Cheers for Oscar Comments

February 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


During the Oscar ceremonies on Sunday, February 22, there were a number of statements made by award winners that are worth noting—and cheering. Among them were the following:

Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden

Laura Poitras won the Best Documentary award for her film Citizenfour which, as the film's website describes it, gives "audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald's encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasion of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA)." Standing on the Oscar stage next to Greenwald, Poitras said, “The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself. When the most important decisions being made affecting all of us are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage and for the many other whistleblowers. And I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.”

The U.S. government has charged Snowden with felonies under the Espionage Act and cancelled his passport, forcing him into exile in Russia. In a statement released after Citizenfour won, Snowden said: “When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

Patricia Arquette

Accepting her award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood, Patricia Arquette shouted out, "To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!"

John Legend

The award for Best Original Song went to "Glory" from Selma, by John Legend and Common. The two did a spectacular performance of the song at the Oscar ceremonies with a full chorus and stage recreation of the Edmund Pettus Bridge—the site of a brutal, bloody attack by police on civil rights marchers in 1965, a scene dramatically depicted in Selma.

When John Legend accepted the award he said: “… Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today.”

He also said that the U.S. is "the most incarcerated country in the world" and “there are more Black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850.  When people are marching with our song—we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you and march on.”

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