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SOME STAND, OTHERS SIT; KAZAN DECLINES COMMENT.

Byline: Phil Davis Daily News Staff Writer

After a round of applause that included both standing ovations and icy silence, Elia Kazan accepted the Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday without mentioning blacklisting or the McCarthy hearings.

In what was perhaps the most anticipated acceptance speech of the 71st Academy Awards, the 89-year-old director just said thank you.

``I want to thank the academy for its courage, generosity,'' Kazan said. ``Thank you all very much. I think I could just slip away.''

Kazan's brief speech was preceded by a round of applause that put Hollywood's biggest stars on the spot as television cameras panned the auditorium to show who was standing, who was clapping - and who was sitting quietly in protest.

Among those who were seated with arms folded or by their sides were actors Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Nick Nolte.

Those offering a standing ovation included actor-director Warren Beatty and actors Kurt Russell, Helen Hunt and Kathy Bates.

Fellow director Steven Spielberg and his actress wife, Kate Capshaw, applauded but did not stand.

The award was bestowed by actor Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorsese, who praised Kazan's contributions to film and introduced a montage of Kazan's work, including 1947's ``Gentleman's Agreement'' and 1954's ``On the Waterfront'' - both of which earned him directing Oscars.

The 47 years since Kazan's testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee - in which he named eight colleagues as members of the Communist Party - have failed to quiet the controversy within Hollywood over the McCarthy hearings and blacklisting.

The hubbub over Kazan's award within the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was all but confined to the few moments of his presentation. But comedian Chris Rock couldn't resist a joke: ``Keep Kazan away from De Niro, 'cause De Niro hates rats.''

Nor could host Whoopi Goldberg, who joked that she thought ``the blacklist was Hattie McDaniel and me,'' a reference to the first African-American Oscar winner, a Best Supporting Actress nod for ``Gone With the Wind.''

On the sidewalks outside the Chandler Pavilion, hundreds of demonstrators were as divided as those inside.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, with the exception of one scuffle between anti-Kazan demonstrators and the California Young Americans for Freedom, who came toting signs in support of the controversial director.

Los Angeles police officers arrested one man for beating YAF Director Darren Marks over the head with a placard. ``One guy took a swing at my head, and somebody else busted a sign over my head,'' Marks said later.

His placards hailed Kazan as an American hero: ``Kazan: Defender of Free Speech,'' ``Hollywood Communists worked for Stalin,'' or more low-brow statements like ``Kazan's the Man'' and ``Commies Drool, Capitalists Rule.''

But there were even more signs calling Kazan and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences villains: ``And the informer is . . . Elia Kazan,'' ``Honor the blacklisted,'' and, in a contemporary twist, ``Elia Kazan, the Linda Tripp of the Film Industry.''

``They're similar because they both squealed on their friends,'' said Julia Stoville of San Pedro. ``I can see Kazan getting Oscars for his films, but not for his life's work, which includes going to the House Un-American Activities Committee and naming names. He ruined people's lives. He should apologize.''

Scott Milvaney of Glendale wore black tape across his mouth (most of the time) to protest Kazan's Oscar.

``He basically destroyed those people,'' Milvaney said. ``But the good thing is we're finally talking about Kazan and the blacklists, which is Hollywood's darkest shame.''

Bob Hager, a Woodland Hills resident who joined the Ayn Rand Institute's pro-Kazan picket line, said he believes Kazan did the right thing.

``All he did was tell the truth. It's the Hollywood leftists who should apologize. They were the villains. They were aiding and abetting the Soviet Union. Mr. Kazan should get the Presidential Medal of Freedom.''

The protesters began gathering around noon, building to a rowdy frenzy by 3 p.m. as the stars arrived. The demonstrators jockeyed for the best position to espouse their views, spilling out onto the sidewalks at Hope Street and First Street.

At times, the groups became so focused on each other they seemed to forget about the steady procession of stars filing into the Oscars across the street. The stars responded in kind, pulling up with their tinted limousine windows rolled up.

Kazan's supporters say the filmmaker is an American hero.

``These communists were working for Stalin in secret,'' said Jeff Greene, who brought his wife and two children to wave signs in support of Kazan. ``If you're going to hate America, at least do it publicly. It took a lot of courage for Kazan to speak out against these communists.''

By 5 p.m., when the cameras and the stars were inside, the protesters quickly dispersed.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

PHOTO (1 -- color) Norma Barzman, center, a blacklisted screenwriter, keeps her distance with help from LAPD Officer G. Rodriguez outside the ceremony.

Charlotte Schmid-Maybach/Special to the Daily News

(2 -- color) Director Martin Scorsese embraces filmmaker Elia Kazan, who received the Academy's Lifetime Achievement Oscar on Sunday.

David R. Crane/Daily News
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 22, 1999
Words:851
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