The 2003 Academy Awards were handed out a month ago, but now there’s a campaign looking to revoke the Oscar given to filmmaker Michael Moore.
Michael Moore (courtesy United Artists)
The “Bowling for Columbine” director was the recipient of the coveted trophy in the Best Documentary category, and now some want the prize withdrawn by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
RevokeTheOscar.com is a website created specifically for that purpose, claiming the Academy violated its own rules, since the site believes the anti-gun film is a work of fiction instead of non-fiction.
“Whenever it was necessary to his theme,” says the site, “Moore invented facts, fabricated events, staged scenes or doctored the depiction of what actually happened.”
It suggests Moore doctored footage and fudged facts to make Charlton Heston of the National Rifle Association sound more inflammatory.
“When Heston, for example, gave a mild and conciliatory speech, Moore simply edited the footage (and inserted footage from a different speech a year later) to make it sound arrogant. …
“The Academy can reward propaganda, if it pleases. It can reward anti-Americanism, if it pleases. But its own rules establish that it cannot reward fiction as ‘best documentary.’ We call upon the Academy to enforce its own rule.”
The page includes fax numbers and addresses to contact Academy officials.
Others are also joining the effort to dispute the “facts” as presented in Moore’s film.
“‘Bowling’ is fiction,” says Arizona attorney David T. Hardy. “It makes its points by deceiving and by misleading the viewer. Statements are made which are false. Moore leads the reader to draw inferences which he must have known were wrong. Indeed, even speeches shown on screen are heavily edited, so that sentences are assembled in the speaker’s voice, but which he never uttered. ‘Bowling’ uses deliberate deception as its primary tool of persuasion and effect.”
Scene from ‘Bowling for Columbine’ (United Artists)
Hardy has compiled a list of many of the alleged deceptions used by Moore. One example he cites is an animated history sequence linking the NRA with the Ku Klux Klan:
“Bowling” equates the NRA with the Klan, suggesting NRA was founded in 1871, “the same year that the Klan became an illegal terrorist organization.” Bowling goes on to depict Klansmen becoming the NRA and an NRA character helping to light a burning cross.
This sequence is intended to create the impression either that NRA and the Klan were parallel groups or that when the Klan was outlawed its members formed the NRA.
Both impressions are not merely false, but directly opposed to the real facts.
And Dave Kopel, a columnist for National Review Online writes an in-depth analysis of the film, coming to the same conclusion:
“Imagine if the Academy gave the award for ‘Best Music – Original Song’ to a film that used an unoriginal song, such as ‘Jingle Bells.’ Such an award would show that the Oscars are based on Hollywood politics rather than on artistic merit. The presentation of Best Documentary to Michael Moore for a film based on so much untruth has proved the same thing.”
Michael Moore and wife Kathleen Glynn (photo: Oscar.com)
Moore became a lightning rod for controversy by proclaiming his anti-war views during his acceptance speech for the award: “We live in a time with fictitious election results that elect fictitious presidents. We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.”
Moore went on to exclaim, “We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you! Shame on you!”
His comments were greeted by a chorus of loud boos from the audience of 3,500.
Nevertheless, Moore remains defiant in the face of criticism, saying he’s only benefiting from the publicity with interest in his movie, books and website soaring in recent weeks.
He says he’s obtained funding for his next documentary and also has been offered a slot back on television for an updated version of “TV Nation”/”The Awful Truth.”
“Don’t let the false patriots intimidate you by setting the agenda or the terms of the debate,” Moore writes on his website. “Despite what they have pulled off, it is still our country.”
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