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Gibson Wins People's Choice Award for Favorite Film Drama
January 10, 2005

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Good news/bad news time.

The good news is that despite being snubbed by several critics and pre-Oscar award granters, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was the overwhelming winner at the Peoples Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Drama.

Gibson's film beat "The Bourne Supremacy," "Collateral," "Finding Neverland" and "Ray" by an unprecedented lopsided margin.

The presenter of the Favorite Movie Drama award was Rene Russo, one of Gibson's former co-stars. The acclaimed producer-actor-director received a standing ovation for his win.

Gibson told the audience that the award "means a lot more to me this time than anything before."

He added a reference to the fact the Hollywood establishment had refused to finance or distribute his film, saying, "When you circumvent the system, I depended on you and you were there. If it wasn't for you guys, we would have been dead in the water."

Unfortunately, Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" also beat out the competition, which included "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "The Incredibles," "Shrek 2" and "Spider-Man 2, snagging the People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie.

The presenter of the Favorite Movie award, believe it or not, was Martin Sheen. As he accepted Moore exclaimed, "I'll take this as an invitation to make more 'Fahrenheit 9/11s.'"

This year's 31st Awards ceremony included some new categories, among them being Favorite Movie Drama (won by Gibson) and Favorite Movie (won by Moore). Unfortunately, the Most Deceitful Documentary category, which "Fahrenheit 9/11" would have won hands-down, was not yet available.

Mel Gibson did not campaign, promote or advertise to garner any award. This stands in sharp contrast to the political P.R. machine of Michael Moore et al. In fact, Moore had even posted a letter on his Web site urging his followers to cast their votes for him.

Moore's letter, which as of this writing has curiously been pulled off his Web site, had stated: "The People's Choice Awards are considered, among all the awards shows, to be the one which most accurately reflects the 'mainstream' public opinion in the United States."

After touting the credibility of the awards Moore went in for the close. "OK, now, here's the best part: YOU get to vote! Online. Now. Just go to, click on the little circle next to 'Fahrenheit 9/11' in the 'Favorite Movie' category and press the 'vote' button."

For some additional motivation, Moore cited a group of leading Republicans who had taken out ads in USA Today and Daily Variety. Moore claimed the ads included "a not-so-subtle threat to the Academy Awards voters that, in essence, said don't even THINK about nominating 'Fahrenheit 9/11' for Best Picture."

He promised that if he were to win the People's Choice Awards he would give a "nice and polite speech."

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Copyright © 2005
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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