"Inconvenient Truth" a Double Winner at Green Academy Awards

LOS ANGELES, California, February 26, 2007 (ENS) - Former Vice President Al Gore won the Oscar for Best Documentary for his climate change warning film "An Inconvenient Truth," last night at the 79th Annual Academy Awards, highlighting a night devoted to environmental awareness.

In fact, the award went to director Davis Guggenheim and producers Lawrence Bender, Laurie David and Scott Burns, but it was really Gore who was being recognized for focusing international attention on the issue of global warming and he joined the winners on stage for the acceptance.

"I made this movie for my children," Guggenheim said in his acceptance speech. "We all did. And we did so because we were moved to act by this man... all of us were inspired by his fight for 30 years to tell his truth to all of us."


Former Vice President Al Gore and Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature Davis Guggenheim at the 79th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. February 25, 2007. (Photo courtesy AMPAS)
Onstage, Guggenheim handed the Oscar to Gore, who said, "People all over the world - we need to solve the climate crisis. Itís not a political issue. Itís a moral issue. We have everything that we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. Thatís a renewable resource. Letís renew it."

Musician and songwriter Melissa Etheridge took home the Best Song Oscar for "I Need To Wake Up," the theme song for "An Inconvenient Truth," beating three original songs from the show business musical "Dreamgirls."

Accepting the award, Etheridge said, "I have to thank Al Gore for inspiring me, showing me that caring about the Earth is not Republican or Democrat, it's not red or blue. We are all green. We can be the generation that woke up and did something."


Academy Award winner for Original Song, Melissa Etheridge backstage at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. (Photo courtesy AMPAS)
Earlier in the evening, Gore joined Leonardo DiCaprio onstage to introduce the Academy Award's first greening initiative, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, of which DiCaprio is a trustee, in collaboration with Oscar producer Laura Ziskin.

In a pre-planned joke, DiCaprio asked Gore if he had an important announcement to make to the more than one billion people watching the telecast. Gore pulled from his pocket a sheet of paper and deadpanned the famous phrase that usually precedes the announcement of a presidential bid, "My fellow Americans..." before the exit music blared and the smiles broke out.

Gore has said repeatedly he will not enter the president race in 2008. After winning the popular vote in 2000 only to have the election handed to President George W. Bush by a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Gore has devoted himself to educating the world about the dangers of global warming.

For the first time this year, the Academy Awards were carbon neutral - renewable energy credits were purchased from Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset carbon emissions from the pre-show, the red-carpet event, the Oscar telecast, and the Governors' Ball.


Leonardo DiCaprio, Academy Award nominee for Best Actor for his work in "The Departed," arrives at the 79th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. (Photo courtesy AMPAS)
Other green intiatives included an energy audit of Kodak Theatre, which resulted in an efficiency plan and recommendations for upgrades. Hybrid vehicle transportation was provided for presenters and staff.

Ecologically superior paper was used for telecast and non-telecast event materials such as nomination ballots, envelopes, press materials, programs, invitations, and certificates.

A comprehensive recycling system instituted for event waste. Crew meals and craft services included reusable service materials and accessories, post-consumer tissue products, and biodegradable dishware.

The menu for the Governors' Ball featured organic and environmentally-friendly food, including seafood, dairy, produce, and even the large chocolate Oscar. Left-over food from the Ball was donated to Angel Harvest, a nonprofit which delivers good, un-served, perishable food to emergency feeding programs throughout Los Angeles.

"We hope viewers will come away with an understanding that environmental change can be achieved through a series of deliberate, but relatively simple first steps," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council who managed the greening effort.

"This effort embodies our industry's collective interest in taking responsibility for reducing our environmental footprint," said Academy President Sid Ganis. "We thank our telecast producer Laura Ziskin for encouraging us in this direction."

"In planning and producing the Oscars, we decided to choose supplies, resources and services that would reduce Oscar's ecological footprint," said Ziskin. "I am honored to have collaborated with the Academy and the NRDC to lay the groundwork for a more extensive, long-term program in the years to come."

And the Oscar goes to...

For all the winners, visit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at: http://www.oscars.org/79academyawards/nomswins.html