Former Vice President Al Gore yesterday scored a key nomination without even traveling to Iowa or New Hampshire, and he won’t need to kiss any babies to win the bigger prize.
The Democrat’s film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The Oscar winners will be announced Feb. 25.
Mr. Gore has said he does not plan to run for president again in 2008, but he has not entirely ruled it out. In his film, which also got a Best Original Song nomination for “I Need to Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge, he argues that climate change is the biggest problem facing the planet.
Mr. Gore, the 2000 presidential nominee, said he was “thrilled” by the Oscar nomination.
“This film proves that movies really can make a difference,” Mr. Gore said in an e-mail, praising the crew. He said “An Inconvenient Truth” has “brought awareness of the climate crisis to people in the United States and all over the world.”
The nomination technically is for producers Lawrence Bender and Laurie David, and director Davis Guggenheim. But Mr. Gore is the ubiquitous on-screen narrator for the film, the third highest-grossing documentary in U.S. history with $24 million in ticket sales. The film has elevated global warming as a political issue, and Mr. Gore is collecting postcards from voters to deliver to congressional leaders in the next few months.
Sen. Barack Obama, a presidential candidate, said yesterday that Mr. Gore deserves the award.
“It is not only an outstanding film, but it has created a genuine cultural shift in how people think about what I believe to be one of the more important issues of our time,” said the Illinois Democrat, who has co-authored a measure to “drastically” reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Clearly this movie has had a tremendous impact in educating millions of additional people,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.
Other congressional leaders agreed yesterday that Mr. Gore’s film spurred change on Capitol Hill.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he has significantly added to the discussion and provided a leadership level all around the globe that has been very impressive,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who plans extensive hearings on global warming, learned of the nomination from a Washington Times reporter.
“How exciting,” said the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, adding that she has personally asked Mr. Gore to testify before her panel and that “he’s thinking about it.”
The House Energy and Commerce Committee also has invited Mr. Gore to appear at a climate change hearing.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas had not seen the film, but he said the Oscar nomination “will be useful in the discussion that we’re going to have here on global climate issues.”
Although Mr. Gore’s name won’t be engraved on the Oscar if the film wins, he definitely will be on the red carpet, aides said.
“An Inconvenient Truth,” adapted from slide-show presentations he has been making worldwide for the past several years, also is a best-selling book.
Also nominated in the documentary category are “Deliver Us From Evil,” about a Catholic priest who sexually abused children, “Jesus Camp,” about evangelical Christians, and two films about the Iraq war, “Iraq in Fragments” and “My Country, My Country.”