In a campaign mailer perfectly timed to coincide with the Academy Awards show (it's one of those “only in L.A.” political moments), Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel takes off the gloves and proclaims that rival Eric Garcetti has won “Worst Performance by a Politician in a Leading Role” from the “Academy of Los Angeles Taxpayers.” No joke!

Greuel goes so far as to photoshop Garcetti's head on top of an Oscar statuette, saying that Garcetti starred in something called “Nightmare on Spring Street” — that's where L.A. City Hall is located. The whole thing is quite the hoot, but the Garcetti campaign says certain members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are not too pleased.

Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman says that the campaign has received “several” complaints from Academy members who believe Greuel has “misused” the Oscar statuette. Never mind the fact that Los Angeles may be facing bankruptcy, the pension system is broken, city services have been slashed, and high school dropout rates are way too high.

The Academy is known to be fussy about how Oscar is used by outsiders, and L.A. Weekly is waiting for a reply from Academy officials to hear what they think about the Greuel mailer.

The Greuel campaign also seems to make use of the Cannes Film Festival's laurel leaf logo.

Wendy Greuel campaign mailer

Wendy Greuel campaign mailer

Millman wouldn't get into the specifics of Greuel's charges, but suggests she may run into copyright infringement trouble by using the statuette. “Instead of debunking this mailer,” he says, “I'll just wish Wendy luck dealing with the Academy's lawyers.”

Greuel basically tells voters in the mailer that Garcetti is an unethical, freeloading wimp who doesn't handle money very well.

Greuel uses quotes from newspapers — just like a movie ad, get it — that says Garcetti is “too easily pushed around,” that he has “no confidence,” and that he “must bear the responsibility for the city's current fiscal problems.”

The mailer also states that “Eric Garcetti loves to live it up on the public dime while making horrific cuts to the critical city services we rely on.”

In addition to his “Worst Performance” award, according to Greuel, Garcetti wins first place honors for “Worst Use of Public Funds,” “Worst Economic Failure,” and “Worst Ethics.” That's four awards total! What a night!

It's a better showing than Lincoln, Argo, Les Miserables, Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty on Sunday.

It's surprising Greuel didn't give Garcetti an award for “Stiffest Politician in a Campaign TV Ad,” but guess that went to someone else. You can't win them all.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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