Oscars Snub Fahrenheit 9/11 and Passion of the Christ

‘Aviator’ Gets 11 Academy Award Nods (AP)

The Howard Hughes epic “The Aviator” led Academy Awards contenders with 11 nominations Tuesday, including best picture, plus acting honors for Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and Alan Alda and a directing slot for Martin Scorsese. The boxing saga “Million Dollar Baby” and the J.M. Barrie tale “Finding Neverland” followed with seven nominations each, among them best picture and acting nominations for Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and Johnny Depp. Eastwood also got a directing nomination for “Million Dollar Baby.” The other best-picture nominees were the Ray Charles portrait “Ray” and the buddy comedy “Sideways.”


Mel Gibson’s religious blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ” missed out on main categories, but did pick up nominations for cinematography, makeup and original score.

Michael Moore’s gamble to hold his hit film “Fahrenheit 9/11” out of the documentary category – to boost its best-picture prospects – backfired. The movie was shut out across the board. Moore won the documentary prize two years ago for “Bowling for Columbine.”

“The Aviator” is the only one of the films that I’ve seen, although I plan to watch “Million Dollar Baby,” “Ray,” and “Sideways” on DVD at some point. “Aviator” was a superb film that, as expected, did well with the Academy.

It’s interesting that neither of the year’s two most controversial films, “Passion” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” got nominated in a significant category. Given their impact on the public discourse, and the apparent consensus that both films were well made despite objections (political and otherwise) to them, it’s a bit surprising.

(via Kevin Aylward)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    Not surprising. Think about the content: a president hollywood hates, a messiah figure half of hollywood doesn’t believe in, versus … A larger-than-life HOllywood type swashbuckling hero from the heyday of film.

    The question should be why WOULDN’T they go for the Aviator over either Passion or Fahrenheit?

  2. McGehee says:

    Of course, Hughes and Hollywood didn’t get along very well when he was alive…

  3. Kappiy says:

    I am not surprised about the lack of nominations of “Farenheit 9/11” or “Passion.” Farenheit was basically a poor propaganda film and probably Moore’s worst work.

    “Passion” was a simplistic bloodfest along the lines of B-grade horror movies. He did very little to the story–nothing to compare with Pasolini’s treatment in “Il Vangelo secondo Matteo” (1964).

    I was surprised that Jehane Noujaim’s “Control Room” didn’t get a best documentary nomination.

  4. Lt. says:

    I am surprised (Kappiy) that you did not mention “passion”
    as your” basic poor propaganda film”. Was not teh political intent the motive behind both films? And- whatever happened to the film about Reagan?

  5. McGehee says:

    And- whatever happened to the film about Reagan?

    They don’t give Oscars to TV-movies.

  6. Kappiy says:


    I would normally associate propaganda with espousing a particular doctrine. After seeing Gibson’s film, I am not sure what the political message is.

    I would say that “Passion” even failed as a propaganda film if you think of the latin origin of the word (propagating the faith) since there was no discussion of theology. It was basically a “period-piece horror film.”

  7. Lt. says:

    I see,