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Michael Moore has lost his position as a governor on the Academy’s documentary board, and Oscar-winning producer Gerald Molen, one of the film industry’s rare outspoken conservatives, is belatedly taking a victory lap.
In a letter to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the recently elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Molen wrote: “On behalf of my fellow filmmakers and the vast American Heartland which, on occasion, has felt disenfranchised by the Academy, I want to personally thank you and the Academy for removing Mr. Moore and restoring a fair and impartial voting process to the documentary category of the Oscars.”
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While Molen’s letter went out Thursday, Aug. 29, The Hollywood Reporter learned, Moore, in fact, lost his position as an Academy governor six weeks ago when he lost an election to Alex Gibney, who won a best documentary Oscar in 2007 for Taxi to the Dark Side.
Molen, who won a best picture Oscar for Schindler’s List, had been advocating that Moore be removed as a governor overseeing the process of nominating documentary films because he was too liberally biased. He remained silent in the immediate aftermath of Moore’s removal in July, but chimed in rather suddenly on Thursday.
“Foxes shouldn’t guard hen houses and Michael Moore shouldn’t have been in charge of the documentary nominating process at the Academy,” Molen wrote in his letter to Boone Isaacs.
Moore was elected to the AMPAS Documentary Branch in 2010, but just ahead of an election in July, Molen wrote a blistering letter to then Academy president Hawk Koch suggesting the entire nominating process was tainted by the presence of Moore, who has built a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most politically left filmmakers with titles like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, which earned him a best documentary Oscar in 2002.
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In his letter to Koch a few months back, Molen also insinuated that his most recent film, 2016: Obama’s America, with Dinesh D’Souza was snubbed by Moore and the rest of the Academy because of its conservative message. And he asked for assurance that his follow-up, America, also with D’Souza and due on July 4, 2014, will get a fair shake.
“We’ve already experienced a time in Hollywood where an atmosphere of oppression and fear was prevalent and people were punished for their political views. Let us make sure that never happens again,” Molen wrote in his letter to Koch in May.
On Thursday, in his letter to Boone Isaacs, Molen seemingly revisited that theme. “I look forward to next year’s voting being more in line with what the Oscar audiences would expect,” Molen wrote.
The removal of Moore, he wrote, “is a major victory for the silent super-majority in America and I am grateful to the leadership of the Academy as well as the voters for returning integrity and balance to a revered and respected national iconic organization.”
Moore and Boone Isaacs did not respond to requests for comment.
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