Jesus Christ-George W. Bush missing link found?
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, was going to keep his job at the White House, Mel Gibson’s controversial Jesus Christ movie The Passion of the Christ, a sleeper hit ardently embraced by Evangelical Christians, would be a likely nominee for the Best Picture Academy Award.
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’ Iraq War, would likely be shortlisted.
Apparently, it has 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 right-wing Republicans and/or Fundamentalist Christians among Academy voters?
Perhaps those Hollywood “observers” believe there’s some kind of mystical link connecting John Kerry to Michael Moore, and/or – however freakish – W. to Jesus.
But then again, they may have a point. Here are a few examples:
- (Democrat) Franklin Delano Roosevelt is reelected for the third time in 1944 – and 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 crook Spiro Agnew, would be forced to resign, is elected in 1968 – and The Lion in Winter, about an aging king without an apparent heir, gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1969.
- Richard Nixon is reelected in 1972 – and The Godfather gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1973.
- Ronald Reagan is elected in 1980 – and The Elephant Man gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1981.
- Bill Clinton is elected in 1992 – and Scent of a Woman gets a Best Picture nomination in early 1993.
Yet with 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 better match than The Passion of the Christ on the 2005 Best Picture Oscar roster.
Anyhow, soon enough we’ll find out whether or not these mystical White House/Academy Award links will hold in the early 21st century.
Golden Globes: Jesus in, Bush out
In other Jesus Christ-George W. Bush news, Mel Gibson’s Jesus biopic The Passion of the Christ can officially be considered for the Golden Globes in all categories, except Best Picture – whether drama or comedy/musical – which are reserved for English-language films.
Featuring Jim Caviezel and Monica Bellucci, the dialogue in The Passion of the Christ is spoken in Aramaic and Latin.
As for Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, it will be totally bypassed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because it’s a nonfiction film. The genre is not “recognized” by the group.
IFC Films acquires U.S. rights to ‘Turtles Can Fly’
In other late 2004 film news, related neither to Jesus nor to W., IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights in all media to Bahman Ghobadi’s Iranian-Iraqi co-production Turtles Can Fly, winner of the Golden Shell at the 2004 San Sebastian Film Festival and reportedly one of the hottest-selling titles at this year’s American Film Market. Additionally, Turtles Can Fly has been submitted as the Iranian entry for the 2005 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
Set in a refugee camp near the border between Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdistan, Turtles Can Fly revolves around a group of children – including an expert at installing satellite dishes – right at the time of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The movie features Soran Ebrahim, Hiresh Feysal Rahman, Avaz Latif, Saddam Hossein Feysal, and other nonprofessional Kurdish “actors.”
The Kurdish-Iranian Ghobadi had previously directed two feature films: A Time for Drunken Horses (2000) and Marooned in Iraq (2002).
New Line Cinema, for its part, has acquired the film rights to Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, 2002) has been tapped to adapt the classic novel for the screen.
Annette Bening: Best Actress Oscar favorite?
All bets are on! Well, maybe only a few. In any case, according to the website readabet.com, Annette Bening – at 5/4 – is the odds-on favorite for the 2005 Best Actress Academy Award for her performance as an actressy actress in István Szabo’s period comedy Being Julia.
At 13/10, Imelda Staunton comes in second. Little known internationally, Staunton has suddenly become a major Best Actress Oscar contender following her tour de force in Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, in which she plays the cuddliest little abortionist of the 1950s.
Other top (potential) 2005 Best Actress Oscar contenders listed at readabet.com are:
- Laura Linney for Bill Condon’s Kinsey (Linney is actually a supporting player, but never mind).
- Julia Roberts for Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Twelve (!!).
- Gwyneth Paltrow for John Madden’s Proof.
So, Julia Roberts in Ocean’s Twelve? But hey, since Roberts did take home the 2000 Best Actress Oscar for Soderbergh’s ludicrous Erin Brockovich, anything’s possible.
Annette Bening has been nominated for two previous Academy Awards:
- Best Supporting Actress for Stephen Frears’ The Grifters (1990). She lost to Whoopi Goldberg for Jerry Zucker’s Ghost.
- Best Actress for Sam Mendes’ American Beauty (1999). She lost to Hilary Swank for Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry.
Cecil B. DeMille Award going to Robin Williams
Apart from a bit role in I. Robert Levy’s little-seen 1977 comedy Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses?, Williams’ first feature film appearance was as the titular character in Robert Altman’s 1980 critical and box office dud Popeye, opposite Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl.
And that means these days one can take home a small Cecil B. DeMille bust without having been around as a major film personality for even a quarter of a century.
Robin Williams’ Golden Globe wins were the following:
- Best Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy for Mork & Mindy (1978).
- Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Barry Levinson’s Good Morning Vietnam (1987).
- Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King (1991).
- A Special Golden Globe for his voice performance in the Walt Disney Studios’ hit Aladdin (1992).
- Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Chris Columbus’ Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).
In addition, Williams took home a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in Gus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting, a popular 1997 drama starring Matt Damon. At the Golden Globes, he lost to sentimental favorite Burt Reynolds for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights.
Williams, in fact, was a Golden Globe loser five other times: Mork & Mindy (1979, TV), the comedies Moscow on the Hudson (1984) and Patch Adams (1999), and the dramas Dead Poets Society (1989) and Awakenings (1990).
Oscar winner Patty Duke heart bypass surgery + Antarctica’s first movie theater
In other November 2004 news:
- Academy Award winner Patty Duke underwent heart bypass surgery on Nov. 3. The 57-year-old Duke took home the 1962 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work as Helen Keller, opposite Best Actress winner Anne Bancroft as Anne Sullivan, in Arthur Penn’s The Miracle Worker. Both Duke and Bancroft had previously co-starred in the stage version of the story.
- Hector Babenco’s 2003 Brazilian prison drama Carandiru will become a television series on Brazil’s Globo Network. Babenco’s HB Filmes will produce the first 10 episodes of the series, which is supposed to air in spring 2005. According to Variety, Carandiru was Brazil’s biggest domestic box office hit in 14 years.
- Pete Travis’ Omagh was voted Best Picture at the 2004 Irish Film Awards, held in Dublin. This retelling of the IRA’s bloodiest bombing attack stars Gerard McSorley, who was selected as the year’s Best Actor in an Irish Film. Also in the cast: Best Actress nominee Michèle Forbes, Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot, 1989), and Stuart Graham.
- French-born composer Michel Colombier, who scored more than 100 motion pictures and television productions, died on Nov. 14 in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County. Among the movies featuring Colombier’s music are Jean-Pierre Melville’s Dirty Money / Un Flic, Albert Magnoli’s Purple Rain, and Taylor Hackford’s Against All Odds and White Nights. Michel Colombier was 65.
- Argentina will open the first movie theater ever in Antarctica. The Argentine Cinema Institute and the country’s Foreign Ministry have signed a cooperation agreement to build a 50-seat movie house on the 25 de Mayo Island. The complex will be located in the vicinity of scientific bases from Argentina, Chile, South Korea, Poland, Russia, China, Uruguay, and Brazil. Showings will be restricted to Argentinian films, which have enjoyed a resurgence in the last few years. The Spanish-language movies will have English subtitles. Source: Pravda.
Golden Globes website.
Image of Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ: Newmarket Films.
Annette Bening Being Julia image: Sony Pictures Classics.
Patty Duke image via the Patty Duke Online Center for Mental Wellness website.
“Jesus Christ-George W. Bush Missing Link Found? + U.S. Elections & Best Picture Oscar Nominations Connection?” last updated in May 2019.