Al Gore has entered the Academy Awards campaign.
“An Inconvenient Truth,” which presents the former vice president’s case about the dangers of global warming, is among 15 feature-length documentaries that made the short list for Oscar consideration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday.
Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate who Democrats say siphoned votes from Gore in the 2000 presidential election, also is in the Oscar mix with “An Unreasonable Man,” a documentary examining his decades as a consumer activist and critic of the establishment.
Also in the running are two documentaries featuring church leaders involved in sex scandals. “Jesus Camp,” which follows children being groomed in evangelical beliefs, features a scene in which superstar minister Ted Haggard condemns homosexuality. Haggard has since been fired from his megachurch amid allegations he had sex with a male prostitute and took drugs.
“Deliver Us From Evil” centers on defrocked Roman Catholic priest Oliver O’Grady, who was deported to his native Ireland after serving seven years in a California prison for molesting two boys. O’Grady has admitted abusing at least 25 children, the film questioning how much church leaders, including Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, knew about those crimes.
The U.S. war in Iraq and its ramifications also are well represented among potential documentary nominees. On the Oscar short list is “Shut Up & Sing,” which examines the backlash against the Dixie Chicks after lead singer Natalie Maines told a concert crowd on the eve of the war in 2003 that the country trio was ashamed President Bush comes from Texas, their home state.
Other Iraq-related documentaries up for consideration include “The War Tapes,” edited from footage shot by troops serving in Iraq; “The Ground Truth,” featuring Iraq veterans discussing their disillusionment with the war; and “Iraq in Fragments,” offering portraits of Iraqis coping with the U.S. led occupation.
The list of 15 contenders was selected by the academy’s documentary screening committee from 81 eligible films. Members of the academy’s documentary branch will select five nominees from the short list, and finalists will be announced with the rest of the Oscar nominations Jan. 23.
The 79th Oscars will be presented Feb. 25.