2002 Oscar® Nominations “Best in 12 Years,” Christian Media Expert Ted Baehr Says
Baehr praises 13 Oscar nominations for THE LORD OF THE RINGS
by Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Communications, March 1, 2002
Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE® and head of the Christian Film and Television Commission, describes this year's Oscar nominations as “magnificent.”
In an interview at the NRB Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Dr. Baehr said, “This year is the most encouraging we have had for the Oscars in the last 12 years. In terms of best pictures, we've got many movies that MOVIEGUIDE® has recommended and that we were going to choose as our best pictures.
“So, I am happy with the Oscars this year. Of course, there are a few I could complain about, but it's much less than in previous years. So, there has been a turn-around in Hollywood. Whether it was 9/11 or whatever it was, something has changed. I remember years that we couldn't use any of the movies nominated for best picture.”
“When we started out in 1985, there was only one film with positive Christian content—THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. Last week, I could count eight films in theaters, which had strong Christian or moral content. In fact, during the time we have been doing MOVIEGUIDE®, the number of movies with positive Christian content has gone from one to nearly 40 percent of the films released. That's still not enough, and some of those movies had other things wrong with them, but the good news is that we have seen a lot of improvement since we began helping moviegoers choose the good.”
Dr. Baehr particularly singled out for praise was LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS, which got 13 Oscar nominations.
“This movie is a very biblical account based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien, who led C.S. Lewis to Christ and it is really faithful to the book, although they tried to pump up the ending a little bit, but in terms of the Christian worldview, it is very clear.”
Baehr said that this was part one of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which opens in a small village in the Shire in Middle Earth, where a young Hobbit named Frodo has been entrusted with an ancient evil ring and must embark on an Epic quest to the Crack of Doom to destroy it.
“With dazzling effects and a great moral story, Part One of THE LORD OF THE RINGS is a must for fantasy fans, with a caution to parents of older children for strong sword-type violence and a brief occult element not in the book,” he said. “The creative way in which they latched onto the Christian themes in the book was really wonderful, however.
“As Tolkien once told his close friend, C. S. Lewis, 'The Christian story is the greatest story of them all—because it's the Real Story. The historical event that fulfills the tales and shows us what they mean.'”
Dr. Baehr also praised A BEAUTIFUL MIND. “Director Ron Howard did a wonderful job of taking a story that could have been very sordid and making it very redemptive.”
Baehr continued, “A BEAUTIFUL MIND tells the story of Dr. John Nash, diagnosed as a paranoid-schizophrenic, who goes on to win a Nobel Prize for his work on game theory. Masterfully directed and well acted, this movie compellingly portrays the ordeals every person must face in the dark valley of their personal despair to find God's purpose for their life.”
Dr. Baehr then spoke about the 10th Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, to be held Wednesday, March 20, 2002 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Bel Air, Calif. The gala event has been dubbed by the media as the “Christian Oscars” and is being held four days before the Academy Awards in Hollywood on March 24.
“We hold this event in order to commend the good in Hollywood; to praise the movies that have strong Christian content,” he said. “It is put on each year to help people in the movie and television industry be recognized for their work.
“I also give a report to Hollywood showing which movies do better at the box office. This year I will be saying that films with Christian content have done increasingly better over the years.”
Baehr added, “We have a tremendous influence in Hollywood through the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards and we also have the opportunity to present the Gospel to them in a very winsome and positive manner.
“Every year MOVIEGUIDE® honors those movies and television programs that are extraordinary in terms of family friendliness. We select films and TV shows that are exciting and also high in Christian redemptive values. This year we have a wonderful selection that fit these criteria.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Ted Baehr, author of THE MEDIA-WISE FAMILY and HOLLYWOOD'S REEL OF FORTUNE, is founder and chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission and publisher and editor-in-chief of MOVIEGUIDE®: A Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment. Now in its 17th year of publication, MOVIEGUIDE® is published every two weeks throughout the year (sometimes once a month) and is available by subscription at its toll-free line, 1-800-899-6684, or by writing to MOVIEGUIDE® at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 2510-G Las Posas Road, #502, Camarillo, CA 93010. Every year, MOVIEGUIDE® publishes a video guide to the previous year's movies. MOVIEGUIDE® also broadcasts weekly and daily programs on radio and television. MOVIEGUIDE®'s Web site can be found on the Internet at www.movieguide.org.
MOVIEGUIDE® and the Christian Film and Television Commission are non-profit organizations sponsored by Good News Communications, which is a non-profit organization registered with the IRS dedicated to redeeming the values of the entertainment media according to biblical principles by influencing industry executives and by equipping the public to be active, media-wise consumers. Donations to MOVIEGUIDE® and the Christian Film and Television Commission are tax deductible to the extent of the law.