Barbara Nicolosi is Executive Director of Act One: Writing for Hollywood, a screenwriting program informed by Christian concerns. The following is excerpted from her blog, Church of the Masses, with permission.

The Oscar noms are out, affirming once again just how very, very sick America's storytellers have become. Many people are dismissive of the culture's storytellers, but that is short-sighted. A country with sick storytellers dreams sick dreams, or doesn't dream at all. Both are societal suicide.

When Jesus healed, some people called Him a demon. Jesus then noted that, "All sins will be forgiven men, except the sin against the Holy Spirit." The sin against the Holy Spirit is seeing something that is good, something that God reveals to your inner being as good, and then calling it evil. In the same way, we could argue that it is a sin against the Holy Spirit to see something that is evil, and call it good.

So, this year, the top Oscar nominations have gone to...

...a movie that makes a hero out of a man who murders his adopted daughter.

...a movie that makes a hero out of an abortionist.

...a movie that makes a hero out of a discredited researcher who was obsessed with sex and encouraged many others to experiment with various perversions.

...a movie that lionizes a billionaire narcissist who slept with scores of women--including at least one 15-year-old--and died an insane syphilitic.

...a movie that suggests it is funny when an engaged man sets off with his drunkard best friend for a week of debauchery before his marriage.

...a movie that glamorizes four alley cats dressed as beautiful people who fornicate and commit adultery with each other, and indulge in various sexual perversions until the movie ends.

...a movie that makes a hero out of a paraplegic in despair who wants to kill himself.

The truth is, secular Hollywood had next to nuthin' this year. Really. Except for Finding Neverland and the kids movie Incredibles, they got nuthin' this year to give an award to. Nuthin' that people will be watching in five years, nevermind in fifty. I remember thinking several times during the year, as several highly anticipated films turned out to be dreadful (i.e. Alamo, Alexander, Troy, Sky Captain), "Wow, God. Your movie was already a global and cinematic phenomenon-do You really have to decimate all the competition too?!"

To my fellow Christian critics who have spent the year straining out gnats and swallowing camels, I have to say that sometimes we can be so abstruse that it makes us obtuse. I think this comes as a reaction against the knee-jerk condemnation of pop-culture that is so wrong in much of the Christian community. As a result, lots of us who love movies end up minimizing the obvious distortion in a project and focus on its subtle strengths. But the fact remains, if a good man would turn his face in disgust and shame from what is on the screen, that should inform our own discernment about a movie. We can get so caught up in technique, that we are essentially gobbling down well-prepared sewage. "Stunningly arranged!" "Daringly conceived!" "Strikingly performed!"-it's still just poisonous filth.

What makes this year's nominations even darker is the fact that there was one big cinematic elephant that, as we all predicted, was passed over for all the top awards. This movie was...

...the biggest independent movie in cinema history.

...the third biggest box-office movie of the year.

...a movie that moved millions of people to tears, had the entire world talking, and even led several murderers to turn themselves in!

...the most courageous directoral achievement since Citizen Kane.

...which just happened to be the story of the redemption of the world by the Son of God. Too bad.

Call it the revenge of the blue states. It is a foolhardy thing to look the global audience in the eye and spit...never mind doing it at a self-glorifying orgy!

I do not think it is a sin against the Holy Spirit to not like The Passion of the Christ. My use of the scripture text is to point to the industry throwing accolades at films that are essential depraved in their themes. In some cases-generally acting-these films are remarkable. But we can't let the excellence in craft obscure the fact that the hearts of these projects are 'rotten and full of dead men's bones.'

If I had the time-and maybe I will find it-I could demonstrate that the films up for the most Oscars this year are not stellar examples of craft. In several cases, the films are sub-standard--which is pretty much why I posted this in the first place. Why, oh why, would the Academy want to give awards to mediocre films? The same reason so many folks voted for John Kerry. Anybody but Bush-Any film but the one about Jesus!

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