In order to settle on a winner in this category it's perhaps necessary to play the part of Armond White and determine which nominee most flatters the Hollywood elite's liberal values—which is to say, which one wags the harshest finger at Mel Gibson and Patricia Heaton. My Country, My Country grapples with the run-up leading up to Iraq's 2005 parliamentary elections through the point of view of Sunni party candidate Dr. Riyadh, praising the George Clooney camp's opinion that we've created quite a mess in the Middle East. Deliver Us From Evil and Jesus Camp will please Scientologists for having picked the right religion and allows insular Hollywood types to study the heart of Bush country as if they were gawking at monkeys inside a cage. Assuming My Country, My Country will confound more than it illuminates and Deliver Us From Evil and Jesus Camp will cancel each other out, that leaves Al Gore's Powerpoint presentation An Inconvenient Truth to duke it out with Iraq in Fragments. The latter diagnoses the mess in Iraq poetically, which has lost the James Longely doc a few fans in the leftie cinephille community, but the film's humanity is as vibrant as its vision. AMPAS members will be attracted to its topicality, but the inspiring if less excitingly aestheticized Inconvenient Truth may be difficult to beat. The film's box office returns are one factor working in its favor. Another is that Al Gore has brought fierce attention to the problems afflicting our environment, seemingly accomplishing the impossible by affecting the opinion of the very man who stole his presidency. Because the Supreme Court was unwilling to do right by Al Gore in 2000, AMPAS will make it up to him on Oscar night.
Will Win: An Inconvenient Truth
Should Win: Iraq in Fragments
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.