'Passion of the Christ' Faces Possible People's Choice Award and Oscar

The American Family Association had aimed to get over 1 million votes for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” to win “Best Movie the of the Year” of the “Drama Category” of CBS’s People’s Choice Awards. On Dec. 14, a counter on AFA’s Web site reported over 400,000 people had voted for the movie through the site.

The last day of voting for the People’s Choice Awards was Dec. 13 with show announcing the winners scheduled to air on Sunday, January 9, 2004 at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.

But a greater war facing the widely-seen depiction of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life is the upcoming 76th Annual Academy Awards, which will air on February 29, 2004 at 8 p.m. EST.

Some readers responding to an MSNBC editorial predicting that the “Passion” will not be nominated for the Oscar, protested Hollywood’s anti-religious bias which they say may explain the “Passion”’s potential absence from the nominee list.

The Passion of the Christ is a work of art that conflicts with the political agenda of certain closed-minded liberals,” said a reader by the name of Bill. “If best picture mattered at all, it is evident that the selection process for best picture is probably no fairer than the selection process depicted in the Passion between Christ and Barabas. Social and political agendas dominate both selections.”

Tyrone Poole of Alabama wrote, “It more than likely will not be nominated. It's simple to see why: Hollywood is not interested in anything that promotes a POSITIVE spiritual or religious outlook or perception.”

Others say the movie simply was not good enough to be nominated.

John Reyes of Anaheim wrote, “As an Evangelical Christian, I hope the film isn’t nominated for the simple reason that it wasn’t very good. Apart from the violence and anti-Semitic overtones (which Gibson appeared to go out of his way to include), the film just wasn't artistically interesting. Perhaps to compensate for the fact that they weren't speaking in English, nearly everyone in the film overacted to the point of becoming cartoons. And the “I'll be back”/Jesus as action hero ending was ridiculous.”

One MSNBC reader from West Virginia thought the film would be nominated. “It is time that the world, especially this nation, turned to God for the answers to our problems. It is about time someone in the entertainment industry took a stand and made a film that is spiritually factual,” said Jana.