BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The Sandra Bullock surprise blockbuster movie “The Blind Side” from Warner Bros. Pictures won the top prize at Movieguide’s 2010 sold-out annual dinner and awards gala last night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The award to the unabashedly Christian adaptation of Michael Lewis’s bestselling book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” provides new cause for alarm for some cultural commentators such as a Times of London reviewer who was concerned about the “eerie synchronicity between ‘hockey mom’ (Sarah) Palin’s sway over huge segments of middle America, and the remarkable success of ‘The Blind Side.'”

The film tells the story of real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy, a wealthy supermom who, through her Christian faith, saves a homeless black teenager from an almost certain life of drugs and despair and challenges him to become a star football player.

The film’s touting of the power of evangelical Christian beliefs has once again upended Hollywood conventional wisdom that sex, violence and spectacular special effects are what sells in today’s big-budget American cinema, said Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide and chairman of the Christian Film &
Television Commission

Baehr noted the film, grossing nearly $250 million since the end of November, is a runaway smash hit certain to return more than tenfold the $35 million it cost to produce.

“In the midst of a rash of vile releases such as “Antichrist” and “Brüno,” the number of movies with Christian faith and values grew and did better than ever at the box office in 2009,” Baehr told WND, pointing to a steady stream of large and small movies that honored faith, values and Jesus Christ, including “The Blind Side,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Knowing,” “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” “The Young Victoria,” “Hannah Montana the Movie” and “Astro Boy.”

In a 2010 annual survey of the entertainment industry presented to the awards ceremony, Baehr documented that of the top 10 movies last year, 80 percent had strong biblical or Christian content, only 20 percent had explicit sexual content, 20 percent had explicit nudity, 10 percent were X-rated, and none had strong anti-American content.

“Hollywood cannot afford to ignore the 2 billion Christians around the world, including the 234 million self-described Christians in America and the 188 million Americans, including children and teenagers, who go to church in a typical week,” Baehr pointed out.

“Sex, violence, vulgarity and immorality do not really sell as well as many people think and as the news media often reports,” Baehr said. “Industry statistics prove moviegoers prefer very positive Christian movies with morally uplifting content.”

Winning the top award for television at the Movieguide gala was “Gifted Hands, The Ben Carson Story,” telecast by TNT and the Turner Entertainment Group. The production is another true-life story of a disadvantaged youth who was inspired by the unshakable Christian faith of his mother to overcome problems as a young child and arise to become a world-renowned surgeon.

Actress Kimberly Elise also won a Movieguide Grace Award for portraying Ben Carson’s mother in “Gifted Hands.”

“If Hollywood executives and filmmakers want to make more money at the box office, they should make more entertaining movies that reflect a very strong Christian worldview with very strong moral values that appeal to the vast majority of the American public who believe in God and honor Jesus Christ,” Baehr stressed.

Each year around Oscar time, Movieguide hosts its annual awards show in Beverly Hills, recognizing the best family-friendly movies and TV shows of the previous year.

Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, Movieguide awarded $100,000 Epiphany Prizes to “The Blind Side” and “Gifted Hands” plus $50,000 in Kairos Prizes for spiritually uplifting screenplays by beginning screenwriters.

Every two weeks, Movieguide releases 10 or more reviews of current movies, gearing the ratings to parents, while providing information for Christian adults.

The magazine and Internet versions of Movieguide include news from the entertainment industry along with articles and news on current movies.

Baehr is the author of many books, including “So You Want To Be in Pictures,” soon to be republished in a new edition by WND Books.

Movieguide’s annual statistics are based on box office numbers from Nielsen EDI.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.