Skip to comments.The Polluted Documentary Oscar Pool
Posted on 12/07/2012 4:54:23 AM PST by Kaslin
The cabal that chooses the 15 nominees for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature has issued its 2013 selections. Why was the top-grossing documentary of 2012 -- and the fourth most-successful documentary of all time - not on that expansive list?
Because it was "2016," the film in which conservative author Dinesh D'Souza warns of a dark future for America if Barack Obama is re-elected. The film's producer, Gerald Molen, who already won an Oscar for "Schindler's List," was scandalized. "The action confirms my opinion that the bias against anything from a conservative point of view is dead on arrival in Hollywood."
He shouldn't be surprised. But that doesn't mean he can't be indignant. Recent Oscar winners in this category include Michael Moore for "Bowling for Columbine" and Davis Guggenheim for his Al Gore flick, "An Inconvenient Truth." Is anyone anywhere prepared to argue that the political agendas in these documentaries didn't play a role in their selection? The (set ital) primary (end ital) role?
The Hollywood Reporter noted "2016" made more money at the box office than the combined receipts of the 15 films the Academy put on the short list this year. So why were those other ones selected? Could it be ... politics? Consider:
--"Bully," the Harvey Weinstein-produced film pushing the usual pro-gay agenda, which was promoted by picking a fight over its original "R" rating for too many F-words.
--"Chasing Ice," the latest "climate change" expose, which just hit a few theaters on Nov. 16. We're told by photographer and activist James Balog that glacial melting is, in fact, the "canary in the climate coal mine."
--"Detropia," a film about devastated Detroit by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, who made the (previously Oscar-nominated) evangelical-bashing film "Jesus Camp." A retired teacher pleads: "No buffer between the rich and the poor? Only thing left is revolution."
--"Ethel," which is not a "movie" at all, but an HBO documentary. Or you could call it a "home movie," since it was made by Rory Kennedy about her mother, Ethel. This is hardly an expose. It's more like a mawkish valentine to the woman the filmmaker calls "Mummy."
--"How to Survive a Plague," on the radical-left AIDS protesters of over the Reagan administration's so-called indifference in the 1980s. The Boston Globe says it documents "the political seething at the federal government's failure to help combat the spread of AIDS with effective medical treatments." Chelsea Clinton recently starred at an event promoting the film.
--"The House I Live In," Eugene Jarecki's jeremiad against the "War on Drugs" and how it is "costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage on future generations of Americans." TV producer David Simon rants, "The drug war is a Holocaust in slow motion."
--"The Invisible War," a film about an "epidemic" of rapes in the military by (previously Oscar-nominated) Kirby Dick. This could be a grave problem, but it sounds hyperbolic. Dick claims half a million women have been raped in America's armed forces. Yes, five-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero. (The hero of the trailer is ultraliberal Rep. Henry Waxman.)
--"5 Broke Cameras" and "The Gatekeepers" are both about the Israelis' history of inhumanity toward the Palestinians.
--"Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" is another HBO-backed film by (previous Oscar winner) Alex Gibney, whose other films have ripped Enron and the War on Terror. This is another expose of Catholic Church inaction with sexually abusive priests, including Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who ran a Wisconsin school for the deaf.
Exposes on the Catholic sex abuse scandal are a staple in this documentary branch of the Oscars. David France of "How to Survive a Plague" wrote a book called "Our Fathers" that later became a TV docudrama. Kirby Dick earned an Oscar nomination in 2004 for "Twist of Faith." Amy Berg was awarded an Oscar nomination for "Deliver Us From Evil" in 2006.
This is the first year that the Best Documentary Feature award has new rules -- promoted by Michael Moore. Instead of films being screened by small groups (of about five) and then recommended to the whole membership, all the films are now supposed to be screened by all 173 members. That simply does not happen. That means some of the 100-plus documentaries in the field are inevitably cast aside if they offend the liberal sensibilities of the judges. So, bye-bye, "2016."
Nominees are supposed to have run for a week in theaters in New York and Los Angeles at least. Two of these films -- "Mea Maxima Culpa" and "Ethel" -- have yet to jump that minimalist hurdle. "Ethel" aired on HBO in October. None of it matters. There are no rules. Up with liberalism. Conservatism? Censored.
The Oscars have been a joke for a looooooooooong time; I think they really hit bottom the year they were the “Black Self-Esteem awards”.
The Academy Awards have had a political bent for the past 40 years, maybe even longer.
To expect that liberal Hollyweird would consider “2016” is insane. Collect the paycheck and move on.
Who actually wants to see today's lightweight presentor or recipient "stars", anyhow?
Why feed the hands that bite us???
The time devoted to this marathon of Oscar weiners would be more happily devoted to watching a great movie with memorable actors on a classic movie network.
Last night I watched "Casablanca" for the umpty-ninth time and enjoyed every minute of it.
The last Oscar night I watched was the year “Saving Private Ryan” was up for best picture and that award was given to “Shakespeare In Love”.
EFF the entire Entertainment-political-complex. Oscars, Grammies, whatever. Nothing but a bunch of self-congratulating, overhyped, overpaid blowhards. Hollywood is dead to me.
Except that Shakespeare in Love was a far better movie than Saving Private Ryan. Speilberg’s bizarre war flick about 90s sensibilities set in the D-Day followup was just flat out lousy. Yes, it had some very good scenes (the D-Day landings were spectacular), but the rest of it featuring a whiny Tom Hanks acting the sensitive 90s male was completely skippable.
Personally I set a stopping point back when Philadelphia won it’s Oscars and we were subjected to a lecture by Tom Hanks as to why we were evil people because AIDS wasn’t cured by waving a magic wand. I won’t sit through that left wing drivel ever again.
The “Inconvenient Truth” is that the oscars lost any credibility they may have had when they gave one to algore.
I hate awards shows. I don’t watch any of them. A bunch of celebs kissing each other’s @sses. No thanks.
There is nothing more boring then the award shows
I disagree with your view of both “Saving Private Ryan” and “Shakespeare In Love”.
“Saving Private Ryan” was a serious movie about a subject that many people (even at that date) had difficulty visualizing, and dealt with subjects most people with non-combat experience rarely consider when considering the issue.
I thought it was the best modern war movie that had been produced, and had the ability to reach a lot of people in ways other war movies simply couldn’t. (My favorite movie dealing with war is “The Best Years Of Our Lives”, for much the same reason)
I feel the same way about Tom Hanks as I do about many liberals in Hollywood. But I am willing to consider his work in this aspect (while at the same time absolutely rejecting his liberalism in movies such as the “Philadelphia” tripe) because of two things: “Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers”.
And, by the way, I did see “Shakespeare In Love” that same year, and it was fluffy compost, fun to watch with a date or your wife, but eminently forgettable. It was the cinematic equivalent of eating potato chips while driving long distance in a car. I cannot even recall most of the characters, scenes or plot.
But I DO agree with you on Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, even though I have enjoyed movies like “Jaws”, “Jurassic Park” and so on. I am simply less inclined to see their new stuff than I was before.
Didn’t “The Peoples’ Choice Awards” start because of some boneheaded call the Academy made in the ‘70’s?