With Gore's goading, Hollywood goes green

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Al Gore and his campaign against global warming won big at the Oscars as Hollywood went green on Sunday night. If only politics were that simple.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (R) and former Vice President Al Gore stand onstage at the 79th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 25, 2007. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

The former vice president, who inspired the box-office hit “An Inconvenient Truth” with a slideshow on climate change, took every opportunity to drive home his message that people need to act now to save the environment.

“My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis,” Gore told the audience as the film’s director and producers accepted their Oscar for best documentary feature.

“It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue.”

The Gore documentary also won best original song with “I Need to Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge.

“Mostly I have to thank Al Gore for inspiring us, inspiring me and showing that caring about the earth is not Republican or Democrat,” Etheridge said in her acceptance speech.

Hollywood was more than willing to listen to Gore, the Democrat who narrowly lost out to Republican George W. Bush in the race to be president of the United States in the 2000 elections

More stars arrived than ever before in environmentally friendly limousines, like plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars, hoping to educate Americans on alternatives to fossil fuels blamed for producing heat-trapping gases.


Earlier in the show, Gore and the hybrid-driving actor Leonardo DiCaprio took the stage to announce the Academy Awards had “gone green” with environmentally sensitive methods incorporated into every aspect of putting on the show.

The greening of the Oscars included using recycled paper, doing an energy audit for the Kodak Theater and serving organic food at the Governors Ball, said the Natural Resources Defense Council, the advocacy group that worked with organizers.

Many in Hollywood, impressed by Gore’s persuasive message on the climate crisis, have wanted him to run for president again in 2008.

But Gore ruled that out once again on Sunday and even played with the pressure to run with a well-timed joke that won raucous laughter from the audience.

“Even though I honestly had not planned on doing this, I guess with a billion people watching, it’s as good a time as any. So, my fellow Americans, I’m going to take this opportunity right here and now to formally announce..,” Gore said.

And then loud music from the pit orchestra -- the kind used to cut short run-on acceptance speeches -- drowned out Gore and he and DiCaprio walked off stage arm-in-arm.