Last night at the Academy Awards, there was a strange moment that had people talking. It happened during the acceptance of the award for Best Documentary (Short Subject), which was won by the film Music by Prudence.
When the film won, director Roger Ross Williams came up to the stage to accept and make his speech. Out of nowhere, a woman came in took over the microphone as if no one was even there and began her own acceptance speech as Williams looked on stunned. This is of course being referred to as the “Kanye moment” after Kanye West infamously pulled the same stunt on Taylor Swift. It was so strange to see and until now, none of us had any idea of what happened side for the assumptions that maybe she had a Zoolander moment and thought another movie won.
The woman, as it turns out, was Elinor Burkett, who was also noted as one of the producers of the film. Burkett used to write for Salon, who was able to talk to both parties and uncover exactly what had happened to cause the situation. You can head over to the link to read mini interviews with both of them, but here is the basic explanation from both of them.
Click on over to read what they had to say and to see the video!
Here is what Elinor Burkett had to say:
What happened was the director and I had a bad difference over the direction of the film that resulted in a lawsuit that has settled amicably out of court. But there have been all these events around the Oscars, and I wasn’t invited to any of them. And he’s not speaking to me. So we weren’t even able to discuss ahead of the time who would be the one person allowed to speak if we won. And then, as I’m sure you saw, when we won, he raced up there to accept the award. And his mother took her cane and blocked me. So I couldn’t get up there very fast.
And here is Roger Ross Williams side of the story.
Only one person is allowed to accept the award. I was the director, and she was removed from the project nearly a year ago, but she was able to still qualify as a producer on the project, and be an official nominee. But she was very angry — she actually removed herself from the project – because she wanted more creative control.
That was handled by the publicist for the academy. I don’t know what they told her. The academy is very clear that only one person can speak. I own the film. She has no claim whatsoever. She has nothing to do with the movie. She just ambushed me. I was sort of in shock.
Apparently Burkett wanted the movie to be about the entire band, but Williams and the studio wanted to concentrate on this one girl, Prudence. Because of this, Burkett exited the project, and thus, was out of line in her actions in my own humble opinion. Apparently it was a smart decision to focus on Prudence because hey, they have an Oscar now.
In the very least, at least Elinor Burkett made the Documentary Short Subject category more exciting than it usually is, and likely brought a lot more attention to it than it would have ever had before.
Here is the video. You can watch the whole video, or you can jump to around the 2:30 mark to see the controversy.