Local Vibes
November 12, 2004
Fahrenheit 9/11, ‘The Passion’ out of Golden Globes

LOS ANGELES – There will be one sure bet when awards seasons rolls around: neither of the year’s most controversial films will walk away with the top prize at the Golden Globes.

That’s because both Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ are ineligible for the best-drama award.{{more}}

Moore cannot enter his film – which has been criticized by some for taking U.S. President George W. Bush to task for his handling of the Sept. 11 attacks – since the Golden Globes do not have a category for documentaries.

Gibson’s film, which was criticized by some for being anti-Semitic and too violent, cannot compete because only movies that are in English are eligible for the dramatic-picture trophy.

The dialogue in The Passion is in Aramaic and Latin, with English subtitles.

The Passion will, however, be considered in the category set aside for foreign-language films – even though Gibson is an American and both Aramaic and Latin are dead languages not spoken by any country.

The Golden Globes, which recognize excellence in film and television with a multitude of categories, are given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Despite the fact that the HFPA has fewer than 100 members, the Golden Globes are often considered a predictor of which films will win Academy Awards.

Lawrie Masterson, the chairman of the HFPA’s board of directors, said the exclusion of Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion is a shame, but the organization cannot change its rules at this stage.

Moore’s film took the top prize at this year’s Cannes film festival, the Palme d’Or.

The filmmaker has submitted it for Oscar consideration in the best-picture category, eschewing a bid to take the documentary Oscar.