"Ratatouille," "Bella" and "Amazing Grace" were among the top movies of 2007 named at a recent ceremony honoring films that increase people's understanding and love of God.
The best 10 movies in the families and mature audiences categories were announced Tuesday at the 16th Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala, held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Winners were selected by Christian Film & Television Commission, which awards movies based on Biblical principles and positive family values. The event was introduced by the organization in 1992 and has since been likened to the "Christian Oscars."
Tuesday's event was hosted by Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide and movieguide.org, a Christian-based website that ranks movies. Baehr also chairs the Christian Film & Television Commission.
One of the highlights of the awards ceremony was the announcement of winners to the John Templeton Foundation Epiphany Prize, an award of $50,000 for God-honoring films and television programs.
"Amazing Grace," which tells the story of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce and his long fight to abolish the slave trade in the British empire, won the Epiphany prize in the film category and was named the Most Inspiring Movie of 2007. The historical drama from Samuel Goldwyn Films beat out other nominees including "Bella," "I Am Legend" and "Spider-Man 3" among others.
The movie also topped the list of 10 best movies of 2007 for mature audiences. Additionally, the film has earned high praises among evangelical circles for bringing awareness to Wilberforce, a devout Christian whose faith played a significant role in his cause.
"Valley of Light," a Hallmark Hall of Fame production about homeless World War II veteran Noah Locke, played by actor Chris Klein, took home the Epiphany prize for the television category.
"The Epiphany Prizes are intended to encourage spiritual wisdom, knowledge and growth," said Baehr, according to The Bulletin. "We hope that by honoring these movies and television programs, millions of people will be uplifted and inspired."
Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui was named the best actor for his role in the 2006 movie "Bella," beating out Alice Braga of "I Am Legend," Albert Finney and Ioan Gruffudd of "Amazing Grace," and Forest Whitaker of "The Great Debaters." In the film, Verastegui plays a character whose rising soccer career comes to an abrupt end through horrible tragedy. He later finds renewal and atonement through helping an unexpectedly pregnant waitress he befriends while living in New York.
"Bella," which has been praised for its pro-life message, won the Faith and Freedom Award for Promoting Positive American Values in 2007.
"Ratatouille," the animated film from Walt Disney Pictures, was named number one on the list of the 10 best family films of 2007.
The Grace Award for Most Inspirational Television Acting in 2007 went to Bailee Madison and Abigail Mason of "Saving Sarah Cain."
The ceremony also awarded three levels of screenwriters with prizes from the John Templeton Foundation.
Winners for the best 2007 movies are listed below:
The 10 Best 2007 Movies for Families:
3. "Alvin and the Chipmunks"
5. "The Game Plan"
6. "In the Shadow of the Moon"
7. "Shrek the Third"
8. "The Ultimate Gift"
9. "Nancy Drew"
10. "Bridge to Terabithia"
The 10 Best 2007 Movies for Mature Audiences:
1. "Amazing Grace"
2. "August Rush"
3. "Spider-Man 3"
4. "I Am Legend"
6. "The Great Debaters"
7. "The Astronaut Farmer"
10. "Live Free or Die Hard"