Gore prize hailed as H'wood ending

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Now this is what they call a real Hollywood ending. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore being chosen to share the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to shed light on global warming was welcomed in Hollywood as a honor for a friend and a nod to the power of film to change world opinion.

Gore worked for decades to shed light on climate change but few people seemed to listen until the 2006 documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" chronicled his lonely journey. The film informed audiences on the huge environmental issue facing them and what could be done to help turn the tide against it.

"I'm so thrilled and excited and proud of my friend," said John Lesher, who heads the Paramount Vantage film division that released the Oscar-winning movie.

Lesher's enthusiasm was shared by one of the film's producers, activist Laurie David, who called it "a validation to everyone who has been working on (climate change)."

"Inconvenient Truth" was directed by Davis Guggenheim and took viewers on a journey with Gore as he traveled the world lecturing on the dangers of global warming with a slideshow he had assembled over the years.

The movie hit theaters six years after Gore, then vice president, lost the 2000 U.S. presidential race to George W. Bush. It was not only informative and entertaining, but it also painted a picture of a lone champion for a just cause.

"This issue is so personal because it impacts everybody and in so many ways. The film was personal too, because you got to understand why Al worked so hard," David told Reuters.

The movie earned $49 million at global box offices, won the Oscar for best documentary in 2007 and put the politician back in the world spotlight.

"Inconvenient Truth" -- along with other factors -- has also helped spark greater recognition of ways people can help improve the environment by recycling waste, driving hybrid cars and utilizing solar power, among other measures.

"It shows the ability of film to change the conversation and bring awareness to an issue," Lesher said. "I felt that way when I first saw it and it's nice to see it has come to pass."

If anyone thinks Gore is stopping at one documentary to spread his message, they should think again.

"The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening said Gore will play himself in an upcoming episode of the animated television show "Futurama" in what Groening called "a nice, self-deprecating turn."

"We try to entertain, but if we can make people feel better or not alone about an idea, that's great," Groening said.
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