LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “An Inconvenient Truth,” the big-screen adaptation of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s slide-show lecture about the perils of global warming, won Academy Awards on Sunday for documentary feature and best song.
The award for best documentary went to director Davis Guggenheim and producers Lawrence Bender (“Pulp Fiction”) and Laurie David, the environmentalist wife of “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David.
But the film marked a personal triumph for Gore, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee who left politics after narrowly losing his White House bid to Republican George W. Bush and embarked on a new campaign calling attention to the threat of climate change.
“My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis,” Gore said after taking the stage.
“It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. That’s a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.”
Gore is the star and narrator of the documentary, which is widely credited with helping shift U.S. public opinion on the need for urgent action to curb man-made emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
Director Guggenheim handed Gore the Oscar and told the audience the movie was made “because we were moved to act by this man”.
Rock star Melissa Etheridge won the Oscar for original song for the film’s musical theme, “I Need to Wake Up,” which she composed and performed for the movie. It marked the first song from a documentary to be nominated in that category since “More” from “Mondo Cane” in 1963.
“I have to thank Al Gore for inspiring us, inspiring me, showing that caring about the earth is not Democratic or Republican, it is not red or blue, we are all green,” Etheridge said.
The Oscar win helps raise Gore’s public profile as many of his fellow Democrats are beginning to jostle for their party’s nomination for president next year, though the former vice president under Bill Clinton has repeatedly said he has no plans to run again in 2008.
The film has topped $45 million at the box office worldwide and sold 1 million DVDs. With $24 million in U.S. ticket sales alone, it ranks as the nation’s third-highest-grossing documentary ever, excluding concert films and Imax movies — behind “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “March of the Penguins.”
The book version of “An Inconvenient Truth” was published last year as a follow-up to Gore’s 1992 bestseller “Earth in the Balance.”
Also nominated this year for best documentary were “Deliver Us from Evil,” about a pedophile priest, “Jesus Camp,” exploring efforts to instill evangelical Christians in children, and two films about the war in Iraq — “My Country, My Country” and “Iraq in Fragments.”