Toback charges Oscar doc committee with “extortion”

Posted by · 10:59 am · November 20th, 2009

James TobackAs I wrote yesterday about the Best Documentary Feature shortlist, I didn’t think the list’s much-ballyhooed omissions were indicative of much more than the rather particular tastes of one Academy branch. That, and perhaps an inclination to shine a light on worthy, but lower-profile, work.

Not everyone feels the same way, however — not least James Toback, director of one the most surprisingly slighted titles, “Tyson.” Speaking to the New York Times, Toback (a one-time Oscar nominee for his “Bugsy” screenplay) has made some rather astonishing insinuations about “irregularities” in the voting process:

At a time when the validity of even presidential elections is questioned, Mr. Toback said, “how is some tiny, dirty covert weirdly protective little group within the Academy going to be immune?”

Pressed for details, Mr. Toback said only that he had experienced something connected with the selections process, “which I put fully in the category of extortion that I did not go along with.”

Toback offers no further details or specifics, so unless he (or someone else) elaborates, it’s difficult to know how seriously to take such implications.

Rob Epstein, chairman of the Academy doc committee, obviously claims to be baffled by his comments. Not sure what to make of the whole affair, but it’ll be interesting to see if it sparks further conspiracy theories.

1 Comment Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

1 response so far

  • 1 11-21-2009 at 7:50 am

    louise mcallen said...

    I have not seen all the docs that made the short list but I have seen TYSON. It’s really good because of what it says about America. It’s not just about someone who made it. It’s about someone who made it and lost it. Concept in art is always important. That this doc did not make the short list tells me that the persons who choose may not be so good at art. They love politics, anything that shows how hard life is outside of the United States, they love foreign issues, and Daniel Ellsberg – c’mon! I saw that live and it could have put you to sleep then. And how much more stuff do we have to see about Bagdhad? What about all the American soldiers who have been maimed and killed there? No, I don’t think the people who choose what gets on the short list are as good as they used to be. Maybe that’s why TYSON and a couple others did not make it.