My modest prediction last week that former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore will ride an Oscar win and a Nobel nomination to launch a 2008 presidential election bid brought a vigorous online response. Especially over at Jeffrey Wells' popular Hollywood Elsewhere blog (www.hollywood-elsewhere.com), where an astounding 101 respondents debated my sanity prior to engaging in an all-out cyberbrawl over the various players and policies of U.S. politics.
One thing I didn't predict is that Gore would launch his campaign from the stage of the Kodak Theatre on Feb. 25, if, as expected, his global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth wins the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. That would be a really nutty prediction, especially since there's no guarantee Gore could even take the stage. The Oscar would go to director Davis Guggenheim, not the ex-veep, even though Gore stars in nearly every frame. And yet it seems some people think that Gore might use the Academy Awards stage as a presidential platform, as L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke writes in her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog. (For the record, Finke doesn't think it's going to happen, either.) Gore would look like the worst kind of grandstander to hijack the Oscars for a political pitch, and he knows it.
He also has everything to gain by delaying his announcement until later this year, because he's still on a roll promoting his film and spreading the green planet doctrine. (He'll be speaking to a sold-out crowd Feb. 21 at the University of Toronto.) Once he commits to being in the race, the meter starts running on campaign contributions and all of his actions and statements are viewed with much more critical scrutiny. But I still stand by my prediction that he will run, and he will win.