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A Religious Ephiphany in Hollywood: ‘The Passion' Named Most Inspirational Movie of 2004 – LOS ANGELES – The winners for the prestigious $50,000 John Templeton Foundation Epiphany Prizes for Inspiring Movies & TV were announced recently at the 13th Annual Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards Gala in Beverly Hills, with Dr. John Templeton, Jr., presenting The Passion of the Christ with the $50,000 Epiphany Prize for the most inspirational movie of 2004.

“Every year, there is one movie that stands out from others for powerfully impressing audiences with a clearer perspective of God,” Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission said, as he addressed the idea of the Epiphany Prize, which he conceived along with Sir John Templeton. Dr. John Templeton, Jr., assisted Dr. Baehr in awarding the prizes this year.

Jim Caviezel at the 13th Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards GalaActor Jim Caviezel was on hand to accept the award, and in his remarks, spoke to the idea of freedom. “Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom exists not to do what you like, but so you have the right to do what you ought,” he said. “It’s going to get hard and you’re going to want to work for the other team, but don’t; just hang in there.”

The $50,000 Epiphany Prize for the most inspirational television program of 2004 was awarded to Doc: “Happy Trails.” Writer/producer David Alan Johnson said this recognition was a fitting end to the series, which ends with this, its fifth season. “At some point in our lives, goodness went out of style,” Johnson added. “We’re happy to do shows where goodness is cool again.”

Rounding out the nominees for the film category were America's Heart and Soul, Louis Schwartzberg’s collection of stories featuring the real people who make America what it is; I am David, based on the book North to Freedom by Anne Holm and featuring Jim Caviezel in a secondary role; Ladder 49, the fire/rescue drama starring John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix; and The Reckoning, featuring Paul Bettany and based on novelist Barry Unsworth's Morality Play.

Other television shows nominated for the prize included A Christmas Carol, made into a musical starring Kelsey Grammar and brought to the small screen by NBC and Hallmark; Love's Enduring Promise, a Hallmark original movie based on the novel by Janette Oke; Patrick, the story of Saint Patrick, narrated by Liam Neeson; The Question of God, a documentary debate between the perspectives of C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud; and Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, a Fox made-for-TV movie starring Jamie Foxx as the reformed gang leader.

Each year at Oscar time, the Templeton Foundation bestows Epiphany Awards to films and television programs that are both well-crafted and have redeeming, spiritual content that, above all, help increase man’s understanding and love of God. With a prize of $50,000 in each category, the Epiphany Award is designed to encourage producers to create more movies and television that have a positive and values-based message. This is the ninth year the prizes have been awarded. Previously, they have been valued at $25,000, but this year were increased to $50,000.

Other awards given at the gala included the Grace prize for inspired acting in a film or television program. These awards went to Jim Caviezel in the film category, and to Jamie Foxx for his portrayal of Stan Tookie Williams in Redemption.

The “Teddy Bear” awards for the top ten family films of the year went to:
1. The Incredibles
2. Miracle
3. Shrek 2
4. A Cinderella Story
5. Two Brothers
6. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton
7. America's Heart and Soul
8. The Polar Express
9. I Am David
10. Princell Diaries 2

Top ten films for mature audiences included:
1. Spider-Man 2
2. The Terminal
3. The Passion of the Christ
4. Collateral
5. Hotel Rwanda
6. Raising Helen
7. Ladder 49
8. The Reckoning
9. Rosenstrasse
10. The Ladykillers

Courtesy of A. Larry Ross Communications

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