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Michael Moore's Acceptance Speech
at the Academy Awards
On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to — they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction.
We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or fiction of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush.
Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up.
Thank you very much.
Read analysis by William Thomas
MIKEY AT THE OSCARS
Upstaging a tearful Nicole Kidman, who won Best Actress at tonight’s protest-plagued Oscars, America’s favorite upstart, Michael Moore fired a few well-aimed shots after winning the Eleanor Roosevelt prize for Freedom of Speech for his documentary script, “Bowling For Columbine”.
Co-writer Michael Donovan shared the honor. The two Michaels made history when the Writers Guild of America nominated “Bowling For Columbine” as the first documentary film ever nominated in the Oscar’s screenwriting category after United Artists submitted the script.
“Bowling For Columbine” takes an unblinking look at America’s love affair with guns and violence, contrasting a country with 100-times more gun deaths than the next nearest nation with Canada’s large gun ownership but very low numbers of shootings. Moore’s astonishing and often nervously amusing movie also draws strong links to the U.S. weapons industry now on display in Iraq.
The American film industry's top honors are broadcast live. Each winners is given 45 seconds to speak on this world stage
Moore turned the audience of 3,500 gowned and tuxedoed luminaries, including Hollywood’s top stars, into pandemonium when he blasted Bush for exploiting the fear caused by the attacks of September 11, 2001 to launch “a useless and immoral war against Iraq.”
The outspoken Moore - who first made cinematic history with his in-your-face style of confrontational Big Theater video for “Roger and Me” - condemned the "high immorality" of the Bush regime for attempting to establish a bond between Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, without advancing proof.
"Because Americans died, it suited Bush to bombard another country which had nothing to do with September 11", Moore said in unscripted remarks printed in the European press.
Agence France Presse (AFP) headlined the story in France, running Moore’s brief text in full. "C'est une véritable honte. Ca déshonore ceux qui sont morts," the French press quoted Moore, in a verbal shot at Bush heard ‘round the globe: "It is a true shame. He dishonors those which died ".
A round of loud boos from the audience was met with cheering as Hollywood’s glitterati jumped to their feet in applause. Then came more catcalls. The rest of Moore’s speech was drowned out in the ensuing bedlam.
MICHAEL MOORE NOT ALONE IN HIS ANTI-KILLING STANCE.
Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon flashed peace signs as they entered. Julianne Moore - nominated for best actress and best supporting actress “Far From Heaven” and "The Hours" - displayed pale blue peace-sign pins on her purse, as did other nominees.
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal told the elite crowd that "necessity for peace in the world is not a dream but a reality."
Someone named Brody beat out Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine and Nicolas Cage to take home Best Actor in "The Pianist." He told a TV audience numbering in the tens of millions that his role as a Holocaust survivor had made him "very aware of the sadness" war causes. "Let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution," Brody beseeched the crowd, who leaped to their feet with applause.
RED CARPET ROLLED UP
According to AFP, at $1.5 million per 30 second “spot”, the Oscars usually generate at least another $75 million in revenues for the sponsoring network ABC - which is in turn Walt Disney Studios. But this year’s signature red carpet fashion show was cut to reflect a “more somber” festivities.
Outside the LA bash, about 50 protesters held signs saying, "Bring U.S. Soldiers Home". An equal number waved American flags and tied red, white and blue ribbons to the barricades and fencing.
Facing scandalized reporters backstage at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, Moore was his characteristic unapologetic self. "I'm an American, and you don't leave your citizenship when you enter the doors of the Kodak Theatre. What's great about this country is that you can speak your mind," he said.
"I say tonight I put America in a good light," he was quoted in the French press. "I showed how vital it is to have free speech in our country and all Americans have the right to stand up for what they believe in."
RUMORS OF PANIC IN D.C.
Rumors of panic in the White House over Moore’s award cannot be confirmed. But an increasingly frazzled cabal, already losing the Credibility War for world opinion, must be deeply shaken to realize how many more low-budget blockbusters Moore is going to produce with an Oscar worth more than $8 million in additional box office receipts.
Usually the most glamorous and lucrative self-congratulatory party of Hollywood's year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences spends around $41 million on staging the Disney-hosted event. The big studios throw in another $54 million on pre-awards publicity for their nominees.
That’s $95 million blown on a one-night Hollywood stand – while the CBC reports that U.S. forces continue to cut off water to more than one million civilians in Basra, after taking the main pumping for Iraq’s second biggest city more than 55 hours ago.
No wonder Moore was steamed.
William Thomas is the author of All Fall Down: The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion and Bringing The War Home . See also his award-winning documentary, “Eco War”.
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Copyright William Thomas. 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .