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THR's Oscar Icons Portfolio: Steven Spielberg, Eva Marie Saint, Michael Moore

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    Oscars 2013
    The Agitators
    Wesley Mann
    From left: Michael Moore, Emad Burnat, and Guy Davidi
    The Agitators
    Michael Moore (1 win, 2 noms), Emad Burnat (1 nom) and Guy Davidi (1 nom)

    This story first appeared in the March 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

    Filmmakers Burnat and Davidi, the minds behind the current Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras, might consider Moore something of a good-luck charm. The duo requested that the renowned documentarian -- a champion for their project about Burnat’s Palestinian village’s peaceful protest of encroaching Israeli settlements -- attend January’s Cinema Eye Awards in New York, where their documentary was nominated, to accept the nonfiction feature award on their behalf if it won (Burnat and Davidi were out of the country). It won.

    So on this day, Moore arrives gripping a large metal statuette of an oversized eye with long, spike-inspired eyelashes, finally able to present the award to the filmmakers, joking that they might have trouble getting it past airport security -- especially if they mentioned it came from him. “I was seriously moved by it in a way that when you leave the theater, you’re shaken to the core,” says the Oscar-winning documentarian (for 2002’s exposé on gun violence, Bowling for Columbine), who featured the film at his Traverse City Film Festival in 2012. “What digital allows is more democratization. We’re going to see some incredible films like this one from all around the world.”

    PHOTOS: Oscars 2013: 16 Icons Come Together for THR's Oscar Issue

    The filmmaking pair is grateful for the support of Moore, who has made a career of capturing controversial social and political issues onscreen (he was nominated for the Oscar again in 2007 for his documentary Sicko, about health care in the U.S.). “I believe that these kind of films change people, and people feel more close to the story and to the reality,” says Burnat, noting his special connection to Cameras because it’s a story of his life and family. “It was very important to show the world and show the people outside Israel what the reality is in Palestine and what’s going on, what is the truth.”

    Moore, the consummate whistle-blower, considers this film one of the strongest contenders this Oscar season -- across all categories. “It isn’t just one of the best documentaries of the year, it’s one of the best movies of this year,” expounds Moore, who told the pair not to hesitate between speeches if they win because show producers will play them off. “I’d put it on the same level as any of the other great fiction films made this year.”

    Click here to read THR's complete 2013 Oscar Icons list.

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