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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Joni Eareckson Tada sings Oscar® banned song, ‘Alone Yet Not Alone,’ at the ‘Christian Oscars’ and receives a standing ovation from star-studded Hollywood audience
The courageous quadriplegic tells them, ‘God’s power always shows up best in weakness’

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- The atmosphere was electric on Friday night (February 7, 2014) at 22nd Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards Gala at the Universal Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles, California, when quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada was wheeled on stage and prepared to sing “Alone Yet Not Alone,” the song that was banned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Joni Eareckson Tada (with husband Ken looking on) prays before she records the song

In an unprecedented move, the Academy had rescinded its Oscar nomination for “Best Original Song,” which appeared in the inspirational American colonial epic, “Alone Yet Not Alone,” when it discovered that the composer, Bruce Broughton, had sent a short email bringing the song to the attention of Oscar voters.

Commenting on Broughton’s action, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one's position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one's own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage.”

A “devastated” Broughton told Variety, “I indulged in the simplest, lamest, grass-roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention.

“I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it.”

On hearing the news, the organizers of the 22nd Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards Gala, also known as the “Christian Oscars,” stepped in and invited Tada, who became paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident as a teenager, and has been leading her own organization (Joni and Friends) since 1979, stepped in and invited her to perform the banned song at their event which each year honors the best in Hollywood entertainment with a series of awards.

Joni on the Red Carpet with the writers of the song
(Photo: ContactMusic.com)

There was complete silence as 64-year-old Joni began singing the beautiful song that she had been tipped to perform at the Oscars on March 2, in Hollywood. By the time she had finished, there was hardly a dry eye in the room.

She was given a standing ovation, and among those cheering her one were the composers of the song, music writer Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel. Joni also gave the final prayer. On the Oscar controversy and her perseverance and blessings she’s had despite her handicap, she said, “God’s power always shows up best in weakness.”

Another much-loved lady, Roma Downey, who starred for many years in “TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL,” gave a heartfelt speech for accepting with her husband, Mark Burnett, the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for TV with THE BIBLE, and for her winning the Grace Award for Most Inspiring Female Performance in Television.

“All glory to God,” Roma said while accepting the Epiphany. “This has been quite a journey for us, for my husband and I, as a married couple. We were very encouraged all last year.”

Mark Burnett, Dan Wooding and Roma Downey, after Dan's recent interview with them

London-born Mark noted that it was “amazing” that it was the Hearst Corporation that first gave them any money to make THE BIBLE, especially as it was William Randolph Hearst who helped to make Billy Graham a household name in the United States when Mr. Graham was preaching at his historic 1949 Los Angeles Crusade, and Hearst issued the edict, “Puff Graham,” which requested his media reporters to promote Billy Graham.

In winning the $50,000 Friess Free Enterprise Prize for ABC’s SHARK TANK, Mark, the producer, noted that the show is a family show and they get letters from many people who say they watch the show with their family and talk to their children about starting a business.

Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie, gave heartfelt speeches for winning the Faith & freedom Television Award for the “Till Duck Do Us Part” episode of DUCK DYNASTY.

Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie

“We’re so honored we are here,” Korie said. “You get to vote on what kind of entertainment you want to see,” she told the audience.

“We’re so honored, and we want to thank the Lord,” Willie added. “I’m thankful I get to work with my family every day.”

The event also featured performances by Billy Ray Cyrus, Richie Sambora, AJ Michalka and Jacob Latimore.

A lifetime achievement award went to “JESUS” producer John Heyman (father of “GRAVITY” producer David Heyman).

The MOVIEGUIDE® Awards, the only family-centric awards show in Hollywood, nominates movies and television shows which most exhibit values that will attract family and faith audiences, and here are this year’s results:

Winners and Nominees

$100,000 EPIPHANY PRIZE FOR MOST INSPIRING MOVIE OF 2013

Winner: GRACE UNPLUGGED

2 - BLACK NATIVITY
3 - 42
4 - MAN OF STEEL
5 - THE TOWER

Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

$100,000 EPIPHANY PRIZE FOR MOST INSPIRING TELEVISION PROGRAM OF 2013

Winner: THE BIBLE

2 - LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School
3 - THE CROSS
4 - DUCK DYNASTY: TILL DUCK DO US PART
5 - BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood

Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

10 BEST MOVIES FOR FAMILIES

WINNER: #1 -FROZEN (2013)

