HONORING ELIA KAZAN: ANOTHER AWKWARD OSCAR MOMENT
In 1999, the Motion Picture Academy voted to give director/writer/novelist/ratfink Elia Kazan an honorary Oscar for his lifetime's work. Hell hath no fury like righteous Hollywood prigs, however, and mayhem ensued. Kazan's testimony for the HUAC in the early 1950s (in which he named names of his former Communist Party 'cellmates') was still fresh in the minds of much of the older Hollywood crowd (most notably screenwriter Abraham Polonsky) and protests began immediately, with many asking the Academy to rescind the honor. They didn't. Accompanied onstage by Robert De Niro and Martin Scorcese, the ninety-year old Kazan endured a combination of a standing ovation and overt snubs by members who refused to stand or even applaud. Most righteous among them are Ed Harris and Nick Nolte, neither of whom worked with him or were old enough at the time of the HUAC hearings to know what the fuss was about and both of whom would most likely not have become actors if not for Brando and 'On The Waterfront.' Kazan's speech is simple, not at all political and ends on a very poignant note: 'I think I can slip away', says the old director, well aware of the sentiments--earned and unearned--of so many in the audience. Above I've posted the speech as well as a very good little ten minute doc on the whole messy controversy.
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 11:22 AM