Those Oscar war protests in full

Who boycotted, who 'gave it a miss', and who had something to say


Andy Serkis - Gollum in The Two Towers - was the only player to make a prominent display on the red (or was that plum-coloured?) carpet, with a large placard reading 'No war for oil'. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were among several stars to wave two-fingered peace signs to the photographers. Collecting the best supporting actor Oscar, a tearful Chris Cooper called for "peace for us all". But the first significant speech came from Gael Garcia Bernal, the young Mexican actor, who said that "If Frida [Kahlo] were alive, she'd be on our side, against the war."

This all seemed like pretty small beer after Michael Moore stood up to receive his best documentary award. "We live in fictitious times," he thundered, "when a fictitious president sends us to war for fictitious reasons - shame on you Mr Bush. Shame on you."

Adrien Brody, surprise winner for best actor, made a more measured speech, remarking on how filming The Pianist had allowed him an insight into the "dehumanisation of people in times of war". He asked the audience to pray "whether to God or Allah for a swift and peaceful resolution", and paid tribute to a former schoolfriend currently serving in the Gulf.

Disregarding instructions not to read speeches, Pedro Almodovar took out a prepared statement and dedicated his best screenplay award to "those who are raising their voices in favour of peace, human rights, democracy and international legality".


Aki Kaurismaki
The Finnish director nominated for best foreign film skipped the awards in protest at the US invasion of Iraq. In a letter to Academy president Frank Pierson, he wrote that he could "not participate in the Oscar gala at the same time the government of the US is preparing a crime against humanity for the purpose of shameless economic interests". Kaurismaki was tipped to win the best foreign film Oscar for his deadpan comedy, The Man Without a Past, but lost out to the German drama Nowhere in Africa.

Will Smith
Nominated last year for his role as Muhammad Ali, Smith was due to present an award at this year's shebang until he bailed out at the eleventh hour. A statement from his office explained that: "At this time, Will thinks that attending the Oscars would be inappropriate. Given the situation in the world today he believes he is making the right choice." But the actor's publicist was keen to play down suggestions that Smith has been prompted by his active opposition to the war in Iraq: "There's no agenda, there's no speeches. He just felt uncomfortable in attending."

Peter Jackson
Despite missing out in this year's best director nominations, Jackson was nominated as one of the producers of best film contender, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. He's already being tipped as the likely best director for next year, when the release of The Return of the King draws his acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy to its close. Next year the genial Kiwi will almost certainly be in attendance. This year he is staying at home.

Cate Blanchett
The Australian actress was initially scripted in to present one of the awards, but was a conspicuous no-show on the night. The day before the even got underway, Blanchett's publicist was still insisting that she would make an appearance.


Before the ceremony, there were reports that numerous major stars would arrive sporting either piece signs or snippets of duct tape (in protest of President Bush's claim that you can protect against chemical attack by taping up your doors and windows). In the event, such shows were notably thin on the ground. Colin Farrell was one of the few presenters to wear a peace sign on his lapel. But others who were initially said to be planning to do the same did not. These included Julianne Moore (nominated for both The Hours and Far From Heaven), Salma Hayek (nominated for Frida), Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Ben Affleck - who was rumoured to have made his final decision on the advice of his personal stylist.

Daniel Day Lewis (nominated for Gangs of New York) arrived at the ceremony wearing a silver snake-like brooch on his lapel. But observers could tell if this was an esoteric peace sign, or whether he had simply sneezed down his jacket.

Staff and agencies

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