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Dusting Off: The Politically Charged Oscars Speech

  • Najib Benouar


Before the advent of the 24-hour news cycle and Twitter, a movie star’s biggest offscreen stage was an awards show podium.

And there was none grander than the Oscars. So if a celebrity wanted to unequivocally take their stance on the current state of government, war, immigration, gay rights or what have you, they’d have to win first—then decide whether it was more important to thank the list of people who got them there or go off-book on some rant that would surely ruffle a few feathers. (Or, in the case of Marlon Brando, send up a Native American woman to decline accepting the award on his behalf.)

It made for the sort of incredibly surreal moment that we’ve been seeing less and less of lately. And that’s a shame. So, in honor of those sometimes patronizing, sometimes endearing and always overly passionate moments of stardom, we’d like to look back at a few of the finer exhibitions of celebrity political grandstanding.

Let’s go to the video, shall we.

Michael Moore wins for Bowling for Columbine.

Sean Penn wins for Milk.

Richard Gere as a presenter in 1993. Mysteriously, all footage of Gere’s emphatic teardown of Chinese human rights violations is nowhere to be found. Luckily, we’ve dug up this transcript.

Al Gore wins for An Inconvenient Truth.
Al Gore Oscar by greateggs

Marlon Brando wins for The Godfather and wins at life.
Marlon Brando's Oscar® win for " The Godfather" by WhiteWolf-Cree