Monday, March 24
The Courage of Their Convictions
Steven Shults, Commondreams.org, March 24, 2003
It's been at least ten years since I've watched The Oscars, probably more like fifteen. The whole spectacle makes about as much sense to me as taking an apple, an orange, a banana, a pear and a peach and voting one "best fruit."
This year, however, I decided to watch again.
I wanted to see who made the choice to display an emblem of peace on their multi-hundred dollar attire, and who had the courage to donate some of their time at the podium to the peace movement.
Overall what I saw was very encouraging.
I saw a total of thirty people with silver dove pins or peace symbols on their lapels and gowns shown on camera either while in their seats or at the 'podium.'
Eight people used their time at the podium to speak for peace, against war or at least to acknowledge that people are suffering because of war.
No statements were made in specific support of the invasion of Iraq, though caring and respect was shown for the welfare of the men and women ordered into the hell of combat.
It may seem a small thing to wear a pin or speak your mind, but in a town where "it's not what you know, it's who you know" taking such a simple action can also be putting your livelihood the line.
Perhaps more treacherous is the possibility that one may no longer be 'allowed' to practice one's art. [...]
Here are the words of those spoke out for peace, against war and it's effects, or against the current political climate, while on stage:
"And in light of all the troubles in this world, I wish us all peace." (loud applause)
Gael Garcia Bernal:
"The necessity for peace in the world is not a dream. It is a reality, and we are not alone. If Frida was alive, she would be on our side, against war." (whoops, cheers and loud applause)
"I've invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage. They're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of Orange Alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. Any time you've got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up." (raucous mixture of booing, cheers and applause starting at midpoint and continuing until exit music)
"It fills me with great joy, but I am also filled with a lot of sadness tonight because I'm accepting an award at such a strange time. My experiences of making this film made me very aware of the sadness and dehumanization of people in times of war and the repercussions of war. Whether you believe in God or Allah, may he watch over you and let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution." (loud applause) "I have a friend from Queens who's a soldier in Kuwait right now, Tommy Szarabinski, and I hope you and your boys make it back real soon and God bless you guys, I love you." (more applause and standing ovation)
"I'm very proud to live in a country that guarantees every citizen, including artists, the right to sing and to say what we believe." (loud applause)
"Why do you come to the Academy Awards when the world is in such turmoil? Because art is important" (cheers and applause) "Because art is important and because you believe in what you do and you want to honor that. At the same time you say there's a lot of problems in the world and since 9/11 there's been a lot of pain in terms of families losing people, and now there's a war with families losing people, and God bless them." (loud applause and cheers)
Frank Pierson (academy president):
"To our men and women overseas, godspeed and let's get you home soon. And to the Iraqi people, I say, let's have peace soon and let you live without war." (loud applause)
"I would like to dedicate this award to all the people that are raising their voices in favor of peace, respect of human rights, democracy and international legality" (cheers and loud applause)
Of these statements, Adrian Brody's was by far the most eloquent, the most moving and the most powerful. It was made even more so by the fact that the orchestra had begun to play to signal that his time was up, but he admonished them to stop playing so he could speak his peace (literally and figuratively.) The enthusiastic appreciation of the standing ovation which followed made his words yet more powerful as the vast majority of his peers in attendance added their support of his sentiments by their ovation.
Michael Moore's acceptance speech will get far more media attention than Brody's however. In perfect Michael Moore style, he expressed raw indignation and ire in with no holds barred.[...]