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Altman: No intentional politics in ‘Prairie’

Director is ‘very proud’ of being chosen for a lifetime Oscar honor
/ Source: The Associated Press

Director Robert Altman says his big screen adaptation of "A Prairie Home Companion" wasn't intentionally political, but "reflects the truth of what's going on in ourselves."

The film was in keeping with Garrison Keillor's tradition of weaving politics into his radio show, but not overtly so, Altman said.

"I don't think that you can make a piece of art — or a song, or poem — all of these reflect the kinds of feelings that rub off on us; reflect the truth of what is going on in ourselves," Altman said Sunday following a screening of the movie at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The film, a fictionalized account of the last broadcast of the 30-year-old radio show, tells the story of what happens when Keillor finds out he's been taken over by a big conglomerate.

Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson and Kevin Kline, star alongside Keillor in the film, which was shot on location at Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the radio show is based.

Asked how he felt about being nominated for an Oscar recognizing his life's work, Altman said it was more important to him than receiving an award for an individual film.

"I'm very, very happy, very proud about that. I can't think of a better award," Altman said. "To me, it is better to be recognized for all my work than just for a couple of things."

Altman got best-director nominations for "M-A-S-H," "Nashville," "The Player," "Short Cuts" and "Gosford Park," but has never won an award.