Investigation Reports ‘Tyson’ Not Extorted in Oscar Doc Controversy


I am not a person that seeks out many documentaries. I enjoy watching them whenever I do see them, but I don’t hunt them down the way so many others do. So, when the Academy announced the 15 documentaries that made their short list for Oscar nomination consideration I didn’t even think twice about dissecting the list as much as I just wanted to put it out there for others to see and evaluate on their own.

To no surprise, the absence of Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, Tyson and most notably Anvil: The Story of Anvil drew the most bewildering looks as the Internet has allowed word on not only fanboy driven fare to gain more attention but documentaries as well. Anvil is most likely the one documentary that most online commenters and film fans were upset at its omission, but it is Tyson that began stirring up the pot.

In Friday’s New York Times Tyson director James Toback made quite the accusation suggesting that an irregularity in the process had contributed to what he saw as a snub. Toback added, “[How] is some tiny, dirty covert weirdly protective little group within the Academy going to be immune [to questions of validity]?”

Toback says he was confronted with something connected with the selections process, “which [he] put fully in the category of extortion,” but he did not go along.

The “Times” article is written by Michael Cieply who took the claim to Rob Epstein, a filmmaker who is chairman of the executive committee of the documentary branch, who said, “I have no idea. It certainly hasn’t come before me.” Steve Pond at The Wrap has learned the investigation didn’t stop there.

The Academy also investigated and Academy executive director, Bruce Davis, told Pond Toback’s “concern was that one of the documentarians voting to pick the shortlist bore him a grudge and should have recused himself/herself from the balloting.”

However, after asking PricewaterhouseCoopers to examine the voting records the accounting firm “assured [Davis] that ‘no single voter was responsible for [Tyson‘s] failure to make the shortlist…'”

Pond’s explanation of the situation at hand goes a bit deeper and will be particularly interesting to those upset at the snubbing of one of their favorites. Get the rest here.