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    Robert Duvall wins ‘Grace Prize’ at Movieguide awards

    ‘Amistad’ wins prize for best film and ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ wins for TV program

    Oscar-nominated actor Robert Duvall won the “Grace Prize” sponsored by Morgan H. Grace, Jr., for his role in “The Apostle” at the sixth annual, star-studded Movieguide awards banquet on March 18 in Universal City – and then revealed why he made the film about a Pentecostal preacher from the South.

    Movieguide is the bi-weekly, highly respected movie guide known for its comprehensive family-oriented film and television reviews and commentaries,

    After receiving the “Grace Prize” from last year’s winner, “7th Heaven” star Stephen Collins, Duvall said of the film, ” I tried to do the best I could, with my own knowledge of the Bible. I had hoped, and I think it has been in evidence thus far, that the film would reach the secular and the religious community… and it has been a strange type of crossover film, and for that I am very grateful.”

    Duvall went on to say that when he was making the film, he wanted it to be “an expression of grace.” He added, “I want to thank you for this award because we tried hard to show that there was a power higher than ourselves.”

    The Grace Prize is presented annually “to the one actor who, through his or her performance, best exemplifies God’s grace and mercy towards us as human beings.’

    “Amistad” won the $25,000 Epiphany Prize for film, sponsored by Sir John Templeton and Amistad’s star, Razaaq Adoti, had come over from London to accept the award on behalf of the film.

    CBS Network’s “Walker, Texas Ranger” won the $25,000 Epiphany Prize for TV. Aaron Norris accepted the award on behalf of the show.

    “The purpose of the Epiphany Prizes is to encourage the production of feature films and television programs which are uplifting, inspirational and acknowledging of God, His love, His mercy and His grace,” said Templeton. “We hope that by honoring these movies and television programs, millions of people will be uplifted and inspired to be enthusiastic about the further study and worship of God.”

    The Swiss America Award for Eternal Values was given to Showtime’s “Rescuers: Stories of Courage -Two Women.” This was the “Mamusha” and “Woman on a Bicycle” episode, produced by Barbra Streisand and Cis Corman. The Swiss America Faith and Values Award went to the WB-TV Network’s “7th Heaven” series for the “I Hate You,” episode. Craig Smith, president of the Swiss America Trading Corporation, presented the awards. They are given to two TV shows that demonstrate God’s people loving their neighbors and that teach biblical principles for families.

    Master of Ceremonies Wink Martindale announced that the winners of the “Teddy Bear Awards” for films for families and children, were: “Air Bud,” starring Kevin Segers; “Anastasia,” starring the voices of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer and Christopher Lloyd; “Cats Don’t Dance,” starring the voices of Scott Bakula, Jasmine Guy, Natalie Cole and George Kennedy; “Flubber” which stars Robin Williams.

    The Movieguide judges also gave a vote of confidence to “Mr. Magoo,” starring Leslie Nielsen as well as to “Leave It To Beaver,” starring Cameron Finley and Christopher McDonald. Adventure and historical films were also given awards. They were: “Wild America,” starring Jonathan Taylor; “Jungle 2 Jungle,” staring Tim Allen and JoBeth Williams and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures; “Mrs. Brown,” starring Judi Dench and Billy Connolly; and “Batman And Robin,” starring George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Receiving awards for films for mature audiences were the following ten best films: “Amistad,” starring Djimon Hounsou, Morgan Freeman, and Anthony Hopkins; “Paradise Road,” starring Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, and Pauline Collins; “The Apostle,” starring Robert Duvall; “Air Force One,” starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Glenn Close; “Ulee’s Gold,” starring Peter Fonda’ “The Edge” starring Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin and Elle Macpherson; “The Rainmaker,” starring Matt Damon, Danny Glover, Jon Voight, Mickey Rourke and Danny DeVito; “Conspiracy Theory,” starring Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts and Patrick Stewart; “My Best Friend’s Wedding” starring Julie Roberts and Rupert Everett and finally, “Shall We Dance,” starring Kajoi Hakusho.

    In an interview before the event took place, Dr. Ted Baehr, president and publisher of Movieguide, and founder of the Christian Film and Television Commission, gave his insights into the filmmaking of 1997. “Last year was very eclectic in terms of the movies that came out. I would say that 1996 had consistently more family movies, but what was interesting about 1997 was that there were movies with strong representations of people’s faith all the way from the Bible scene in ‘Amistad,’ to ‘The Apostle,’ which was a powerful statement of faith, all the way to ‘Paradise Road.’ The interesting thing about last year’s movies was they were more balanced in terms of programming. I think we’ve come to an age when we’ve got more balance.”

    For further information about Movieguide call: (805)-383-2000, or write: Movieguide, 2510-G Las Posas Road, Suite 502, Camarillo, CA 93010, USA.

    Dan Wooding is an award-winning British journalist now living in Southern California. He is the founder and director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times). Wooding is also the author of some 35 books.

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