An Oscar Reply

Stephen Maxner


What follows is the pre-Academy Awards statement from the five directors nominated for Best Foreign Film, with my paragraph by paragraph reply.

On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.

On behalf of all normal people, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of hateful filmmakers who care not how ordinary people must live their lives, but insist that the fantasy worlds and uber-sensitivities of a tiny fraction of the population join forces with the cynical users in the political, activist, and corporate one percent, along with all those seeking an easy and thoughtless solution to the eternal struggle that is life, in order to crush human spirit and individual inspiration out of senseless greed and ignorance (although not leading filmmakers in this particular case, it is true).

The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on—not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly “foreign” and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

The violence that the left perpetuates on a consistent basis in response to their imagined fear of a non-existent violence from the right, work to destroy the very protections we all rely on (the left more than anyone as they rely on the very protection of the police they seek to destroy in their peaceful marches). The American culture of independent spirit and free market humanism has uplifted no less than the world, and the left seeks to destroy it out of self-loathing and envy. Our diverse cultures fight to survive the attempted forcing of a near-monolith of thought on whole classes of people insisting not that they incorporate what is best about this country, but rather, what is worst about humanity, simply because of the color of their skin or the origin of their birth. The walls we seek as a redress are no less than the final bulwark against the global hegemony of globalist rulers and the final defeat of the human spirit.

So we’ve asked ourselves: What can cinema do? Although we don’t want to overestimate the power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other people’s circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy, and compassion—even for those we have been told are our enemies.

So we’ve asked ourselves: What can Americans do? Although there is no way to overestimate the power of the American spirit in fighting against the fascism of the left, we do believe that it is us, and us alone, that can prevent the “all-caring” and “all-knowing” global leftists from subverting all humanity to their own individual glories and wealth in the name of equality in poverty and dependence.

Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

Regardless of what some foreigners who seek enrichment and recognition from the very culture that has shaped the entire world in almost every way over the last century or so say, borders remain of vital importance to protect the heart of the culture that the world has so greedily adopted in almost universal cause. If ever a case could be made for the best country, based on its setting the stage through unparalleled and unprecedented documents of human beauty and subsequently acting as the cauldron of political fire to ultimately incorporate those principles among all people, that case belongs to the United States of America. And second place would be akin to comparing the Best Picture Oscar to Best Foreign Film. The unity among nations that this award will symbolize requires nothing less, and nothing more, than the enforcement and legitimacy that only the USA can offer, and thus, your voices are moot.

Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.

Human rights are indeed universally granted by God, but they are also widely restricted and abused by Man. It is America, and America alone in all but that has led the fight since its inception for the world. For this reason, we dedicate your award to all the people in the world on behalf of the current man leading that charge of freedom – Donald Trump. It is he who will provide the cover for your hatred, and it is he who you mean to offer your respect and gratitude. If I may, I accept both on his behalf.

Martin Zandvliet—Land Of Mine ( Denmark )

Hannes Holm—A Man Called Ove ( Sweden )

Asghar Farhadi—The Salesman ( Iran )

Maren Ade—Toni Erdmann ( Germany )

Martin Butler, Bentley Dean—Tanna ( Australia )

Stephen Maxner – (America)

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