A total of 126 documentaries were eligible for an Academy Award this year, and a selection committee recently narrowed those down to 15 hopefuls for five nominations. Dozens were snubbed, but the producers of 2016: Obama's America say their film's exclusion is evidence of something more sinister.Obviously, there's no reason why D'Souza's movie — even if it was popular — should be a finalist instead of those other movies — which we know little or nothing about, but which the selection committee supposedly watched and judged according to a set of principles about what makes a movie Oscar-worthy. Big box office is never the key to winning an Oscar, and in the documentary category, there are some traditional standards that skew toward more neutral, historical/scientific presentations.
The anti-Obama film directed by Dinesh D'Souza was roundly panned by critics, though it rode word of mouth to a $33 million gross. D'Souza said the film's success would have resulted in a nomination if it weren't for Hollywood's bias. "Liberal political ideology, not excellence, is the true standard of what receives awards," he said.
I'm sure D'Souza knows all this. It was savvy of him to leverage the occasion to get attention for his film, and I suspect Slate knows that. Slate will get attention for debunking D'Souza, even as it give him the publicity he wants. Everybody wins.
ADDED: You can, of course, purchase the movie, but if I were recommending documentaries that weren't nominated for Oscars, I'd have plenty of others ahead of that. ""Grey Gardens" and "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control" to begin with.