Gore Likely to Win Oscar Sunday Despite Violating Academy’s Rules

As sickening as it might seem, Al Gore appears to be a lock to win an Academy Award Sunday for his schlockumentary about global warming. Unfortunately, the real inconvenient truth is that the film appears to violate the Academy’s own rules concerning documentaries.

As reported by CNSNews Thursday:

According to the "rule 12" standard for documentary films established by the Academy, while it is permissible to employ storytelling devices such as re-enactments, stock footage, stills and animations, the emphasis must be on fact and not fiction.

The critics argue that in the case of "An Inconvenient Truth," the criteria are not met.

Here are some of the specifics:

One point of contention in Gore's movie is animated footage of a polar bear struggling to find stable sea ice. Gore has argued that human-induced global warming is directly impacting polar bears' habitat and sea ice in particular. Consequently, he suggests, polar bears are forced to swim longer distances and sometimes drown in the process.

"A new scientific study shows that for the first time they're finding polar bears that have actually drowned swimming long distances - up to sixty miles - to find the ice," Gore says in the movie.

John Berlau, author of a new book on the environmental movement entitled "Eco-Freaks," claims the polar bear scene alone should disqualify Gore's film from consideration for best documentary, because it departs from reality.

Berlau noted that while the movie's companion book says the bears were drowning in "significant numbers," the study Gore is most likely referring to only found four polar bear carcasses in the sea off Alaska.

That episode took place after a severe storm, he noted, but Gore makes no reference to a storm during the film's animated polar bear sequence.

But there’s more:

Gore also never cites a source for his polar bear claim, Berlau points out, but scientists on both sides of the polar bear debate told Cybercast News Service he was probably referring to a recent report filed by the U.S. Minerals Management Service.

Researchers with the service in 2004 found four dead polar bears floating in the sea off Alaska but said in a report that the bears "are believed to have drowned as a result of the storm."

Berlau, an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) - an organization known for global warming skepticism - who has also written about the entertainment industry, said the polar bear sequence does not square with a large body of scientific evidence.

"The polar bear cartoon was the emotional linchpin of this movie for a lot of people, but the science behind it was not rooted in truth and is a violation of rule 12 on many levels," Berlau told Cybercast News Service.

There are indeed precedents for “documentaries” which falsify or recreate events being either disqualified after the fact, or not considered for Oscars at all:

He cited as an example a 1958 Disney documentary "White Wilderness," which won an Oscar but was subsequently discredited. Film crew had apparently induced lemmings to jump off a cliff in an effort to highlight the species' suicidal behavior.

If those standards were still in effect, "An Inconvenient Truth" would be disqualified, Berlau said.

Other more recent examples involving storytelling techniques described in rule 12 include "The Thin Blue Line" (1988) about the shooting of a Dallas police officer, and "Touching the Void" (2005), a film about a near-fatal climb in the Peruvian Andes.

Both films received critical acclaim but, Berlau said, ultimately fell short of serious Oscar contention because the Academy took issue with the use of re-enactments.
Fascinating.

The article gave other examples as to why Gore’s film should never have been nominated based upon the Academy’s own rules. Unfortunately, it appears irrelevant when politics are involved as stated early in the piece: “Documentaries that distort reality and shade the truth are insulated from criticism so long as they advance left-wing causes.”

I guess this gives conservatives one more reason to do something else on Sunday.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.