WASHINGTON (March 10, 1998) -- Film buffs of all ages can cast their own vote for "best picture" in the days before Oscar night, March 23, by calling 1-800-311-4CCC, the toll-free movie review line sponsored by the U.S. Bishops' Catholic Communications Campaign.
Callers can select from the five nominees in contention for the Motion Picture Academy's "Best Picture" Oscar or can nominate some other movie that the Motion Picture Academy overlooked.
"The poll gives people a chance to make their voices heard someplace beyond the water cooler," said Patricia Ryan Garcia, who supervises the movie review line.
Callers can vote through March 20. Results will be announced on the toll free line March 27.
"We're curious to know what people who use our line think about the types of films that Hollywood is releasing these days," Ms. Garcia said. ''We're giving them a chance to voice their opinion of the Academy Awards selections and to suggest some alternatives to the five best picture nominees.''
The U.S. Bishops launched the movie review line in 1996. It gives filmgoers an alternative source of information on the content and age suitability of films. Each week the line provides capsule reviews and classifications from the U.S. Catholic Conference Office of Film and Broadcasting for six films in current release. It is updated every Friday.
Of the 269 films reviewed by the U.S. Catholic Conference last year, only eight received the USCC's A-I classification denoting movies that are suitable viewing for all ages, while 45 were classified as morally objectionable for all ("O").
"These statistics indicate that movies are fast becoming an "adults only" form of entertainment," said Ms. Garcia.
"Both the U.S. Bishops and the Motion Picture Association of America found that only three percent of the movies released in 1997 were suitable for the entire family," Ms. Garcia said. "More than half the films released were suitable only for adults. Meanwhile teenagers and even younger boys and girls lined up by the millions to see movies that were inappropriate for their age. Hollywood owes it to the nation to provide movies the whole family can see. The Motion Picture Academy ought to urge its members to show more responsibility."