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Michael Moore, Mel Gibson snubbed by Oscars
Updated: 2005-01-26 10:06

Two of the most successful and disputed films of 2004, Michael's Moore's political screed "Fahrenheit 9/11" and Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," were roundly snubbed in the Oscar nominations.

Farenheit 9/11' director Michael Moore, shown here in May 2004. Moore had been campaigning for his documentary to be picked as a best picture nominee, but his film did not receive any Oscar nominations. [AFP]

Each of the two independent films generated more news headlines, controversy and cash than any of their big Hollywood counterparts, but they failed to make a favourable impression on the 5,800-odd Oscar voters.

Moore had been campaigning for his scathing documentary about US President George W. Bush's leadership following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and the war in Iraq to be picked as a best picture nominee.

Last year, he withdrew the film from consideration in the documentary category, preferring to aim for Hollywood's ultimate prize, but the gamble backfired.

Screen star Gibson had declined to campaign for his movie about the last brutal hours of the life of Jesus Christ, reportedly because he felt that the film should stand on its artistic merits alone.

This photo, released by Icon Distribution, shows a scene from the film 'The Passion of the Christ.' The film, directed by Mel Gibson, was only nominated for Oscars in technical categories. [AFP]

Gibson financed the 25-30 million-dollar film, that was roundly condemned by Jewish religious leaders as anti-Semitic but applauded by many devout Catholics, out of his own pocket after studios failed to stump up any cash for the risky religious epic.

But controversy helped power the film to the top of the US and overseas box offices, raking in more than 604 million dollars around the world for the "Braveheart" star's pet project.

"Fahrenheit," condemned by conservatives who support Bush as propaganda and lies, became a central issue in the United States ahead of the November 2 presidential polls.

Moore had hoped to turn American voters away from Bush by highlighting his alleged inept leadership, but the president nonetheless won reelection by garnering a solid majority of the votes.

Entertainment giant Walt Disney Corp. refused to distribute the six-million film, instead selling its rights to Miramax studio bosses Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who made a fortune from it.

The film, which cost just six million dollars to make, has raked in more than 220 million dollars around the world, becoming by far the most successful documentary in history.

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