Watching celebrities stroll the red carpet in all their glitz and glamor may be fun, but it sure isn’t family friendly these days.
This year, the Grammy Awards featured America’s top musicians but also included an overtly sexual performance by Beyonce and a mass, same-sex wedding. The Academy Awards, meanwhile, are scheduled to honor some of America’s best motion pictures but will also heap praise on sex- and obscenity-laden films like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “American Hustle.”
There is, however, an alternative: A David of an awards show taking on the Goliaths of Hollywood in an effort to transform both the entertainment industry and the culture for the better.
The program airs at 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific and features all the red carpet glamor, but none of the bawdy performances of the Grammys, Oscars and other awards shows. And instead of golden statues given to films that corrupt America’s character, the Movieguide Awards will grant a crystal “Teddy” – named after Movieguide founder Ted Baehr – to films and television programs that affirm faith and values and tell the kind of positive, redemptive stories America’s movie audiences predominately prefer.
“This year’s star-studded Gala is hosted by actor-comedian Bill Engvall,” Baehr told WND, “with appearances by, among others, ‘Duck Dynasty’ stars Korie and Willie Robertson, ‘The Bible’s’ Roma Downey and Mark Burnett and emotional performances by Billy Ray Cyrus and Joni Eareckson Tada, who exclusively performs for us the Oscar-nominated yet disqualified song, ‘Alone Yet Not Alone.'”
One look at the lists of nominees reveals the stark contrast between films that win an Oscar and those that win a "Teddy." Among the nine nominees for the top Oscar are six R-rated films, including "American Hustle," "Her" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," which may have set a record for foul language with at least 506 F-bombs and over 100 other obscenities in its 180 minutes.
The Movieguide Awards, meanwhile, includes among its nominees movies like "Frozen," "Black Nativity," "Grace Unplugged" and "42" instead (to be fair, the films "Gravity" and "Captain Phillips" made both the Oscars and the Movieguide lists), while also honoring television programs like "The Bible," "Duck Dynasty" and "Christmas in Conway."
Earlier this month WND attended the Movieguide Awards ceremony in Universal City, Calif., and spoke to the red carpet crowd about what else makes the Movieguide awards different from the Oscars.
"It's an award ceremony that celebrates the experience of making films that are trying to make a cultural difference," said actor Corbin Bernsen of "L.A. Law" and "Psych" fame, one of the presenters at the ceremony. "I simply hope that I can be a part of a community that says, 'There is a flipside of humanity that we don't see every day. There's pain and sorrow and suffering, and there's wrong and there's darkness, but at the same time there is light and there is hope and there is love and there is compassion.'"
The award-winning actress, singer and star of "Grace Unplugged," A.J. Michalka, said that whether they know it or not, "audiences are yearning for something that is deeper than just entertainment in that moment and then leaving the theater and not really feeling anything when they leave."
"I think people yearn for something that is going to teach them and help them grow in life – not just entertainment, but something that makes them think afterward, maybe start up a conversation that they might not have had," she said. "And that's what movies like 'Grace Unplugged' are doing."
Roma Downey, the actress who played the angel Monica on "Touched by an Angel" and co-produced the blockbuster TV miniseries "The Bible," told WND she was honored to be nominated for Movieguide's Grace Award, given to the actor who delivered "the best, most inspiring performance expressing God's grace and love toward us as human beings" – for her role as Mary, the mother of Christ, in "The Bible."
"I just love the name of [the Grace Award]," Downey said. "I have tried to channel grace in my life, and I have been fortunate to be a messenger on 'Touched by an Angel' for 10 years, playing an angel and delivering a message of God's love; and it was that same message we wanted to communicate in 'The Bible' series and now with our feature film, 'Son of God.'"
And unlike the Academy Awards, which shockingly yanked its nomination of the faith-themed song "Alone Yet Not Alone" after furious complaints from Hollywood, the Movieguide Awards gave the powerful hymn top billing with a live performance by Joni Eareckson Tada.
Organizers said while "Oscar" may not want the song, viewers of the upcoming telecast of the Movieguide Awards will see the original artist performing it.
Eareckson Tada told WND she's seen the hand of God work within the controversy, and like the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, what could have been meant for evil may really be turned to good.
"The song was never meant to win awards, but to communicate a message of God's faithfulness and love," she told WND at the Movieguide Awards. "And now because of the decision, more people have heard about 'Alone Yet Not Alone' than may have heard otherwise, so the message is reaching out to more and more people."
Watch Eareckson Tada's performance, as well as performances by A.J. Michalka, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jacob Latimore, Richie Sambora and more during the Movieguide Awards on Saturday, March 1, at 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific, exclusively on the REELZChannel.