When Jerry Seinfeld came out to present the Best Documentary Award at last month's Oscar telecast, I turned to the person next to me (who was a total stranger) and said "Seinfeld presenting an Oscar? Who's next? Ray Romano?" And then the comic kicked in with a real tired old piece of comedy schtick about the litter you often find in movie theaters. (I guess by now he's run out of jokes about airplane food.) Anyway, the guy was a silly choice to be an Oscar presenter -- and now one of the Oscar-nominated documentarians has decided to speak up for another reason.

Iraq in Fragments
producer John Sinno is more than a little unhappy -- justifiably so if you ask me -- and he's not being shy about his displeasure. I'll post the full letter (entitled "An Open Letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences") after the jump, but here's the gist of his umbrage: Seinfeld was pretty damn disrespectful of the documentary genre while cracking jokes for a billion-plus audience. Mr. Sinno is particularly unhappy with the ignorant and dismissive way in which the Oscar-nominated documentaries were described as "incredibly depressing!" (I was particularly unhappy about the really obvious humor from a guy who really ought to have some good new material by this point. Wow, docos about war are "depressing!" You go, Seinfeld, that's some insight!)

Sinno's got a point: If ever there were ever opportunity to educate and elucidate a large audience as to the importance of documentary films, it would be during the annual Oscar broadcast. Yet Seinfeld (who appeared in one half-decent documentary that probably had ten times the budget of Iraq in Fragments) took the stage and basically reinforced all the lamest stereotypes out there. I mean, would it be so hard to find presenters (and joke writers) who actually know a little bit about film? Or is it preferable to simply roll out a disinterested billionaire and let him "humorously" spew a bunch of short-sighted fallacies? (Oh, but if they chose a different presenter we might have missed all that hilarious stuff about movie theater litter!) Well, we now know where John Sinno stands; his letter to the Academy is included below.
categories Awards, Cinematical