A group that collected signatures on a petition urging the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to consider Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” for an Oscar nomination delivered 25,000 names to the organization today.

According to a statement from the group Passion for Fairness, the signatures come from movie fans from all 50 states – “blue and red.”

After Gibson announced he would not campaign for an Oscar, Patrick Hynes started a web-based petition drive to generate grass-roots support for the film.

The petition reads:

To the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

It has come to my attention that you and your Board of Governors is considering ignoring the important film “The Passion of The Christ,” its director and its actors when you hand out nominations on Jan.25. This would be an unspeakable insult to the millions of us mainstream Americans who believe this is the most important film in years, decades even.

I urge you to give fair consideration to the film and its principals when you determine and announce the nominees for this year’s Oscars.

Do so, and Hollywood might actually win back some of its lost credibility with mainstream Americans like me. Ignore us, and we will continue to turn our backs on your anti-Christian, anti-Middle-American products.

Hynes reported a surge in support for his petition after “The Passion” won Best Drama at the People’s Choice Awards Sunday.

“Folks thought the chips were stacked against Mel Gibson and ‘The Passion,'” he said. “But when the film won the People’s Choice Award, it really gave folks some hope. We honestly believe now that the picture, its director and its marvelous actors and actresses have a strong chance to earn well-deserved nominations in their respective categories.”

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