Declaring it was about time, filmmaker Errol Morris won the Best Documentary Oscar Sunday for “The Fog of War,” a life and times of Vietnam-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and pointedly warned the United States was going down the same “rabbit hole” in Iraq.
“I’d like to thank the Academy for finally recognizing my films,” said Morris, who has never before won an Oscar despite making such acclaimed works as “The Thin Blue Line.” “I thought it would never happen,” he said.
McNamara served Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson during some of the U.S. buildup in Vietnam, and Morris cautioned that the United States was headed down a path as brutal as Vietnam with the ongoing war in Iraq.
“Forty years ago this country went down a rabbit hole in Vietnam and millions died,” Morris said. “I fear we’re going down a rabbit hole once again — and if people can stop and think and reflect on some of the ideas and issues in this movie, perhaps I’ve done some damn good here!” Morris said to thunderous applause from the audience.
After Morris finished, Oscars host Billy Crystal joked “I can’t wait for his tax audit.”
Morris’ speech marked the second year in a row that a controversial documentarian expressed anti-war sentiments in accepting an Oscar.
In 2003, Michael Moore, the director of “Bowling for Columbine,” went on what became a notorious rant against President Bush and the war in Iraq, eliciting boos from a jittery audience as protesters marched against the war just down the street from the Kodak Theatre.
Also on Sunday, Maryann DeLeo won the Oscar for best short-subject documentary for “Chernobyl Heart,” the story of the health impacts on children living in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, site of a 1986 disaster.
“I feel you are also honoring the people of Chernobyl who are suffering the effects of radiation still, 18 years later,” she said.