So "The Passion of the Christ" (search) was shut out of the major Oscar categories.
Should that surprise anyone? Hmm, let's think about this for a minute.
The entire film was audible in ancient Aramaic only, with subtitles. Does that make it a foreign language film? I can't think of any foreigner who speaks ancient Aramaic conversationally today. I am unaware of any "foreign language that doesn't exist anymore" category at the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
As far as Best Picture is concerned, the film — in its commercial form — hardly stands up to "Million Dollar Baby" or even "The Aviator," for that matter.
But staunch supporters of Mel Gibson's film are saying that Hollywood's liberal slant is what kept the box-office smash from Oscar contention.
That's a major Grrr! for me, and a bunch of baloney.
One of the problems we have whenever there is a hot-button topic like Jesus or abortion or guns is the incessant finger-pointing and division that are constantly promoted by groups that should be promoting inclusion, rather than polarization.
The Politicians do it. The Conservatives do it. The Liberals do it. The Religions do it. The Bloggers do it. The Ethnicities do it. Even the Film Critics do it.
Here we have it again — and the subject matter is the brutal, final 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ, where you'd think an Oscar would be the last thing on Christians' minds.
Do you really think Jesus gives a rat's behind whether or not an OK film that exploits his death to rake in a half-billion for already grotesquely wealthy human beings wins a Best Picture award?
I don't get it.
And what gets lost in all the brouhaha is that "The Passion of the Christ" — albeit a powerful, powerful story of one of the world's most famous figures — is just a movie.
And while the picture is extremely moving, it is also very disturbing. I forget the number of times I hid my eyes from the screen — that's how violent the film is. Where the same groups would deride such violence in most other films, they celebrate it in this one.
Many of the film's supporters tell me that's the point of the film — to remind us of what Jesus went through to save our souls. Well, maybe. But I already knew that. My whole life is based around that fact. No matter what one's spiritual beliefs, there are constant reminders in our society — in art, fashion, music, architecture, literature, war, on television and at the movies — of what Jesus is believed to have done for us.
I don't think for a minute that politics or ideology has anything to do with "Passion" being snubbed. In fact, the movie is nominated in the Cinematography, Score and Makeup categories, where the film shined the brightest.
Grrr! on making Jesus sport for finger-pointing and petty gold statues.
Seacrest Out ... Grrr!
My favorite time for reality television is the "American Idol" auditions. I love to see kids pouring their hearts out, putting their dreams on the line in front of millions of people.
The truth is, we want them to be good. We hope and pray that they're good. But for crying out loud, either some "Idol" wannabes are in it just for the laugh factor, or they are extremely delusional.
We all know our limitations.
Singing in front of millions of people when you can't sing has to be a joke. Who are some of these contestants? Where is their sense of pride?
And speaking of limitations, "AI" host Ryan Seacrest must have a great contract, because apparently any attempt by Simon Cowell or the show's producers to get him to stop his signature sign-off, "Seacrest Out," has fallen on deaf ears — or more likely his agents' ears.
I've started fast forwarding (DVR) through all of Seacrest's gratuitous on-camera bridges and go right to the judging and singing portions of the show.
"Seacrest out?" If you insist.
The Surreal Grrr! Life ...
I get a lot of e-mails from people asking if it's true that one minute I'm in a tux at some exclusive celebrity party, and the next on a commuter bus heading home. The answer is yes, and to be honest, hardly anything that looks glamorous on television is anywhere near remotely glamorous before it gets to air.
For instance, when Billy Crystal opened his Broadway show "700 Sundays," I got to hobnob a bit with the stars at famed NYC restaurant Tavern on the Green after the premiere. At one point I was standing in a crowd of bold-faced names like Robert De Niro, Joe Torre, Crystal and Barry Levinson.
Suddenly I came face to face with Crystal. I mean, it was almost comical how close we were to one another. He stopped and stared at me, and I wasn't sure if he was thinking "this is the guy who just interviewed me," or "this guy was in 'Analyze This' with me" or "who the hell is this guy and why is he here?"
Before I was able to muster anything resembling speech, he turned away and the moment was gone.
The point is, while yes, members of the press have access to the rich and famous, for most of us, that's about it. Mostly, we just stand around looking for someone we know, and that person usually ends up being the bartender. It's important to remember that even though we're in the same room with big names, that we are not one of them. I don't belong.
You know, there was a time in my life when I would run to the nearest phone to call my parents and say, "You'll never guess who I'm here with."
Nowadays I look at my watch and wonder when the next bus home to Mrs. Grrr! and baby Maxine is.
Stupid Lit'l Dreamers
As we near the end of football season and get ready for baseball, I nominate all non-steroid using ball players in Major League Baseball who have real skill, real heart and real integrity.
Here's hoping this coming season of baseball won't be tarnished, like most of its recent records are.
Tune in to "FOX Magazine" this week as we continue our series on Las Vegas. My piece on the new Cirque du Soleil show "Ka" runs.
I'm off to Jacksonville on assignment for the big game. Good thing there's no blackjack down there.
Now for Your Grrrs
Andy H. in Fla.: I work in downtown Jacksonville, the site of this weekend's Super Bowl. My office is right next to the "NFL Experience." Much has been done to accommodate the folks coming to enjoy the sites and sounds of a rare event. Fair enough. Come to our city, enjoy our Southern hospitality, spend lots of cash, have a safe trip home. However, the road in front of our building has needed repair for 10 years -- 10 YEARS! Two weeks ago, it was beautifully repaved in a single day. GRRRRR!
Until next week ... Grrr!
Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter on "FOX Magazine," and as a news cut-ins anchor on FOX News Channel. Mike also appeared in Analyze This. Read Mike's Bio.