Past Political Oscar Wins

Bowling for Columbine - 2002 (Best Documentary Feature)

More than a decade before the Sandy Creek Elementary School tragedy, the nation was introduced to mourning the loss of life as a result of gun violence in 1999 with the massacre at Columbine High School.

In response to the shooting, Michael Moore wrote, produced and directed Bowling for Columbine as an attempt to find the cause for widespread gun violence in the United States, which won the 2002 Academy Award for best documentary feature. The film traces many popular theories behind the issue including the impact of the media, weapon accessibility, American culture and government action.

While the film stirred debate between gun control and gun rights activists on Capitol Hill, the most political topic associated with Bowling for Columbine was Moore's Academy Award acceptance speech. After being announced as the winner, Moore rallied the rest of the documentary film nominees on stage to accept the Oscar with him and proceeded to voice his disdain for the Bush administration.

"We like nonfiction, and we live in fictitious times," Moore said. "We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president."

Amidst cheers and jeers, Moore continued his speech to specifically target George W. Bush before being cut off by the orchestra.

Although the speech faced an abrupt ending, the issue of gun violence seems to have no end in sight as it continues to be debated between the Obama Administration and Congress.

Milk - 2008 (Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Original Screenplay)

From Capitol Hill to Hollywood, the topic of gay marriage is often tied to politics. The movie, Milk, depicted this link through the life of gay rights activist and politician, Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to office in California. Milk was assassinated a few months later in November 1978.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors when Milk was assassinated and had to announce his death to the public.

Sean Penn portrayed Milk in the film and won an Academy Award for best actor in a leading role for his performance. The film also won an Academy Award for best original screenplay. Penn voiced his support for gay marriage in his acceptance speech.

"I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support, " Penn said. "We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

Today, Harvey Milk's legacy continues in politics through constant debates about the legalization of gay rights.

All the Kings Men - 1949 (Best Picture)

Based on Robert Penn Warren's novel of the same name, All The King's Men is a cinema classic that follows the ascent and demise of a southern politician when he becomes involved in corruption and is plagued by scandal. The movie won a 1949 Academy Award for best picture, and was remade in 2006.

As cited by the Modern Library, Warren "never intended for the [story] to be about politics," but popular culture dictates otherwise. Another Academy Award-winning movie, All the President's Men, tipped its hat to its political predecessor, in both its title and topics of political corruption and scandal.

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