The Right Opinion

The Polluted Documentary Oscar Pool

By L. Brent Bozell · Dec. 7, 2012

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 primary 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.



wjm in Colorado said:

The Oscars have become a total joke. More mindless drivel and a platform for more marxist propoganda. Useful idiots all at the "Academy".

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

The Oscars are becoming like the Nobel Peace prize. All you have to be is a liberal and you automatically go to the top of the list. Al Gore and Odumbo are prime examples of doing absolutley nothing about peace but yet won the prize.

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

I watched the Oscars for nearly 50 years....I quit watching because of exactly the type of mind-rot you mentioned. Even the starved, drugged, and plastic-altered women are not pretty enough to keep our attention.

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 12:54 PM

JAC in Texas said:

I have read several articles today in which the authors are surprised that "2016" did not receive an Oscar nomination. Are they kidding? There is no surprise at all. It is a foregone conclusion that doesn't even warrant discussion. With the far-left atmosphere on the "left coast," it would be more worthy of discussion if it had received a nomination. Where have all these "surprised" people been for the last few decades?

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming replied:

The comments above sum it up pretty well. I have not seen a movie in over twenty years. The last movie I saw I believe was Patton. I only saw it because Patton was my father's tour director when he had his all expense paid tour of Europe in 1944 and 45. If they never made another movie I would be extremely happy. It would put those overpaid morons out of work. Say, can you call what they do work? The same goes for TV. The only thing I ever watch is the local news. I guess my opinion is catching as my daughter and son-in-law do not have a TV.

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Joe in Texas said:

--"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."

How many people here are starting to tire of the war on drugs? I think drugs are stupid, but I also think that our tax dollars could be better spent. To borrow a phrase, "I'm evolving."

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Joe in Texas replied:

To correct myself, scratch "not better spent" and replace with "cut from the budget"

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 6:46 PM

HIP OP in New York said:

--Everyone noticing?

Franchise slum Hollywood and media are 'totally overlooking'
this year's 200th Anniversary of the Defeat of the Napoleonic
police state -----the 100th Anniversary of the Jeckyl island
banking and EUGENICS pow wow -----the 40th Anniversary
of the Rockefeller-Nixon---MAO handover -----and the
---------------------60th Anniversary------------------------
of the RED china, Globalism, mind control, EUGENICS and
GENOCIDE ---'unfriendly' -----KOREAN WAR-------.

Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 12:33 AM

David Thompson in Bellville, TX said:

" 'The Invisible War,' a film about an 'epidemic' of rapes in the military by (previously Oscar-nominated) Kirby Dick."
Rapes in the military by Kirby Dick?
Taranto will surely make something of this.

Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 8:18 AM