Michael Moore's 1989 debut documentary Roger & Me made him rich and famous and put him in the spotlight as a champion of the common folk against corporate greed. (The Roger of the title was Roger Smith, then the president of General Motors; the film examined GM's role in Moore's struggling hometown of Flint, Michigan.) Almost comically un-glamorous and notoriously liberal, Moore appears in his own films as narrator and interviewer and has made a career out of being funny and provocative in print as well as on screen. He has hosted television shows (TV Nation and The Awful Truth in the mid-1990s), worked on the staff of Mother Jones magazine, and authored the best-selling books Downsize This! (1996) and Stupid White Men...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation (2002). Bowling for Columbine (2002), his documentary about gun-related violence in the United States, won the 2003 Oscar for Best Documentary. In 2004 his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, a harsh analysis of the Saudi Arabian ties of George W. Bush, won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Moore's acceptance speech at the 2003 Academy Awards included a now-famous tirade against George W. Bush, whom Moore called a "fictitious president"... The title Fahrenheit 9/11 is a play on Fahrenheit 451, the futuristic novel by Ray Bradbury in which books are burned at that temperature.