erik lundegaard

Wednesday December 05, 2012

Idiot of the Day: Dinesh D’Souza

“I want to thank the Academy for not nominating our film. By ignoring ’2016,’ the top-performing box-office hit of 2012, and pretending that films like ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ and  ‘This Is Not a Film’ are more deserving of an Oscar, our friends in Hollywood have removed any doubt average Americans may have had that liberal political ideology, not excellence, is the true standard of what receives awards.”

-- Dinesh D’Souza, writer and director, with John Sullivan, of the documentary “2016: Obama's America.”

Dinesh D'Souza: Idiot

A few pointers, Dinesh:

  • The Academy isn't about box office. Since 2000, how many No. 1 box-office hits have been nominated best picture? Three: “Return of the King” in 2003, “Avatar” in 2009, and “Toy Story 3” in 2010. How many won? One. “Return of the King.” This is true in the documentary-feature category as well. The No. 1 doc last year? Justin Bieber's concert film. Not nominated. In 2010? “Oceans.” Nada. In  2009 it was “Earth,” and in 2008 “Religulous.” Bupkis. The last No. 1 box-office doc to get nom'ed was Michael Moore's “Sicko” in 2007 but it lost the award to Alex Gibney's “Taxi to the Dark Side.” Which barely made any money at the box office. 
  • The Academy has never really been about excellence, either. Or to put another way: Excellence is in the eye of the beholder. In this list from Sasha Stone on the best pictures chosen by the Academy's and the New York Film Critics Circle, there aren't many years, when the two bodies disagree, when I wouldn't rather watch the NYFCC's choice. Those films are more excellent to me. Which doesn't mean that members of the Academy don't strive for excellence. It's just that other things get in the way.
  • But if you're looking for a way to quantify quality, or excellence, then the Rotten Tomatoes site isn't a bad place to go. And the top critics there gave “Searching for Sugar Man” a 97% rating, and “This is Not a Film” a 100% rating. Your film? 14%. “The film flutters to the ground like so much GOP convention confetti,” writes critic Roger Moore of McClatchy-Tribune News Service; “all assertions, few facts and little substance other than the conspiratorial right wing talking points that are D'Souza's bread and butter.”
  • Which is pretty much the consenus of your film. It sucks. The fact that you seem to have expected a nomination, and have attributed the lack of to liberal Hollywood bias, indicates how far gone you are. It's like expecting a documentary about 9/11 truthers to be short-listed for an Oscar.

The bigger travesty, as Sasha Stone points out, is all of the great docs that didn't make the cut, including “The Central Park Five,” “Samsara,” “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” and “West of Memphis.”

Here are the 15 docs that did make the Academy's short list:

  1. “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” Never Sorry LLC
  2. “Bully,” The Bully Project LLC
  3. “Chasing Ice,” Exposure
  4. “Detropia,” Loki Films
  5. “Ethel,” Moxie Firecracker Films
  6. “5 Broken Cameras,” Guy DVD Films
  7. “The Gatekeepers,” Les Films du Poisson, Dror Moreh Productions, Cinephil
  8. “The House I Live In,” Charlotte Street Films, LLC
  9. “How to Survive a Plague,” How to Survive a Plague LLC
  10. “The Imposter,” Imposter Pictures Ltd.
  11. “The Invisible War,” Chain Camera Pictures
  12. “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” Jigsaw Productions in association with Wider Film Projects and Below the Radar Films
  13. “Searching for Sugar Man,” Red Box Films
  14. “This Is Not a Film,” Wide Management
  15. “The Waiting Room,” Open’hood, Inc.
Posted at 05:10 PM on Wednesday December 05, 2012 in category Movies - Documentaries  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard