Far-left filmmaker Michael Moore no longer serves as a governor on the Academy’s documentary board.
Conservative producer Gerald Molen praised Moore's exit, and rightly so. Few artists are as unabashedly biased in their thinking as Moore, which instantly taints the Oscars vetting process.
Moore's ouster will likely change little regarding the Academy Awards' documentary category.
The Fahrenheit 9/11 director was replaced by Alex Gibney, another progressive filmmaker whose biases bleed liberally into his work. Are we to assume Gibney will give both right and left-leaning projects a fair shake? The documentary board determines which features will be given Oscar consideration in a given year.
More importantly, the documentary category has a history of bias that can't be pinned on Moore. Was Moore in charge when An Inconvenient Truth won the Best Documentary Oscar in 2007?
The industry is overwhelmingly left of center, as is the documentary genre. The voters lean left, the filmmakers do the same, and that leaves the rare conservative documentary stuck essentially scrambling for support.
Moore was a poor choice for the documentary board in the first place, but his exit won't have a major impact on what films win awards in the immediate future.
Cable News Network has announced they will produce a documentary film about presumptive 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to be released in movie theatres before airing on their network in 2014.
CNN told Politico that documentary filmmaker Charles Fergueson has been tapped for the project. Fergueson is the director and producer of "No End In Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq" and Inside Job (a film about the 2008 financial crisis), which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
NBC has already announced their intentions to produce a Hillary bio-pic, but Chuck Todd went out of his way to explain that the news division at the peacock network would have nothing to do with the film.
Just want to get this out of the way now: NBC News has nothing to do w/Clinton mini series on NBC entertainment. So save your complaints— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) July 27, 2013
This puts CNN in an awkward position considering they don't have an "entertainment" division like NBC and they don't have the luxury of drawing bright, thick lines between a news division's activities. CNN is a news network and nothing more.
As Huffington Post points out, yesterday CNN's Jake Tapper discussed NBC's planned film and noted "there are, of course, any number of potential problems in producing a film about a character who in real life could be trying to cast herself as commander in chief." Tapper was then forced to acknowledge CNN's own project.
The Best Documentary category often lets Academy voters flex their political muscle. Just consider that both Al Gore and Michael Moore have golden statuettes on their respective mantles.
Tonight, with two films casting a negative light on Israel competing in the documentary category (5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers), the Oscar voters went for ... a soulful story about a presumed dead singer finding new creative life in South Africa.
Searching for Sugar Man's Oscar victory offers up another surprise tonight - but chasing one of the winners off the stage with the theme from Jaws ruined any positive mojo from the moment.
Michael Moore is at it again, using an awards banquet to bash his political enemies. Even by the far-left filmmaker's low standards, last night's event was beyond the pale.
Moore attended the New York Film Critics' Circle awards dinner in Manhattan to present the award for Best First Film.
The winner was "How to Survive a Plague," a documentary detailing the aggressive tactics taken by ACT-UP during the 1980s to address the growing AIDS crisis. Rather than merely applaud newbie director David France's film, Moore used the open microphone to slam two major figures from the era.
He went on to say that "those who would deify Reagan and Pope John Paul II are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people....because of their bigotry."
Moore's comments didn't go without a retort. A heckler shouted, "fuck you" and "asshole" during Moore's speech. Turns out noted contrarian Armond White was in the crowd and was the person shouting down Moore.
White expanded on his comments with The New York Post's Kyle Smith:
"My comment is that Moore is a paranoid leftie buffoon who assumed he was in a room of fellow-travelers. I'm not a right-winger or a Catholic but I am a Christian and was offended by his hateful statements. And as a member of the NYFCC I resent that he used our event for a political platform."
Moore infamously blasted President George W. Bush while accepting the Best Documentary Oscar in 2003 for "Bowling for Columbine," calling Bush a "fictitious president."
Note: Indiewire also noted Moore's speech, but while the site indirectly criticized White for shouting what he shouted, the site's reporter neglects to mention the rant against Reagan and the Pope, sanitizing Moore's hateful rhetoric.
The more major awards shows honor liberal politics over quality content, the more people will tune out - both from the shows themselves and Hollywood material in general.
The four major Emmy Awards given to the HBO film "Game Change" last night represents the latest example of the industry's politics trumping common sense.
"Game Change" is a mediocre movie at best, even if you believe every negative story ever written about Sarah Palin. The film's cartoonish take on the 2008 election might have been a hoot had it actually been a comedy. Instead, it's a factually dishonest movie with broad performances that hardly stacks up against even second-tier HBO programming.
To honor it with Emmys for excellence in directing, screenwriting and acting, as well as giving it the year's best telefilm award, is to applaud its political posture over anything seen on the small screen.
End of story.
It's hardly the first time a major award went to a film for reasons disconnected from content.
Al Gore's 2006 global warming scare piece "An Inconvenient Truth" featured a charisma-free politician delivering a Power Point presentation on the global warming threat. The latter interviewed a morally compromised priest who described how he mentally compartmentalized his actions along with some of his emotionally scarred victims.
Guess which film walked away with that year's Best Documentary Oscar?
It can be grand fun to watch awards shows. Who doesn't thrill to the sight of hard-working actors who battled tremendous odds not only to survive in a ruthless business but showcase their very best work to the nation?
That joy diminishes when we know the fix is in, that politics matters more than performance.
Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies
Friday night, Fox News' Sean Hannity hosted an exclusive one hour special on our latest film "The Hope and The Change." This documentary follows the surprising personal journeys of 40 Democrats and independents from across America who supported Obama in 2008.
Writer/Director Stephen K. Bannon, former Democrat pollster Pat Caddell, and I were interviewed by Hannity about the film he called the best documentary he has ever seen. During the one hour special, viewers saw exclusive clips from the film and heard several members of the 40 person cast go into greater detail about why they've given up on Obama.
During the course of the show, Hannity declared "The Hope and The Change" the "most powerful documentary I've ever seen in my life – no way anyone who's seen this film could vote for Obama." That is because the powerful voices in the film will resonate with many citizens across the country who are disillusioned with the Presidency of Barack Obama and it reinforces how his promises and policies have failed.
Our film "The Hope and The Change" is David Axelrod's worst nightmare, because it is about Obama’s own voters from 2008 who are now focusing solely on how he has performed these last few years – and they don’t like what they see. We feature real stories from real Obama voters – registered Democrats and independents – who drive home the extent of the decline of the country in the past four years and how far off the mark Obama’s promises have been. As Hannity said in a promotion for the special, "If everyone in America saw it, Barack Obama wouldn't get 15 percent of the vote."
That is why it is so important for us to get this film in front of as many people as possible. We will first screen "The Hope and The Change" during the RNC on Tuesday in Tampa – FREE tickets and more information is available at http://www.citizensunited.org/RNC – and will then bring it to the DNC in Charlotte, followed by the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, where all 40 members of the cast are from. We hope to announce further distribution deals shortly. "The Hope and The Change" is also available now to order on DVD.
This persuasive documentary will start a conversation across America. Be sure to get your copy as well as ones for all the undecideds you know. "The Hope and The Change" is sure to be a powerful tool in your arsenal this fall.