Hug It Out, Al!

Memo to: Al Gore

From: Ari Gold

Subject: Your Oscar Speech

Dear Al:

Before I go any further here, allow me to apologize in advance for calling you “Al,” as opposed to “Mr. Vice President.”

Sure, it might seem overly familiar.

But Al—dude—VeepMan—now that you’ve got the Oscar nomination and you’re officially in show business, the local working rules apply. We call everybody by their first name, whether we know ’em or not: Jack. Marty. Steven. Harvey. Gustav. (The G-Man is my biofuels connection over at the Benz dealership over on Beverly. If you’re looking for an ethanol conversion, just say the word, I’ll hook you up.)

Anyway, Al, let me come to the point: As you, of all people, know, few things in this life are certain. Marty for Best Picture this year? Done. Borat II? In the works. Your Oscar for Best Doc?

It’s in the swag bag.

So, as you and Flipper fly out here (and no, that’s not a typo—one of my partners represents the dolphin, and I hear he’s booked to present the award), I’m sure you’re looking forward to the free jeans, the free iPods and the free pedicures at one of the celeb lounges (just go with it, dude). But I’ve got two words of warning for you:

Roberto Benigni.

Who’s Roberto Benigni, you ask? Precisely my point: He’s the Italian guy who climbed over the seats to pick up the Oscar for Life Is Beautiful in 1999—after which he vaporized and disappeared into the ozone like yesterday’s carbon emissions. (Yeah, I know that’s not exactly right. But you know what I mean.)

The thing of it is, Al, the morning after you get the statue, every studio in this town is going to be asking: What do you want to do next? A sequel? A remake? Another Inconvenient Truth? But this time, they’re going to expect you to do it bigger, and better, with lots of special effects: Change the carbon emissions to meteorites; switch out the oil lobby for aliens; tweak the McGuffin, from man-made environmental catastrophe to the Big Bang theory and the impending collapse of the universe. Bruce Willis and Michael Bay, here we come.

But somehow, Al, I know it’s not you. It’s not where your career should be heading.

All of which is why I think you should skip the usual Oscar speech and announce that you’re running for President—even if I can’t commission the salary.

C’mon, Al. Don’t laugh. You know you’re thinking about it. And it’s a hell of a lot better than making the announcement on (please, somebody stop them!) The Daily Show. So bear with me here:

Sure, Obama just got in the race. And he’s got some support. But on the ground out here in L.A., outside the old “Friends of Bill,” Hillary’s campaign is a non-starter. Too divisive, too much baggage, too much triangulation. When she kicked off her campaign with the line “Let the conversation begin” (written by a New York ad guy), we groaned, because it sounded as if it was written by a New York ad guy. When she said she’d “resent it” if George Bush didn’t get us out of Iraq by January 2009, she sounded petulant. In the age of viral marketing and the Internet (no joke here, just take credit already), where voters want to feel empowered and power bubbles up, it feels like she’s running an old ward-boss campaign. And when she says “It’s time for a woman president,” we agree—but answer “Yes, but not you.” Entitlement is not a job qualification. (And before you ask: Yes, Marty is “entitled” to the Oscar this year, and he’ll probably get it. But not because he said so.)

Moreover, we still don’t know where she stands on the war. And while we’ll always have a soft spot for Bill, it’s time to move on. We don’t want to relive the 90’s; we don’t want to get dragged through the mud over every dime he’s taken over the past eight years in speaking fees. (Remember when Hillary was bewailing the proposed takeover of our ports by a Dubai-based firm while Bill was advising the company? It’s something we’d rather forget.)

Then there’s you, Al:

—You’re on the right side of the war.

—You own the environment.

—You’ve already won the popular vote once before.

So, for all of our sakes, give it a think. Make the speech short and self-deprecating (no reason to bring in Naomi Wolf; go with the classic black tux) and say something to the effect of: “I think I’m supposed to say it’s nice to be nominated. But having been ‘nominated’ once before, I’ve got to tell you: It’s a lot better to win …. Which is why, tonight, I’m announcing my candidacy for President. Together, with your help, we can return to the kind of people we once were, and go forward to become the kind of great nation were always destined to be.”

And that’s it. Over, done and out. And by the time you show up Graydon’s, there won’t be a full checkbook in the house.

Get back to me as soon as you can on this, Al. Obama is waiting in the wings. But in the meantime, keep one thing in mind:

There’s only one thing Hollywood loves more than a winner:

A comeback.

Hug it out, babe,

Ari.