LOS ANGELES — Media critic and founder of the family and values based Movieguide, Ted Baehr, says the solution to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy proposed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is flawed and encourages prejudice, the exact opposite of the Academy's intention.
"As all Hollywood insiders know, the Academy is a club, and like all clubs, insider politics and favoritism reigns supreme," said Baehr in a statement released to the press. "If they believe their problem is that white voters vote white, thus the solution to bring in more African-American voters to even the playing field, they're simply encouraging prejudice voting based on skin color instead of solving the root issue."
Baehr is considered a valuable trusted source by conservative moviegoers interested in reading reviews that place family and faith values as the highest priority. His organization will have its own entertainment awards night, Movieguide's 24th annual Faith & Values Awards Gala, held at the Universal Hotel in Los Angeles on Feb. 5.
"The recent #OscarsSoWhite controversy reveals a diversity problem, but the solution presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not fix their problem, because their standards are not principle-based," he said. "The voters do not have an objective standard by which they all vote, and both the nominations, and the outcry for the lack of diversity in the nominations, reveals the flimsiness of the criteria for what good filmmaking is."
Baehr continues, "Contrast this to the Movieguide Awards which avoids this issue altogether because it nominates actors and actresses based on principles that have nothing to do with who you know or what the color of your skin is. It is all about how spiritually inspiring the actor's or actress' performance is.
"The Grace Award goes to 'an actor or actress in a motion picture or television program who exemplifies God's grace and mercy toward us as human beings through their outstanding performance.'"
Baehr says that it is because of this standard that nearly 40 percent of the winners of the Grace Award have been non-white actors or actresses in the last decade. "Maybe if the Academy encouraged their voters to celebrate and award more positive, uplifting, broad audience movies and the actors that inspire us in them, they'll solve their diversity problems," he said.
The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment and the Christian Film & Television Commission, recently announced the nominees for the 24th annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry.
Organizers say the presentation of the $200,000 Epiphany Prizes for the Most Inspiring Movie and TV Program of 2015 is the highlight of the awards, which also will be telecast Feb. 22 and 24 on the REELZChannel.
The Epiphany Prizes are supported by a grant from the organizers, and the prizes are given every year to the best, most inspiring movie and television program that resulted in a "great increase in man's love or understanding of God."
Another highlight will be the presentation of the first Bradley Foundation Faith & Freedom Movie Award for the best movie of 2015 promoting positive American values, supported by a grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.
Movieguide will also present awards to the Best Movie for Families, the Best Movie for Mature Audiences, and the Grace Awards for the Most Inspiring Performances in Movies & TV, given to the best actors or actresses who best exemplified God's grace to human beings.
Co-hosting the awards this year are Sadie Robertson of A&E's popular series "Duck Dynasty" along with Joe Mantegna of the long running CBS series "Criminal Minds."
The nominees for 24th annual Faith & Values Awards include (in alphabetical order):
Epiphany Prize ($100,000) to the Most Inspiring Movie of 2015: "The 33," "Brooklyn," "Captive," "Do You Believe," "Manny," "War Room" and "Woodlawn."
Epiphany Prize ($100,000) to the Most Inspiring TV Program of 2015: "A.D.: The Bible Continues," "Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine," "Blue Bloods: Hold Outs," "Chicago Fire: Forgiving, Relentless, Unconditional," "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors" and "Saints & Strangers."
Bradley Foundation Faith & Freedom Award for Movies: "The Good Dinosaur," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2," "Joy," "Max," "McFarland, USA" and "Woman in Gold."
Most Inspiring Performance for Movies: Antonio Banderas ("The 33"), Kate Mara ("Captive"), Ted McGinley ("Do You Believe?"), Juliet Stevenson ("The Letters"), Karen Abecrombie ("War Room"), Sean Astin and Jon Voight ("Woodlawn").r
Most Inspiring Performance for Television: Emmett J Scanlan, Joe Dixon and Juan Pablo Di Pace ("A.D.: The Bible Continues"), Gordon Clapp ("Chicago Fire: Forgiving, Relentless, Unconditional"), Vincent Kartheiser ("Saints & Strangers"), Alyvia Alyn Lind, Gerald McRaney, and Jennifer Nettles ("Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors").
Baehr is also scheduled to present highlights from Movieguide's 2015 Report to the Entertainment Industry, a comprehensive financial analysis of the movie business showing what kinds of movies and what kinds of movie content moviegoers favor the most with their hard-earned money.