In Impromptus today, I begin a weeklong series called “Nobel Nuggets” — odds and ends, bits and pieces, from the history of the Nobel Peace Prize. In the first installment, I say that Al Gore won the world’s two most famous prizes, and in the same year: the peace prize and the Oscar. That was in 2007 — a banner year for Gore, and about the bannerest year anyone could enjoy (from a public-recognition point of view).
Readers have written in to say that, technically, Gore did not win an Oscar. An Inconvenient Truth won Best Documentary Feature. Gore wrote it and starred in it. But the Oscar did not go to him personally.
Point well taken. But Gore is still, in a sense, an Oscar winner. Does that make me the Harry Blackmun of Oscar jurisprudence or something? So much better to be a Scalia . . .
In any event, I’m for giving Al Gore all the Nobel prizes and Oscars you can shake a stick at, as long as he is denied the presidency. Let me quote a colorful conservative politician, asked to sum up George W. Bush — this was in 2008, I believe: “Well, first of all, he kept two of the sorriest sumbitches who ever served in the U.S. Senate from being president.”
Both 2000 and 2004 were close-run things, with 2000, of course, being a kind of political nightmare.
If you have to lose the presidency, in such a hard, stunning, awful way, a Nobel prize and an Oscar provide a bit of a balm — even if that Oscar is a sort-of Oscar, or a not-quite one.