Michael Moore plans to enter Fahrenheit 9/11 as best picture, rather than best documentary, at the Academy Awards.
Moore's documentary was the first to pass the $100m mark in the US
The film, which slams President George W Bush's war on terror, has become the highest grossing documentary.
But Moore said he hoped to have the film aired on television before November's presidential election to reach "as many Americans as possible".
According to Academy rules, this would invalidate its entry in the documentary category, but not for best film.
Moore said, for him, the "real Oscar" would be President Bush's defeat and added he "had not given up trying" to get the film broadcast on television before the election.
He said: "Although I have no assurance from our home video distributor that they would allow a one-time television broadcast - and the chances are they probably won't - I have decided it is more important to take that risk and hope against hope that I can persuade someone to put it on TV, even if it's the night before the election.
"Therefore, I have decided not to submit Fahrenheit 9/11 for consideration for the Best Documentary Oscar.
"If there is even the remotest of chances that I can get this film seen by a few million more Americans before election day, then that is more important to me than winning another documentary Oscar."
Moore won the best documentary Oscar in 2003 with anti-gun culture film Bowling for Columbine.
The deadline to submit Fahrenheit 9/11 for the documentary category was last Wednesday.
Moore added: "I told my crew who worked on the film, let's let someone else have that Oscar."
He also said he wanted to be "supportive of my team-mates in non-fiction film", including documentaries such as Super Size Me and Control Room.
"It's not that I want to be disrespectful and say I don't ever want to win a [documentary] Oscar again," Moore said.
"This just seems like the right thing to do... I don't want to take away from the other nominees and the attention that they richly deserve."
Fahrenheit 9/11, which also attacks President Bush's policy on Iraq, has been cheered by Democrats but has enraged supporters of the president, with some calling it "propaganda".
Moore, who was an unofficial speaker at the Democratic convention in Boston in July, was booed last week by delegates at the Republican convention in New York.