“This Is Spinal Tap” is a hilarious movie that was released in 1984. It’s a fictional account of a fictional rock band (the world’s loudest…) on a fictional come-back tour shot in documentary style, complete with back-stage antics and actual concert clips. The movie was so well done that decades later, some people still think Spinal Tap was real. It was ground breaking: the first “mockumentary.”

In stark contrast to the tongue-firmly-in-cheek nature of “This Is Spinal Tap,” the movie “Gasland” is a fiction masquerading as truth. John Hanger, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection told the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gasland is “fundamentally dishonest” and “a deliberately false presentation for dramatic effect.”

And Hollywood is drinking the Gasland Kool-Aid: the film was recently nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Documentary film.

“For anyone who cares about the environment and the economy over glamor and gossip, the biggest Oscar surprise of 2011 is that the film “Gasland” was nominated for best documentary,” wrote the The Washington Examiner. “While Hollywood is typically in the business of creating legends, one would expect films nominated for this particular Oscar to have some tangible relationship to the truth. You’d be very hard-pressed to say that about “Gasland.”

Take a look at this video produced by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). Yes, ANGA is an industry group, and yes, the clip is a little schmaltzy. Unlike Gasland, though, ANGA’s credibility matters where it counts the most: fact checking, sourcing of material and rigorous research.

Perhaps the Academy should create a new category of Oscar: Best Mockumentary. Though it doesn’t hold a candle to “This Is Spinal Tap,” I have no doubt Gasland would qualify and might even win.

Dan Kirschner is Executive Director of the Northwest Gas Association.

For more writing by Dan and other members of NWGA, please visit the NWGA Natural Gas blog.