- Has that elusive link connecting Jesus Christ to U.S. President George W. Bush been finally found?
- Is there truly a connection between the American presidential election and the Best Picture Academy Award nominations?
According to a Philadelphia Inquirer report published shortly before the November 2004 U.S. presidential election (update: link no longer available), “Hollywood observers” maintained that if U.S. President George W. Bush, a Republican, were to succeed in keeping his job at the White House, then Mel Gibson’s controversial Jesus Christ movie The Passion of the Christ, a sleeper hit ardently embraced by (right-wing) Evangelical Christians, would be a likely Best Picture Academy Award nominee.
But if Democratic candidate John Kerry were to win, then Michael Moore’s equally controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which lambastes Bush and his supporters’ catastrophic Iraq War, would likely be shortlisted.
Apparently, it would have to be one or the other, even though it remains unclear how the election of a U.S. president would in any way affect the voting of the few thousand Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members who select each year’s five Best Picture contenders.
Something else: What exactly is the proportion of far-right Republicans and/or Fundamentalist Christians among Academy voters?
Mystical connection between U.S. presidential election & Best Picture Oscar nominations
Perhaps those “Hollywood observers” believe there’s some kind of esoteric link fastening John Kerry to Michael Moore and/or, however freakish, W. to Jesus.
But then again, they may have a point – at least when it comes to the connection between the U.S. presidential elections and the Best Picture Oscar roster.
Below are a few mysterious examples:
- Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is reelected for the third time in 1944 – and Henry King’s Wilson, an idealized biopic of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, gets a Best Picture Oscar nomination in early 1945.
- Richard Nixon, whose vice-president, the racist thug Spiro Agnew, would eventually be forced to resign, is elected in 1968 – and Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter, about an aging king without an heir apparent, gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1969.
- The soon-to-be-disgraced crook and authoritarian wannabe Richard Nixon is reelected in 1972 – and Francis Ford Coppola’s mob drama The Godfather gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1973.
- Folksy former entertainer Ronald Reagan (An Angel from Texas, Bedtime for Bonzo) is elected in 1980 – and Michael Apted’s biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, about folksy country singer Loretta Lynn, gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1981.
- Bill Clinton is elected in 1992 – and Martin Brest’s Scent of a Woman gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1993.
- Bill Clinton is reelected in 1996 – about two-and-a-half years before being impeached for lying about a sexual liaison with a White House intern – and Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1997.
Yet with Iraq War-co-orchestrator George W. Bush having just won the U.S. presidential election – he even managed to win the popular vote this time around – the disastrous puppet parody Team America: World Police would surely be a more fitting Best Picture Oscar match than The Passion of the Christ.
Anyhow, soon enough we’ll find out whether or not these uncanny Oval Office/Oscar links will hold in the early 21st century.
Update: They didn’t.
In other words, the mystical Jesus Christ-George W. Bush connection turned out to be a total dud.
Golden Globes: Jesus in, Bush out
In other Jesus Christ-George W. Bush news, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced that The Passion of the Christ can be considered for Golden Globes in all categories, except Best Picture – whether Drama or Comedy/Musical – which are reserved for English-language films.
Featuring Jim Caviezel as Jesus, Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene, and Maia Morgenstern as the Virgin Mary, The Passion of the Christ has dialogue in Aramaic and Latin.
As for Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, it has no chance at the Golden Globes because it’s a nonfiction film. The genre is not “recognized” by the HFPA.
“Jesus Christ & George W. Bush” endnotes
Image of Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ: Newmarket Films.
“Jesus Christ & George W. Bush: U.S. Elections & Oscar Nominations Mystery Link?” last updated in September 2021.