In the annual run-up to the Oscars, it is an amusing traditional sideshow to watch massively hyped film directors snubbed by the nominations trade barbs with a glorious lack of restraint. In this case, however, the men in question have actually won the Academy Award before.
Mel Gibson yanked his financial backing from under the feet of Michael Moore's crusading documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which disappointed Moore heavily, as the director was counting on the Australian heart-throb's support.
Later, Gibson also turned down Time editors when they requested the two controversy-courting filmmakers to sit in on a joint discussion. The magazine was considering the two of them for a joint Man Of The Year award last year.
Moore, in a ruthless quote to Vanity Fair magazine, said, 'If I were to make a movie, it would be about turning the other cheek... And the meek shall inherit the earth.'
The Bowling For Columbine director further expressed his discomfort at 'how easily the vulnerable can be manipulated, twisted by images on the screen.'
Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, a passionate attempt at keeping George W Bush out of office, was unsuccessful in its mission. Also, the director refused to submit it as a documentary, trying instead for a Best Picture nomination. That did not happen.
Gibson's biblical epic, The Passion Of The Christ, was also relatively passed over by the Academy Award jury, relegating the film to comparatively 'lesser' nominations: make-up, cinematography, and musical score.
With all due respect, Gibson, if he wants to retort, could just say: 'Ditto.'
Photographs: Getty Images