw their weight around and kicked out this little, tiny movie which deserved consideration," Baehr said.
Eareckson Tada's performance, as well as the rest of the awards event, will be taped for broadcast on the Reelz Channel on March 1. About 500 guests from the entertainment industry are expected at the gala.
"It's a chance for a lot of people in Hollywood who make movies and television programs with a tremendous amount of faith and values, more than ever before, to celebrate," Baehr told CP. "When we started, there was only one movie with a positive Christian witness and now it's just incredible, even Superman went to church last year. A lot of the top producers, directors, and writers are coming."
Baehr is also scheduled to give a detailed report about the entertainment industry to help people "understand what does well, why it does well, and how it does well."
"Ninety percent of the top-grossing movies last year had a strong Christian moral worldview," he said. "The report is pretty extraordinary."
When asked why he thought this year's Movieguide Awards event was already bringing so much media attention, Baehr joked, "Probably because the Olympics are in a town called Sochi. They can't even get a hotel room."
However, he added, "Probably because we are uniquely positioned to present faith and values in the middle of the entertainment industry and I think that is one reason that we have some very strong (influential) people coming that want faith and values in the entertainment industry."
Baehr said he was extremely grateful for the growth and market for faith-based entertainment. He said he didn't have any "magical" answer as to how the growth happened, but attributed much of it to building relationships over the years and encouraging the making of "better entertainment."
"We are all about faith and family, so we celebrate faith and family," Baehr explained. "We encourage faith and family. We are lighting a light in the darkness and the light seems to grow brighter and it's not our light, it's Jesus' light. It's the light of God. God is using this and I sometimes feel extremely humbled by it, sometimes wondering, 'God, thank you, but why here? Why now? Why with us?'"
Twelve movies and television programs have been nominated for the Faith & Freedom Awards, the theme of this year's event, which are given to the best, most inspiring movie and television program of the past year that promoted American, western values such as freedom of speech, religious freedom, property rights, the right to life, the rule of law, and personal responsibility, states Movieguide.
"This is one of our best group of nominees ever," said Baehr. "This year we had a strong list of contenders in both television and film."
2013 Movie Nominees
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Man of Steel
2013 Television Nominees
Blue Bloods: Bad Blood
Christmas in Conway
Duck Dynasty: Till Duck Do Us Part
Last Man Standing: Back to School
Secret Millionaire: George & Kym Rapier: Oakridge, Oregon
Other awards to be presented Friday include the $100,000 Epiphany Prizes for Inspiring Movies & TV, the $50,000 Kairos Prizes for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays by First-Time and Beginning Screenwriters, the $50,000 Chronos Prize for Most Inspiring Screenplay by Established Filmmakers, the $50,000 Friess Free Enterprise Prize, the Best 2013 Movie for Families, the Best 2013 Movie for Mature Audiences, and the Grace Awards for Inspiring Performances in Movies & TV.
Author of The Culture-Wise Family and How To Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul), Baehr is chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission and its family guide to movies and entertainment, Movieguide (www.movieguide.org). CFTVC and Movieguide are an international, nonprofit ministry dedicated to "redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and by informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media," states Movieguide.
On the Web: http://movieguideawards.com/.