While most of the hype surrounding the best documentary race at this year's Oscars has involved Exit Through the Gift Shop director Banksy, the anti-drilling eco-film Gasland has quietly drawn attention and criticism from the natural gas industry.
Lee Fuller, executive director of pro-drilling group Energy in Depth, contested the film's eligibility in a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, calling it an "expression of styled fiction" with "errors, inconsistencies and outright falsehoods."
“While it’s unfortunate there isn’t an Oscar category for propaganda, this nomination is fitting, as the Oscars are aimed at praising pure entertainment among Hollywood’s elite," Fuller told the New York Times
In a reply released to the Associated Press
by Energy in Depth, the Academy's executive director Bruce Davis
said it was up to the members to decide whether the film deserves to win the category.
"We do not have the resources to vet each claim or implication in the many (documentary) films that compete for our awards each year, and even if we did there would be no shortage of people disputing our conclusions," Davis wrote.
He added, "If facts have been suppressed or distorted, if truth has been twisted, we depend on (our members) to sniff that out and vote accordingly."
Director Josh Fox's look at the dangers of natural gas drilling has been the subject of controversy since its debut on HBO last summer. Energy companies have attacked it for being inaccurate and biased, but Fox maintains that his documentary portrays the industry objectively.
"What they're trying to do is make (Gasland) look like a liberal, elite, Michael Moore thing, which of course it isn't," he told the Associated Press. "It's bipartisan."