The big winners will surely be the lead story at Sunday’s Oscars, but one of the sidelight is in the documentary feature category and whether “An Inconvenient Truth” will win, if Al Gore will join director Davis Guggenheim onstage or whether the former vice president will make some kind of special appearance during the telecast.
Whatever the case, the principals involved obviously are lining up a number of public-interest projects in the coming weeks and months, all designed to keep the cause of global warming going. “I don’t think anyone in their wildest dreams could have realized that this movie would find its way into the public consciousness,” says producer Scott Burns. “I look forward to the day when I won’t have to explain what ‘carbon neutral’ means. Perhaps that day isn’t so far away.”
Al Gore: Through a new campaign called “Save Our Selves,” he’s working with “Live 8” producer Kevin Wall to throw a worldwide series of concerts on July 7, featuring everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Snoop Dog. Proceeds will help the Alliance for Climate Protection, which Gore chairs. He’s been training surrogates to stage his slideshow at forums around the world. He plans to release another book this spring, in addition to fielding the persistent calls for him to jump into the 2008 race. (Gore, right, is pictured with Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas at Thursday night’s Entertainment Weekly party.)
Davis Guggenheim, director: In addition to working with Gore, he’s taking an eco vehicle to the Oscars. Meanwhile, Picturehouse is set to release his next feature “Gracie,” about a girl who fights to let women in a soccer league, this year.
Lawrence Bender, producer: Launching a campaign called “18 Seconds,” the amount of time that it takes for people to switch 60W lightbulbs into more efficient compact flourescent ones. “The idea is to make people feel that this is a part of their everyday life,” Bender says. He’s also says he “has a few ideas circling around” for public interest film projects.
Laurie David, producer: In April, she plans a tour of southern cities with Sheryl Crow on a bio-diesel bus to motivate college students to the global warming movement. The tour kicks off on April 9 in Dallas, where they will put pressure to stop the construction on some 11 new coal-burning power plants; and concludes on Earth Day, April 22, in Washington, where Crow and David will take their message to Congress.
Scott Burns, producer: His HBO pic “PU-239,” which he directed, debuts this spring. It’s the story of a Russian nuclear facility worker who is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and sets out to sell it on the black market. The pic was in production and “then the Litvenko angle came out of nowhere,” Burns says. He’s also talking to Gore about working with him on branding his new Alliance for Climate Protection.
The movie itself will make its world television premiere on Showtime on March 11.
Meanwhile, speculation is building that an Oscar win would jump start a draft Gore movement. “People think that he’s paid his dues, he’s had more of an impact on issues that people care about than many people who have been in office and there’s a feeling that he’s finally lost that student council condescension that was fingernails on a blackboard to a lot of supporters,” Martin Kaplan of USC’s Norman Lear Center tells CNN.
But Bender has doubts that he will run.
“He was right on Iraq. He was right on global warming. He has an issue that is so formidable and has attacked it, tackled it,” Bender told CNN. “So I would love to see him run, sure, but I don’t see that in the cards.”
And finally, the Los Angeles Times’ Elizabeth Snead has the guest list from last night’s Al Gore party at the home of Banderas and Melanie Griffith, which ruffled a few features in the press because it was closed to reporters.