Revealed: Conspiracies behind the Best Documentary Oscar Award since 2000

Let’s see for ourselves if Sharmeen’s documentary is a ‘big western conspiracy against Pakistan’ or just a genuine reward for her efforts

Ever since Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the Oscar for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for her documentary, A Girl in the River: Price of Forgiveness, she has been dubbed as a ‘traitor’, a ‘Western sellout’ and a conspirator who depicts a bad image of Pakistan to the world. The reason given for such vehement criticism is that she could have made a documentary on something positive about Pakistan.

A lot has been written on the issue and the troubled notion far-right nationalists in Pakistan have for Sharmeen. Instead of going into the same discussion again, I will discuss the documentaries that have won Oscars since 2000. Let’s see for ourselves if Sharmeen’s documentary is a ‘big western conspiracy against Pakistan’ or just a genuine reward for her efforts.

2000: Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport

Written and directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, the documentary explores a British operation to rescue thousands of Jewish children from Nazi-controlled areas. These children were accommodated in Britain with a hope of them getting reunited with their parents – most of whom never did.

While the film depicts the efforts by British government, it also shows how ruthless Nazis were. Did Germans criticize it for showing their country under a bad light? Go figure.

2001: Murder on a Sunday Morning

The documentary is based on the Brenton Butler case which caught media spotlight. A 15-year old Brenton Butler was arrested by police over a murder – to which Butler confessed. However, when the case went in court, Butler testified to having being tortured into the confession.

Err, how did they give the documentary an Oscar? It clearly shows the malpractices of US police who didn’t even spare a young boy!

2002: Bowling for Columbine

It is a film by Michael Moore. Who doesn’t know Michael Moore? The famous, dissident American who along with Noam Chomsky our right-wing adores to quote. He discusses the causes of the Columbine High School massacre in which 13 people were murdered and more than 21 injured. The documentary also explores gun and violence culture in the United States.

Just 13 people were killed. Why would he make a whole documentary and even win an Oscar for it? Petty Americans.

2003: The Fog of War

Errol Morris directs this semi-biographical documentary based on the former US Defense Secretary, Robert S. McNamara. He discusses the tactics of, and lessons he learnt from the modern warfare.

Something ‘positive’, eh?

2004: Born into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids

This Indian-American documentary gives an in-depth insight on the plight of children who are given birth by the prostitutes in the Red light district of Kolkata.

I thought it was the conspiracy of ‘yahood o hunood’! Since when did these bloody Indians start selling their faults to win Oscars?

2005: March of the Penguins

Directed and co-written by Luc Jacquet, the film follows the yearly journey of the emperor penguins of Antarctica.

Boring. Who cares about Penguins unless they have accepted Islam?

2006: An Inconvenient Truth

Former US Vice President Al Gore’s talks about warning the masses of the growing trends of global warming and the resultant climate change have been documented in this film.

I am sure another Illuminati conspiracy to meddle with Godly affairs.

2007: Taxi to the Dark Side

This Oscar winner focuses on an Afghan taxi driver who was brutally tortured to death by American soldiers in a detention center. It further goes on to analyze the US torture policy and what the opponents think of it.

Damn. I can’t find any conspiracy behind this but there must be one.

2008: Man on Wire

A biographical film chronicling the life of Philippe Petit – the man behind high-wire walk between the famous towers of World Trade Center. 

They could have made a biographical feature on Maulana Fazlur Rehman instead.

2009: The Cove

The film questions the dolphin hunting being practiced in Japan and the environmental risks that it brings.

Cry conspiracy, Japan! How dare someone question you killing dolphins or us killing womenfolk?

2010: Inside Job

It explores "the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption,” as described by the Director, Charles H. Ferguson.

Where is the conspiracy?

2011: Undefeated

The film chronicles the journey of a US high school football team, Manassas Tigers of Memphis as they go on a winning streak after years of losses.

I hate these arrogant, self-centered Americans. They could have filmed the 30th October 2011 jalsa of PTI instead.

2012: Searching for Sugar Man

According to Wikipedia, “this is a Swedish–British documentary film of a South African cultural phenomenon directed and written by Malik Bendjelloul which details the efforts of two Cape Town fans in the late 1990s, Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true.”

Gosh. Don’t they have anything else to do? Like taking part in jihad?

2013: 20 Feet from Stardom

The film follows the lives of backup singers as to what happens behind the scenes.

Grrr. So not Islamic.

2014: Citizenfour

If there is one American hero for our right-wing, it’s Edward Snowden. The documentary follows his path to revealing one of the darkest secrets in the US history – domestic surveillance.

How the hell did it win the Oscar? Judges must be high on something. Guess why is intoxication haram in Islam?

2015: Amy

The film explores the life of UK singer, Amy Winehouse. It depicts the difficulties she faced being a star and how it affected her life.

Music is the tool of Shaitaan, after all.

Umer Ali is an Islamabad-based journalist who reads and writes about Pakistan and its history. He aspires to see a tolerant and progressive Pakistan. Follow him on Twitter

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