2 - DESPICABLE ME 2
3 - THE CROODS
4 - TURBO
5 - GRACE UNPLUGGED
6 - MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
7 - BLACK NATIVITY
8 - OZ, THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
9 - CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2
10 - LINSANITY

10 BEST MOVIES FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

WINNER: #1 - IRON MAN 3

2 - 42
3 - THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
4 - THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
5 - GRAVITY
6 - MAN OF STEEL
7 - THOR: THE DARK WORLD
8 - CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
9 - JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
10 - THE TOWER

FAITH & FREEDOM AWARD MOVIES

WINNER: #1 - IRON MAN 3

2 - 42
3 - THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
4 - THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
5 - TURBO
6 - MAN OF STEEL

FAITH & FREEDOM AWARD TELEVISION

WINNER: #1 - DUCK DYNASTY: TILL DUCK DO US PART

2 - LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School
3 - CHRISTMAS IN CONWAY
4 - REMEMBER SUNDAY
5 - BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood
6 - SECRET MILLIONAIRE: George & Kym Rapier: Oakridge, Oregon

$50,000 FRIESS FOUNDATION FREE ENTERPRISE PRIZE

WINNER: SHARK TANK: Episode 4.20

2 - TURBO
3 - LAST MAN STANDING: Shoveling Snow
4 - MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
5 - CHRISTMAS IN CONWAY
6 - REMEMBER SUNDAY
7 - THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
8 - SECRET MILLIONAIRE: George & Kym Rapier: Oakridge, Oregon

Supported by a grant from the Friess Family Foundation.

GRACE AWARD MOVIES

Actress - 1 - AJ Michalka - GRACE UNPLUGGED
Actor - 1 - James Denton - GRACE UNPLUGGED

3 - Forest Whittaker - BLACK NATIVITY
4 - Harrison Ford - 42
5 - Sandra Bullock - GRAVITY
6 - Russell Crowe - MAN OF STEEL
7 - Henry Cavill - MAN OF STEEL

GRACE AWARD TELEVISION

Actress - 1 - Roma Downey - THE BIBLE
Actor - 1 - Willie Robertson - LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School

2 - Diogo Morgado - THE BIBLE
3 - Tim Allen - LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School
4 - Billy Graham - THE CROSS
5 - Len Cariou - BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood
6 - Tom Selleck - BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood

Dr. Ted Baehr giving his annual report
(Photo: ContactMusic.com)

A highlight of the event was when Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®, gave his much awaited 2014 MOVIEGUIDE® Report to the Entertainment Industry, which had as its title, “The Good, the True, and the Beautiful.”

He said that for the 22nd year in a row, his report "showed clearly" that moviegoers prefer clean, family-friendly movies with Christian faith and values.

“This was abundantly true in 2013,” said Dr. Baehr. “For the first time ever, 90% of the Top 10 Movies in the United States and overseas were MOVIEGUIDE® Award winners, from IRON MAN 2 and DESPICABLE ME 2 to FROZEN, GRAVITY, and MAN OF STEEL. Also, two-thirds of the Top 10, 60 percent, had overt references to Jesus Christ.”

He said that, consequently, movies with very strong Christian, redemptive worldviews averaged $87.07 million at the domestic box office in 2012, but movies with very strong Non-Christian worldviews averaged only $21.64 million.

“In fact, movies with humanist/atheist worldviews did the worst, averaging only $3.66 million,” he went on to say.

He explained also that MOVIEGUIDE® analyzes movies according to “basic biblical principles and theology.”

Author of THE CULTURE-WISE FAMILY and HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL), Dr. Baehr is chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® (CFTVC) ministry and publisher of its family guide to movies, MOVIEGUIDE® (www.MOVIEGUIDE.com). CFTVC and MOVIEGUIDE® are an international non-profit ministry dedicated to “redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and by informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media.”

For more information, visit www.MOVIEGUIDE.org or call 1-888-248-6689.

For an interview with Dr. Ted Baehr, please contact Tahlia at 1-888-248-6689 or tahlia.m@MOVIEGUIDE.org.

Note: I would like to thank Tom Snyder, Editor/Senior Producer, MOVIEGUIDE®, for his invaluable help in writing this report.


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Dan Wooding, 73, is an award-winning journalist who who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 50 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is a novel about the life of Jesus through the eyes of his mother called "Mary: My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary". (Click to order)

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