Consolation Prizes

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Academy buffs can stop arguing about whether Fahrenheit 9/11 is "really" a documentary. Michael Moore isn't going to submit it for the Best Documentary prize. "Let's let someone else have that Oscar," he explained in a statement. "We already have a best documentary Oscar."

The fact that this encourages Moore fans in the Academy to vote for his movie in another category—say, Best Picture—just might play a role as well.

Question: Does Moore's movie have a better chance of winning an Oscar if Bush wins or if Bush loses? My first thought was that if Bush loses, Moore will get a boost—he'll be touted as the Daniel who brought Goliath down. But by the time the Academy actually casts its ballots, its fickle voters might have forgotten how much they hated W. ("Bush who? Isn't one of the good guys president now? Support our troops!") If Bush wins, on the other hand, giving Moore an Oscar for Best Picture or Best Director might be a liberal consolation prize: a way Hollywood's left can rerun the election on its own turf and let Not Bush win.

Update: A couple of readers have noted that I wrote "Daniel" where a Biblical literalist (or a more careful proofreader) would have said "David." On reflection, though, neither name is right: If physique counts for anything, Moore should be Goliath.

And me? After a mistake like that, I'll have to cast myself as a Philistine.

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