So the Oscars went ahead last night, with a number of unexpected occurances. Roman Polanski winning best director for The Pianist for one, showing that some people can overlook past indiscretions and evaluate art for what it is. Another shock was an anime film, Spirited Away, picking up the gong for Best Animated Feature, which must have really stuck in Disney’s craw (although, being the film’s distributor in the States, they still get a piece of the pie). And of course, for all us lefties out there, Michael Moore actually getting the nod in the Best Documentary Feature category for his mostly excellent Bowling for Columbine.
Not that he wouldn’t or shouldn’t have been top choice for the award anyway, but considering the climate we now find ourselves in, and the fact that Moore isn’t exactly softly spoken about his feelings for the Bush Administration and everything it stands for, it was a pleasant surprise–but a surprise nonetheless–to see that jingoism hadn’t taken hold of the Academy. Despite this, however, there was some very audible dissent in the audience as Moore gave his expactantly inflammatory acceptance speech, and I for one was disappointed at this to say the least.
I like Michael Moore. For the most part he is a man of strong principles and convictions and, let’s be honest, testicular fortitude — few people would truly have the gall to pull some of the stunts that he’s pulled in his time, yet still be sincere (and obviously so) about his motives.
I _do have_ a couple of problems with Michael Moore. One is that he has a tendency to let his satirical side get the better of him (case in point: a section in his book Stupid White Men outlining a possible and potential plan for bringing peace to the Middle East, directly followed by a tongue-in-cheek call for the conversion of Protestants to Catholicism as a solution to the problems in the North) unlike, say, Mark Thomas, who strikes a finer balance and hits his points home harder as a result. Another is that, while I can easily identify with his sentiments, his stance is far too dogmatic, the practicalities of situations obscured by his principles. I can see clearly, therefore, how and why many people might have a problem with him and what he says.
But booing the man? What’s up with _that_? That’s just plain childish, even more so coming from an audience of supposed role models. When certain people had a problem with Elia Kazan a few years ago at least they weren’t so boorish about it. And besides, such infantile behaviour merely adds fuel to Moore’s righteous fire; if you’re going to criticise someone, surely the last thing you would do is help make them look better?